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This page is designed to offer guidance through the process of employee discipline.

The key to a successful process is to follow the procedures as described here, to keep excellent records and to keep an open mind throughout. 

The majority of Tribunal cases that find agianst employers do so for the reason of due process not being followed.  Sanction is a less likely a matter of contention (it need omly be within the range of reasonalbe actions by the average employer).

Things to remember:

  • TES must follow the HR procedure in every case of misconduct
  • Any sanciton such as "verbal warning" is unenforcable without a hearing
  • No employee is guilty of misconduct until a hearing formally concludes it is so
  • TES have a responsibility to conduct disciplinary processes efficiently and fairly
  • It is good practice to try to use independent staff for elements of the disciplinary process, but this cannot always be achieved in smaller organisations
  • Staff misconduct or attitude problems need addressing as they occur, to try and resolve issues like this can be more difficult later on. TES cannot imply acceptablitly by not addressing discipline matters.
  • The process need not be daunting for either the employee in question or the manager conducting the process
  • Help and advice is also available from TES lawyers, DWF liverpool. Contact: Jon Keeble.

This guide is designed to make the process easy.

As a manger you may become aware that misconduct may have occurred by a variety of means. It is important to keep an open mind and not to draw conclusions too soon. At this stage information is likely to be sketchy. You need be aware of politics and heresay but draw together the intial facts.

Aside from the IMS requirments (eg complaints process etc.) your first action will be to conduct an informal investigation. This need not be documented  but it may uncover some evidence that maybe useful later (such as emails, notes of phone calls, photos etc.). Informal investigations are usually verbal involving relevant available parties. Your main objective is to identify the potential misconduct and to be able to give it an objective description witihn a short timeframe. For example: "John Smith was physically agressive towards Fred Blogs" i.e in the format of "someone" did "something" that implies miscinduct. It is possible as you informally investigete that you uncover more than one potential instance of misconduct (in which case you may have a list of misconduct descriptions.

If you can objectiviely describe the potential misconduct and consider there is a resonalbe chance it was both unacceptable and occureed it is most likely you will need to progress to the next stage.

You must now consider whether the employee in question need suspending. Suspension is a "neutral act" and does not imply guilt but is designed to permit space and time to establish the facts. TES try to avoid suspensions but will consider it where it appears that the employee may have committed a dangerous act or could pose risk to TES, it employees & clients etc., or where presence of the employee on-site would prevent a fair investigation of the facts. This decision will require discussion with a director.

Suspension can be done "on the day". it is wise to have a meeting with the relevant employee and guide them through a Suspention Letter which contains everyting they need know.

You can generate one here:

Discipline - Suspension Letter Generator

Once an employee is suspended it is important to move effieicnetly on to the formal investigation stage. It is important that the process is methodical and will stand up to scrutiny later. As such you should draft a Formal Investigation plan. This helps you consider the scope of the investigation and range of activites to be conducted. Again, robust record keeping must be maintained throughout.

You can generate a formal investigation plan here:

Discipline - Formal Investigation Plan Generator

it is important you gather the evidence and it is recorded on the HR file as it will all need to be sent to the empoyee in question later. Once the investigation is complete you need conclude your findings. For this you need a Findings Report.

You can generate one here:

Discipline - Formal Investigation Report Generator

If you conclude that there is sufficient "weight of evidnece" that misconduct occurred you need to initiate a Formal Hearing. Good practice dictates that these should take place between 5 - 7 of concluding the formal investigation. At this point a letter needs to be sent to the employee inviting them to attend. The Formal Invesitgation Plan, Evidence and Report must be sent with the letter of invitiation. You may also need a Waiver Agreement if the empoyee chooses to have the meeting earlier than 5 days from invitation (this may be due to holiday commitments or the fact they dont want the worry of five days wait).

You can generate both the Notice Waiver and Invitaiton to Formal Hearing here:

Discipline - Agreement to Waive Notice of Formal Hearing Generator

Discipline - Invitation to Formal Hearing Generator

The hearing itself is a very formal event and it is important it is managed such that all parties can contribute & communicate clearly but avoid confrontation and raised voices. You can generate meeting agenda and guidance here:

Discipline - Formal Hearing Agenda Script Generator

Once the hearing is complete you need to formally inform the employee of the outcome and include detials of the right of appeal.

You cangenerate the outcome letter here:

Discipline - Formal Hearing Outcome Letter Generator