If you’re running a business and have an issue with a member of your team, then your first port of call should always be a casual chat. A lot of the time, that’s all it takes to smooth out a problem. But now and again, you’ll need to take more formal action – that’s where a disciplinary procedure comes in. In this post, we’re going to take you through a step by step guide on the full disciplinary process.
Before laying out a full disciplinary procedure, it’s worth noting that many issues can be sorted out informally a long time before a full disciplinary is needed. It might only need a quick chat to sort out a miscommunication or misunderstanding – so bear that in mind before going through a full-blown disciplinary process.
A proper disciplinary process should contain a few key steps:
- A disciplinary investigation
- An initial disciplinary letter that sets out the issues to be discussed
- A meeting to discuss the issue (the disciplinary hearing)
- A disciplinary decision
- A chance to appeal the disciplinary decision.
What is a disciplinary hearing?
A disciplinary hearing is one part of the larger disciplinary process your company should follow if you ever need to address unacceptable behavior at work.
Unacceptable behavior’ could mean a couple of things in this context – either an employee’s conduct at work or their capability in their role.
‘Conduct’ would mean improper or unacceptable behaviour.
Capability’, on the other hand, is more about work performance. While some companies choose to deal with performance issues via a disciplinary procedure, it’s usually much more effective to go down the route of a Performance Improvement Plan instead.
Remember – when people say ‘a disciplinary hearing’ they are usually referring to the disciplinary meeting itself, but strictly speaking that meeting is just one part of a full disciplinary procedure.
Correct steps in disciplinary Procedures:
1. Get an initial understanding of the case.
2. Investigate thoroughly.
3. Invite the employee to a disciplinary meeting.
4. Conduct the disciplinary meeting.
5. Decide on action to take.
6. Confirm the outcome in writing.
7. Right to appeal.
The disciplinary procedure
Your company`s disciplinary procedure should be clearly laid out either in the employment contracts or in the employee`s handbook.
Having a well-defined disciplinary procedure is really important for any business. If you ever need to let someone go because of a disciplinary issue but the process was badly handled or poorly communicated, then you’re left open to litigation where the employee could sue for unfair dismissal or termination.
Setting out a proper disciplinary policy in your company handbook (and then sticking to it) helps keep you on the right side of the employment law.
Need help conducting a disciplinary process? Contact us and we will be glad to help.