These steps in discipline and grievance procedures are for general understanding as they do not consider specific workplace policies.
- Staff notice the poor conduct of an employee, and the staff warn that if behaviour doesn’t improve, the person may have to be supervised during work by a manager or be referred to performance counselling
- Staff notice repeated poor conduct and issue a first verbal warning, followed by a meeting detailing what the problem is – a follow-up letter is issued confirming the formal warning and containing certain improvement suggestions for the employee
- More verbal warnings are issued, along with letters to the employee detailing the problems and long-term solutions, along with a warning that continued behaviour will be punished
- If the employee has ignored all verbal warnings, an unbiased investigating officer will be brought in to gather the facts in preparation for a hearing
- After a full investigation, a disciplinary hearing occurs (hearing procedure must be clear and fair, and the punishments for misconduct have to be made clear preceding the hearing)
- The employee is made known of the result of the hearing in a formal letter
As with all workplace issues, it is advisable to attempt to solve the issue informally through existing mechanisms, and as such formal proceedings should always be a last resort.
For acts of gross misconduct which include all criminal acts like theft, assault, damage to property and sexual harassment allegations, steps 1-3 can all be discounted as the employee is made aware of the accusation and an investigation is carried out immediately.
Results of a hearing and the degrees of penalties vary depending on the severity of the issue. For cases of gross misconduct, an offender may experience termination of employment indefinitely and suddenly. For lower-level offences, a maximum of three written warnings can be issued before it is possible to sack a worker. Other results can include a short period of dismissal, a demotion, and a temporary pay cut which may prove sufficient to prevent future behaviour.
From business to business, the steps in discipline and grievance procedures may change. Disciplinary action is a process that organisations use to handle the misconduct of a particular member of staff. It is used as a result of a sustained period of absence, below par standards of work or generally sub-standard conduct including treatment of colleagues and managers. It allows employers to “explain clearly what improvement is needed and should give you an opportunity to put your side of the situation” to the business at a meeting.
Types of Disciplinary Action
There are two types of discipline that can occur at work: informal and formal disciplinary procedures. Informal measures involve casual talks between managers and members of staff in order to solve the performance issues and prevent them from escalating further, in addition to first warnings. However, if misconduct continues to persist, managers can supervise the work of the individual or refer them to a performance counselling meeting, which “should set out the performance problem, the improvement that is required, the timescale and any help that may be given”. If these methods fail to fix the problem, formal measures can be used which include more serious inquiries involving a neutral investigating officer and meetings.
Organisations are advised to use the Acas code of practice statutory guide when dealing with staff member’s poor conduct, to ensure a free and fair process. It is not a legally binding document, so businesses are not obliged to adhere to it, but they may be liable to bigger compensation pay-outs if a claim fails.
Understand policy and procedures for handling disciplinary and grievance issues with online training for your employees.