Setting up a disciplinary procedure - checklist

Setting up a disciplinary procedure - checklistYou need to have clear rules outlining what will happen if employees commit an offence in the workplace. Our checklist tells you what to include.

  • Contact Acas for their Code of Practice. Your procedures must be fair and transparent and must not discriminate.
  • Put your procedures in writing and communicate them to all employees, for example, through a handbook. Ensure they understand the rules and their rights.
  • Identify what issues your disciplinary procedure needs to cover such as work performance, theft, discriminatory, offensive or inappropriate behaviour.
  • Classify offences: minor offences, repeated minor offences, misconduct and gross misconduct are the most commonly used categories.
  • Provide examples of misconduct; do not try to produce an exhaustive list or be too specific if the offence can be a matter of degree.
  • Describe offences constituting gross misconduct, meriting dismissal. Consider whether an employment tribunal would agree with you.
  • Set up a series of warning steps for offenders: for example, oral warning for minor offences, written warning, final written warning and ultimately dismissal.
  • Set up a procedure for holding formal disciplinary interviews; decide who will have the authority to hold meetings and take disciplinary action.
  • Follow your procedures. Take informal action where possible. Where formal action is required, explain in writing what the problem is, arrange a face-to-face meeting to discuss the problem and allow for an appeal if the employee is unhappy with the outcome.
  • Reserve the right to enter the procedure at a level justified by the severity of the offence (eg an immediate final warning for serious misconduct).
  • Investigate the circumstances before dismissing a member of staff - even in the case of gross misconduct.
  • Set timescales for the stages of the disciplinary process, allowing time for improvements before issuing further warnings.
  • Decide on a record-keeping system and how long warnings will remain in effect before they lapse.
  • Ensure that your procedure respects employees’ rights: for example, to be accompanied by a colleague at a hearing and to be treated fairly.
  • Train managers; stress the need to be fair and consistent and to keep written records.
  • Continue to use informal warnings to handle one-off minor offences.

What does the * mean?

If a link has a * this means it is an affiliate link. To find out more, see our FAQs.