Disciplinary issue at Work – get the procedure right
“He did what?”
The question I often find myself asking when an employer explains to me why they want to dismiss someone.
Over the years I’ve dealt with all manners of unacceptable behaviour at work: a man who hid cameras in the ladies toilets (no seriously he did) being the most obscene example. So surely in those circumstances you would expect that an employer would be able to dismiss? The answer is of course, “yes” but what many people don’t appreciate is that if you fail to follow the correct procedure even a dismissal in these circumstances can be found to be unfair resulting in compensation. This is because the Employment Tribunal has to consider whether both the reason for dismissal and the procedure followed have been fair. It’s important therefore to follow the correct procedure.
So here are some tips on how to try and ensure you have followed a fair procedure:
- Check that you are acting in accordance with your disciplinary procedures (and that those procedures comply with the ACAS Code of Practice);
- Consider whether suspension is appropriate in the circumstances. Remember it should not be used as a punishment;
- Carry out an investigation. A different person will need to deal with any disciplinary meeting;
- Invite the employee to any disciplinary meeting in writing and be sure to inform them:
- Of the allegation against them
- That they can be accompanied by a work colleague or trade union representative
- Of the possible outcome
and provide them with copies of relevant witness statements or investigation notes;
- Have two members of staff in the disciplinary meeting, one to conduct the meeting, the other to take notes; and
- Ensure there is a more senior member of staff available to deal with any appeal
The above is just an overview. If you’re faced with a potential dismissal situation please do take advice, rather than risk [ending up in the… OR flushing your chances of successfully defending a tribunal claim down the toilet.]
James advises clients on all aspects of employment law including settlement agreements and how to deal with redundancy, disciplinary, performance, grievance and TUPE issues. He has also successfully represented clients bringing/defending claims in the Employment Tribunal.
Further advice please contact James Austin on 01423 851 138 or