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Tag Archive

Top 10 Examples of How Flawed Disciplinary Procedures Can Give Rise to Unfair Dismissal Claims

For an employer, nothing is more frustrating than an employee that has been dismissed for “blatant misconduct” yet has a potential claim for unfair dismissal because the correct procedures were not followed. Here are top 10 examples of how disciplinary procedures can go wrong for employers:  

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Disciplinary process, Adverse Weather Conditions, Employment Law, Leeds, Yorkshire

As we count down to the New Year, let’s remind ourselves of 2015’s key judgments. They include cases on: whistleblowing, working time, annual leave during sickness absence, holiday pay, disability discrimination, redundancy consultations, recruitment, and the role of HR in disciplinary proceedings.

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Choice of companion at disciplinary hearing: who can you have?

It is fair to say that when it comes to the unfortunate business of disciplinary matters that a great many employers and employees are aware in advance as to the level of support an employee may have in the room during the relevant meeting(s).

The statutory minimum provides that a work colleague or trade union representative may be brought in by the employee being disciplined as a companion, an officious note taker and asker of questions that otherwise may not have been asked. Legally compliant employment contracts and disciplinary policies generally echo this position of course.

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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. 

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Avoiding employment issues during your Christmas party

As the festive season gets into full swing next week, many of us will be preparing ourselves for the Christmas party, where of course many of us intend to relax with colleagues over one or two, or in some cases, twelve drinks.

This time of year is great for letting your hair down; however the concept of ‘liquid courage’ usually leads to no small amount of questionable antics, including but not limited to ritual abuse of the photocopier and a kiss or two under the mistletoe.

Therefore as we prepare for our own Christmas party I have put together a few tips for ensuring a smooth office do!

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Can employers ‘gross up’ an employee’s bad behaviour for dismissal purposes?

Where an employer has several concerns about an employee’s conduct, there is the temptation to combine the incidents to justify disciplinary action for ‘gross misconduct’. However the question that employers should ask themselves is whether the sanction of dismissal is fair in the circumstance, particularly where dismissal is without notice or payment in lieu of notice.

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Non-sanction by a professional body does not make a dismissal unfair

It is generally accepted that a dismissal is fair where an employer has conducted a proper investigation and reasonably concluded the allegation has been proven based on the evidence before them. However, what happens when a dismissed employee’s professional body decides to take no action over the same incident? Does this make the dismissal outside the range of reasonable responses?

The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) dealt with this issue in the recent case of Bryant v Sage Care Homes Ltd

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The battle against capability and conduct procedures

Some industries use slightly modified disciplinary procedures when dealing with capability and conduct. However does this give rise to employers being able to freely choose which procedure to use with which employee?

This issue was dealt with in the Court of Appeal in Welch National Opera Ltd v Johnson which looked at the interplay of two disciplinary procedures, following the dismissal of the principal oboist in the company’s orchestra.

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