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STEP BY STEP GUIDE TO A DISCIPLINARY PROCESS

Being taken through a disciplinary process by your employer can be stressful. That is why we have created this step by step guide to a disciplinary process. If you are unsure about your rights or think the process is unfair, please contact us for advice.

1. INVESTIGATION

Should your employer suspect you have committed an act of misconduct, they should carry out an investigation. Unless the disciplinary policy requires it, your employer is not obliged to give you notice of an investigation meeting. You also have no right to be accompanied.

2. SUSPENSION

In the most serious cases of misconduct, your employer may suspend you. Suspension should not be automatic but only when your employer considers that there is a risk to the investigation or the business in you remaining in work. Suspension will usually be on full pay.

3. INVITE TO A MEETING

Your employer should invite you to a disciplinary hearing in writing. You should be given 48 hours’ notice of a hearing.

4. RIGHT TO BE ACCOMPANIED

You have the statutory right to be accompanied by a fellow worker, an official workplace trade union representative or an official employed by a trade union. If you want someone else to attend then you need to ask your employer for permission which they do not need to agree to.

5. PREP FOR THE HEARING

Prior to the meeting think about what you want to say. It would be a good idea to write down all the points you want to cover to defend yourself. You should be provided with all the evidence in advance of the hearing so that you can prepare.

6. DATE OF THE DISCIPLINARY HEARING

You and your companion should make every effort to attend the hearing. If your companion cannot make the date you can suggest an alternative time and date so long as it is reasonable and not more than 5 working days after the original hearing date.

Your employer may adjourn the hearing to complete further investigations such as speaking to witnesses, checking documents or emails.

7. OUTCOME LETTER / DECISION

You should receive an outcome in writing that includes what, if any, action will be taken. The letter should include the reasons for the findings and the action. This should be sent without unreasonable delay. You can appeal if you are dissatisfied with the outcome.

8. WARNINGS

If the allegation(s) are upheld, one possible outcome is a formal written warning. If you are already subject to a live written warning, you may be issued with a final written warning. For more serious conduct, you may be issued with a final warning even if you have not had a warning before.

9. TERMINATION OF EMPLOYMENT

If the allegation(s) are upheld, one possible outcome could be your dismissal. This will usually only happen for acts that amount to gross misconduct or when you are already subject to a live final written warning. Dismissals following a final warning will be with notice. Dismissals for gross misconduct will be immediate and without notice.

10. APPEAL PROCESS

If you are unhappy with the outcome you can appeal it. Follow your employer’s disciplinary procedure to do this. This should be, where possible, to a different manager. You should set your appeal out in writing and send this without unreasonable delay and within the timeframes set out in the disciplinary outcome letter.

11. APPEAL MEETING

Like the disciplinary hearing, you should be invited to attend the meeting and be given the right to be accompanied. This can be the same person as you have previously used. You should set out your grounds of appeal during this meeting so ensure that you prepare in advance.

12. APPEAL OUTCOME & NEXT STEPS

You should receive the outcome of the appeal in writing without unreasonable delay. This is usually the last step in an internal process and the end of our step by step guide to a disciplinary process. If the appeal is not upheld you should take advice about your next steps as you could have a claim.

You don’t need to go through the disciplinary process on your own. Use our step by step guide to a disciplinary process to help you understand each stage and what will happen next. It is often a good idea to get a solicitor to discuss the issues and process as early as possible so that you put your best foot forward when defending yourself. Get honest advice sooner rather than later.

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