June 1, 2017

Six top tips to help you manage disciplinary and grievance procedures

Where an employee has two years' service, not following the right procedure could result in an unfair or constructive dismissal claim, with the further possibility of a 25% adjustment in any compensation awarded by the tribunal. It quite literally pays to follow the right procedure. In our fourth HR training session we’ll consider the ways in which disciplinary and grievance procedures go wrong for employers and how to avoid them. But in the meantime, here are our six top disciplinary tips:

1. While an employment tribunal will consider the size and resources available to you, try to ensure that the investigating officer, disciplinary officer and appeal officer are different people of increased seniority.

2. Make sure the allegations are clear and you reserve the right to add to or amend them during the investigation. Don’t be tempted to add further matters part way through the disciplinary process, unless a full procedure is followed for each allegation.

3. The investigator should remain objective and unbiased in all investigatory meetings. The role of the investigator is only to decide whether the matter is serious enough to warrant a disciplinary hearing. Make sure they don’t give a view on what the outcome of the disciplinary hearing should be.

4. In advance of the disciplinary hearing, provide the employee with copies of any investigation documents that have been collated, including witness statements. You must detail sufficient information about the alleged behaviour to enable the employee to prepare their case at the disciplinary hearing.

5. Where a decision to dismiss is decided, inform the employee of the reasons for the dismissal, the termination date, the notice the employee is entitled to and inform them of their right to appeal.

6. Remember that generally the employee has the right to be accompanied to the disciplinary and appeal hearing - and not the investigation meeting, unless it would be a reasonable adjustment. A companion will usually be a trade union representative or colleague of the employee’s choice.

Find out more about handling these procedures at our specific training course ‘Disciplinary and grievance’ on Thursday 8 June, in our Swindon office.

This is the fourth in a series of 5 workshops which provide training on the lifecycle of the employment relationship.

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