There may come a time when you need to take disciplinary action against staff in order to protect your business and other employees. When dealing with allegations of misconduct by a member of your staff, you should proceed with caution, as poor handling can result in costly and time consuming claims against your business.
It is important to have clear, written procedures in place, so that your employees know what standard is expected of them in terms of behaviour and performance. Your policies should identify the type of behaviour that may lead to disciplinary action, how the company will investigate the allegations as well as the potential outcomes.
As a minimum standard, employers should follow the statutory guidance found in the ACAS Code of Practice. The Code provides practical guidance for handling disciplinary situations in the workplace. If an employer is found to have breached the Code, a tribunal can increase any award by up to 25%. This can prove costly for employers.
We appreciate that for some employers, particularly for smaller organisations, trying to work through a fair disciplinary procedure can be difficult. However, it’s important to respond to disciplinary issues, as well as any grievances from employees (which can arise during the disciplinary process), appropriately. If you fail to, the business could be sued.
Our focus is to try and avoid claims arising in the first place. By properly preparing our clients and carefully guiding them through the disciplinary process we put them in the best position to defend claims. In such cases it is essential that employers know their rights and obligations. Our expertise and years of experience enables us to empower businesses. We will explain all of your options, recommend the most suitable approach for your business and guide you to the best outcome.
The decision to proceed to a disciplinary should be made after you have conducted a thorough and fair investigation. You should write to the employee inviting them to a disciplinary meeting.
You should give them reasonable notice of the meeting and provide them with documents relating to the investigation and the evidence against them. The letter should set out the allegations against them as well as the potential outcomes of the meeting.
You should inform them that they have a right to be accompanied by a trade union representative or colleague and you should also consider whether any reasonable adjustments will be required – this may be necessary where the employee has a disability.
We helped a client to successfully navigate a number of complex and inter-related grievances, disciplinaries, dismissals and resignations involving several employees and allegations of Islamophobia and breach of competition laws
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