Author: Lynda A. C. Macdonald
US Consultant: Julie DiMauro
- Disciplinary rules set standards and make it clear what conduct is and is not acceptable in the workplace, while having a disciplinary procedure permits an employer to deal fairly and consistently with employees who breach the rules. See Disciplinary Rules and Procedures.
- It is in employers' best interests to develop clear and comprehensive disciplinary rules and procedures, to avoid misunderstandings and ensure that employees understand what is expected of them in their employment. See Disciplinary Rules and Procedures.
- Misconduct should be dealt with promptly, as any delay can mean that a minor issue has the potential to escalate into a larger problem. See Dealing with Problems Promptly.
- A disciplinary procedure is usually structured in a series of stages, although it is not always necessary to enter the procedure at the first stage. See The Stages of a Disciplinary Procedure.
- Many disciplinary matters can be dealt with effectively without instigating the formal procedure. See Dealing with Problems Informally.
- Where an employer becomes aware of possible misconduct it should instigate a full investigation into the surrounding circumstances, and suspension of the employee for a short period to allow this may be appropriate. See Conducting an Investigation and Suspension from Work During an Investigation.
- After the investigation into the circumstances surrounding the alleged misconduct, a disciplinary interview should be set up. See Setting up a Formal Disciplinary Interview, Permitting a Companion at a Disciplinary Interview and Conducting Disciplinary Interviews.
- The decision to impose a disciplinary penalty should be taken only after a full investigation and a properly convened disciplinary interview, and the decision should be communicated to the employee as soon as possible after the conclusion of the interview. See Deciding the Penalty, Consistency in Imposing Disciplinary Penalties and Communicating the Outcome of the Proceedings to the Employee.
- Where the outcome of the disciplinary proceedings is a warning, the wording of the warning should be clear and unambiguous. See Warnings.
- Dismissal should be regarded as a last resort and, except in cases of gross misconduct, should be implemented only when an employee has committed a further act of misconduct while subject to a final written warning. See Dismissal and Gross Misconduct.
- Where it is unable to obtain concrete proof of misconduct, an employer can still take disciplinary action provided that certain principles are observed. See Misconduct That is Suspected but not Proven.
- It is important that employees are granted the right of appeal against any disciplinary decision. See The Right of Appeal.