If you’re wondering what the specific meaning of disciplinary is, then you’ve come to the right place. In this article we look at the terms disciplinary and disciplinary meaning.
Formal disciplinary action can be brought against you by your employer if they have any concerns regarding your work, conduct, or absence.
Before they take any disciplinary action, they might try to raise the issue informally. But, there’s no legal obligation to do so.
You might see a variety of language used in reference to disciplinary action. But in essence, it’s a formal procedure where an employer will take action on:
- The performance of an employee
So, there are two main branches of disciplinary matters.
The first relates to your performance in a work setting. This basically means they have significant concerns about your capability to perform your role to the required ability.
There are a few routes they can take. Including offering support, training, encouragement to improve, and putting together a plan for your development.
However, misconduct refers to inappropriate behaviour that breaks workplace rules.
- Unauthorised absence
- Refusing to do work
It’s important to note that misconduct is different to gross misconduct. Gross misconduct relates to matters that have an extremely serious effect.
This might include fraud, violence, gross negligence, and other significant matters that would require an investigation and full disciplinary procedure.
What is viewed as gross misconduct will also differ based on the type of work the business carries out. As well the specific details laid out in their workplace policy.
An issue doesn’t necessarily need to occur on work time or on work premises to be considered for a disciplinary issue, though…
If an employee’s behaviour in front of other members of staff or external clients at a work event or Christmas party reflects badly on the company, or a complaint is made, then an employer could carry out an investigation.
But in this case, the employer MUST carry out an investigation. It must show a negative effect on the business for the disciplinary to result in action against the employee.
The Disciplinary Process
When an employer deals with disciplinary issues, whether it’s a capability or misconduct issue, they must follow a fair and proper process.
If the employer has attempted to resolve the issue informally but feels they need to begin disciplinary proceedings, they must inform the employer immediately.
For this to be considered a fair process, it must be done in writing, and needs to include:
- Potential consequences
- And sufficient information about the alleged misconduct or performance issues
This is so that the employee has time to prepare for a disciplinary meeting, as well as protecting the employee, the employer, and the business.
The ACAS Code of Practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures is the minimum standard that businesses are expected to adhere to. Although they may have their own workplace policies that have differences to better reflect the requirements of your business.
While the ACAS Code isn’t legislation, the reality is that if a disciplinary case goes to an employment tribunal, judges will consider whether an employer has followed the ACAS Code fairly and reasonably.
This applies to anyone with employment status. Although it’s advisable to follow the same procedures for all workers, whether they’re freelance, employed, a contractor, or any other classification of worker.
A disciplinary hearing represents the opportunity for the employer and employee to present their case.
The employer should explain the alleged performances issues or misconduct clearly, go through the evidence, and ensure that notes are taken by someone present at the hearing.
Importantly, this is the employee’s chance to set out their case, answer any allegations against them, ask questions, as well as:
- Demonstrate any evidence they have
- Call any relevant witnesses (notice MUST be given)
- Respond to information presented by witnesses
- Choose if their companion can speak for them at the hearing
At the hearing, the employee’s companion can set out the employee’s case. Respond on their behalf to any points made. Talk with the employee, take notes, and summarise the employee’s case once the meeting has concluded.
The employer can allow the companion to answer questions on the employee’s behalf, but there is no legal requirement to do so.
Once the hearing has ended, the employer must tell the employee what will happen next. The timeframe it will happen in, as well as take a written record of the hearing.
The Verdict Of Disciplinary Action
Once a fair disciplinary procedure has concluded, the employer must decide on the best outcome based on their findings, any action they have previously taken in similar cases, and what is fair and reasonable.
For an outcome that is NOT a dismissal, it’d be wise for the employer to provide the employee with specific timeframes and goals for improvements to be made.
If dismissal is the decision that is reached, this can ONLY be decided by a manager with the requisite authority to do so.
The employee should be informed in writing of the decision as soon as possible. Including the reasons for the decision, the date the employment will end, their notice period, and their right of appeal.
To avoid risking an unfair dismissal claim, the employer must follow a full and fair disciplinary procedure before deciding to dismiss an employee.
The right to appeal is important. It allows the employee to appeal if they feel the action is too severe or if any element of the process was unfair.
Solicitors Near Me To Assist With Disciplinary Action
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