How should a disciplinary process be handled?
If an employer suspects that an employee has committed an act of misconduct, the following process should be followed:
- An investigation should be carried out. The investigation will need to be sufficient to ensure that the substance of the allegations is clear so that they can be put to the employee in sufficient detail to enable a meaningful response. The employer should appoint a manager to carry out the investigation.
- The employee may, in appropriate circumstances, be suspended on full pay. This may be appropriate where there is a potential threat to other employees or the business, or where the investigation cannot be properly carried out if the employee remains at work, e.g. they may destroy evidence or attempt to influence witnesses.
- If there is a case to answer, a different manager to the investigator should be appointed to conduct the disciplinary hearing. The employee should be invited to attend a disciplinary hearing and be given the opportunity to be accompanied by a fellow worker or trade union representative. Details of the allegations and the relevant evidence should be provided to the employee in advance of the hearing. At the hearing, the employee should be given the opportunity to answer the allegation made against them.
- If disciplinary action is taken, e.g. a warning or dismissal, the employee should be given the opportunity to appeal against the decision.