Dos and Don’ts Of Disciplinary

As a business owner, a manager or a team leader, your role can be thoroughly enjoyable and rewarding, but as you will know, this is a role that is not without its challenges. However great your company or your team there will always be a time when a member of staff does not act at work in a way you would expect them to….that’s life! This means that on occasions you will have to follow your own disciplinary process.

When an employee’s conduct is of concern you need to deal with it quickly and effectively to avoid more serious and potentially detrimental activities that could follow.

Although the matter needs to be dealt with quickly, it also needs to be dealt with in the right way – any disciplinary should be dealt with professionally, fairly and thoroughly. Not only can dealing with a disciplinary issue incorrectly result in a de-motivated employee, cause an unsettled feeling within the team, but in some cases it can result in legal action being taken against the business. This could also have an impact on your brand and reputation.

The Employment Tribunal Statistics for 2014/15 show that the average compensation payment to an employee for unfair dismissal was £12,362 and that’s only the compensation awarded it does not include those hidden costs of all the preparation time on your part plus any legal costs!

Here at aspire cambridge, our HR Consultants are always keen to ensure that our clients stay in-line with HR legislation and this is why we have put together some Dos and Don’ts of disciplinary actions for your workplace.

Disciplinary Dos

  • Your disciplinary policy must be compliant with the ACAS code of conduct
  • Make sure your disciplinary policy/ procedure is clear from the very beginning; every employee must be aware of the policy and where to locate it within 2 months of starting with the business. You must also ensure that how an employee can appeal against a disciplinary decision is included in all contracts of employment.
  • Investigations can be very important, if you think an employee has conducted themselves inappropriately then carrying out a full and fair investigation is critical. Ensure you carry out any investigation with an open mind, gather all relevant evidence, speak to the individual in question (from an investigatory point of view and not passing any judgment) and then consider your findings before making a decision about if disciplinary action is warranted.
  • If a formal disciplinary is required the employee has a right to be accompanied at all formal meetings by either a colleague or a recognised trade union representative. You will need to ensure that the employee is aware of this.
  • You will also need to provide any evidence from the investigation that will be considered at the formal meeting to the employee in advance.
  • If you consider the employee’s inappropriate behaviour to potentially constitute Gross Misconduct this could result in the employee being dismissed (without pay in lieu of notice) and this must be included as a possible outcome in the invite to disciplinary letter.
  • Following the formal meeting, if a disciplinary sanction is applied the employee must be given a right of appeal (including timeframe and who to appeal to) in the outcome letter.

Disciplinary Don’ts

  • Do not bury your head in the sand and ignore all the issues in the hope the issue with resolve itself and the problem will go away. Performance and conduct issues need to be dealt with as soon as they arise, by ignoring them they will become critical issues that could badly affect your business.
  • Do not fail to follow the correct disciplinary procedures as set out in the ACAS code of practice. If there is a disciplinary situation that leads to a tribunal situation you will need to provide evidence that the procedures have been followed, if you do not follow these procedures the compensation to an employee from the tribunal could be raised by up to 25%.

We understand that disciplinary action against staff is difficult for any manager especially if the person involved has worked with you for many years. That is why involving a trained third party can enable you to deal with the matter objectively.

If you would like more advice on how to deal with a disciplinary, or would like someone to help you proceed with a disciplinary action then why not give us a call on 01223 855441.