How to hold a disciplinary hearing
- 1 Gather the facts - the allegation, evidence, and the employee's past record.
- 2 Inform the employee in writing, explaining the reason for the hearing and when it will take place; allow the employee at least three working days' notice to prepare a case.
- 3 Arrange for any witnesses, or evidence you or the employee want to present at the hearing, to be available.
- 4 Inform the employee that they have the right to bring a colleague (or union representative) to the hearing.
- 5 Review your procedures and make sure they are fair and transparent and are in accordance with the Acas Code of Practice.
- 6 Prepare yourself to be calm and open-minded throughout the hearing; be ready to adjourn the hearing if tempers become frayed.
- 7 Begin the hearing by explaining what will happen; set and keep to an agenda to maintain control of the hearing.
- 8 Present the case against the employee.
- 9 Allow time for a response and consider the case from the other side.
- 10 Clarify any mitigating circumstances for example, if the employee was unaware of the rules, or if similar behaviour is widespread.
- 11 Encourage suggestions to help overcome the problem.
- 12 Summarise the discussion and adjourn to make any further investigations necessary and to reach a decision.
- 13 Consider how serious the offence is, what action it merits and any steps which could be taken to improve the situation.
- 14 Inform the employee of your decision as soon as possible in writing; issue and explain any warning.
- 15 Explain that the employee has the right to appeal; if possible any appeal should be heard by someone senior who has not been involved in the initial hearing.
- 16 Throughout, keep a detailed written record; ask the employee to sign any improvement plan, and emphasise the consequences of further offences.
- 17 If you cannot reach an agreement, consider using an independent third party to help resolve the matter.
- investigate thoroughly beforehand
- listen to the employee's case
- look for ways to improve the situation
- apply your procedure fairly and consistently
- keep a written record
- jump to conclusions before hearing the employee's case
- become hostile or lose your temper
- make hasty decisions