Not sure how to go about holding a fair and lawful disciplinary hearing when an employee has breached workplace rules? Follow our step-by-step guide.
- Gather the facts - the allegation, evidence, and the employee’s past record.
- Try to resolve the issue informally first. If this does not work, raise the matter formally without delay.
- 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.
- Arrange for any witnesses, or evidence you or the employee wants to present at the hearing, to be available.
- Inform the employee that they have the right to bring a colleague (or union representative) to the hearing.
- Review your procedures and make sure they are fair and transparent and are in accordance with the Acas Code of Practice.
- Prepare yourself to be calm and open-minded throughout the hearing; be ready to adjourn the hearing if tempers become frayed.
- Begin the hearing by explaining what will happen; set and keep to an agenda to maintain control of the hearing.
- Present the case against the employee.
- Allow time for a response and consider the case from the other side.
- Clarify any mitigating circumstances: for example, if the employee was unaware of the rules, or if similar behaviour is widespread.
- Encourage suggestions to help overcome the problem.
- Summarise the discussion and adjourn to make any further investigations necessary and to reach a decision.
- Consider how serious the offence is, what action it merits and any steps which could be taken to improve the situation.
- Inform the employee of your decision as soon as possible in writing; issue and explain any warning.
- 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.
- Throughout, keep a detailed written record; ask the employee to sign any improvement plan, and emphasise the consequences of further offences.
- If you cannot reach an agreement, consider using an independent third party to help resolve the matter.
Browse topics: Employment law