Disciplinary Policy

Your disciplinary policy details how your business deals with employee disciplinary issues. It should ensure all employees are treated fairly, and harmonise decision making relating to disciplinary issues within your organisation. In turn, these factors can reassure your workforce and avoid you facing legal action for unfair dismissal.

Call us now on 01491 598 600 or email us on  cw@gaphr.co.uk and we will be delighted to help you.

What Is A Disciplinary Policy?

Your disciplinary policy details the process you will follow in the event of a disciplinary issue. When preparing your disciplinary policy, you should refer to the Acas Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures, which seeks to set out basic principles of fairness. ACAS is the Advisory, Conciliation, and Arbitration Service, an executive non-departmental government body responsible for improving employment relations in the UK.

The ACAS Code of Practice states that the Code relates to disciplinary procedures which involve misconduct or poor performance.

What Should A Disciplinary Policy Include?

You should use the Acas Code of Practice as a guide when devising your disciplinary policy. However, it’s important to note that the provisions of the Code are not a one size fits all. The principles of fairness apply to all organisations, but Acas explicitly recognises that what might be reasonable for one employer, might not be for another, and that it might be impractical for some businesses to follow all the steps detailed in the Code.

Our HR specialists can assist you in deciding which of the Code’s provisions are reasonable in the context of your business, and will help you develop a disciplinary policy that is legally compliant and reflects your commercial reality.

The steps the Code recommends businesses take are as follows:

• Determine The Facts Of The Case.

You should investigate the matter that has been brought to your attention as soon as you can to establish the facts. Where necessary, you should hold an investigatory meeting with the employee in question. This meeting is not a disciplinary hearing and should not be conducted as such. The employee is not legally entitled to be accompanied at the investigatory meeting, but your own disciplinary policy may allow this. If an investigatory meeting is unwarranted, you should gather all relevant information and documentation to use at the disciplinary hearing.

If the disciplinary action relates to misconduct, the people who carry out the investigation should be different from those who conduct the disciplinary meeting.

• Let The Employee Know There’s A Problem.

If the evidence indicates there is a disciplinary issue involving the employee, you should notify them in writing. Your notification should include details of the conduct under investigation, the possible outcomes of the disciplinary process, and the evidence you intend to refer to. The employee should also be informed of the time, date, and venue of the disciplinary hearing, and their statutory entitlement to be accompanied at the meeting.

• Hold The Disciplinary Meeting.

At the disciplinary meeting, you should talk through the issue with the employee and explain the evidence you have collated in relation to it. You must allow the employee a chance to ask questions about the information you present, respond to the allegations, and present their own evidence.

• Make A Decision.

Following the meeting, you must come to a decision about whether formal disciplinary action is justified. You should inform your employee of your decision as soon as possible in writing.

If the issue is the first disciplinary problem involving a particular employee, the usual course of action is for the employer to give them a written warning. If the employee fails to improve or is guilty of further misconduct within a specified period of time, the employer will usually issue a final written warning.

Sometimes, an employee’s misconduct may be so severe that an employer has no choice but to proceed to dismissal, without first issuing an initial or final written warning. This type of misconduct is known as ‘gross misconduct’. However, it’s vital to follow your organisation’s disciplinary process and ensure your actions are fair and lawful.

• Offer A Right Of Appeal.

You must allow an employee to appeal against your decision if they believe it to be unfair or wrong. Any appeal hearing should be organised as soon as possible, and ideally overseen by a senior manager not previously involved in the matter. Employees have a statutory right to be accompanied at an appeal meeting. You must inform them of the outcome of their appeal without delay.

Why Is It Important To Follow The Acas Code In Your Disciplinary Policy?

Failing to follow the Acas Code in your disciplinary policy does not, in itself, render you liable for unfair dismissal. However, an employment tribunal may increase the compensation awarded to an employee whose employer did not adhere to the Code by up to 25%.

Call us now on 01491 598 600 or email us on  cw@gaphr.co.uk and we will be delighted to help you.

Disciplinary Policy

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