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How to Manage a Disciplinary Hearing

In the ideal world of employment, employee behaviour would be flawless, punctuality would be the norm, absences would be minimal, if not rare, and the standard of work would be exceptional. To the contrary, in the real world of employment, most employers will be aware that this is not always the case and, in some circumstances, issues may arise which force an employer to take disciplinary action. 

An essential point to note is that if an employer determines that there is a disciplinary issue at hand following a thorough investigation, it is key that the employer conducts a fair and well-prepared disciplinary hearing before any disciplinary action can lawfully be taken. This is not only representative of excellent HR practice but a way to ensure that employees are able to offer their point of view on the matter and be treated fairly. 

Furthermore, an unreasonable failure to follow the Acas Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures could increase compensation awarded against an employer by up to 25%.

So here’s a 10-step guide for employers in how to manage the all-important disciplinary hearing:

  1. Gather the facts – the allegation, evidence, and the employee’s past record.
  2. Consider the informal process first, you never know the employee may have a perfectly acceptable explanation for their actions. 
  3. If the informal route does not work, raise the matter formally without delay.
  4. Notify the employee in writing, informing him/her in of the allegations raised against him/her, the basis for those allegations and the potential disciplinary sanctions available in the circumstances. Don’t forget to remind them of their right to be accompanied! 
  5. Arrange for any witnesses, or evidence you or the employee want to present at the hearing, to be available.
  6. Set an agenda for the hearing. 
  7. Prepare yourself to be calm and open-minded throughout the hearing; be ready to adjournthe hearing if tempers become frayed.
  8. Clarify any mitigating circumstances for example, if the employee was unaware of the rules, or similar behaviour is widespread.
  9. End the meeting by summarising the issues and responses, consider adjoining before a decision is reached
  10. Always provide the employee with written reasons for the decision and the right to appeal

If you need any help and advice in relation to the above, please do not hesitate to contact me or the team on 01133 50 40 30 or at samira.cakali@scesolicitors.co.uk.

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SCE Solicitors is a boutique employment and litigation law practice based in Leeds which advises clients nationwide. Please note that the information in this blog is to provide information of general interest in a summary manner and should not be construed as individual legal advice. Readers should consult with SCE Solicitors or other professional counsel before acting on the information contained here.

Samira Cakali

Samira Cakali is a pragmatic and approachable solicitor advocate with extensive contentious and non-contentious experience in the fields of employment law as well as civil litigation, within a range of commercial businesses from SME’s to multinationals as well as senior executives.

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