Disciplinary Procedure Solicitors for Employers
As an employer, there may come a point when you need to take disciplinary action against an employee. This can be for minor issues, such as occasional lateness, or it might be for more serious offences, such as workplace harassment or intimidation, unauthorised absence or gross misconduct.
It’s good practice, as an employer, to have a set disciplinary procedure in place. If an employee is not performing as expected, a clear procedure ensures appropriate action is taken, meaning both the employee and employer are clear on the process for a disciplinary procedure from the outset.
Regardless of the seriousness of any transgression, it’s important that you follow correct disciplinary processes. Having written rules and procedures in place and ensuring that these are properly communicated to staff can help protect your business against legal action by a disgruntled employee.
If your employee believes that you haven’t followed correct employment procedures or that they’ve been treated unfairly, they may threaten to take you to an Employment Tribunal. If you are found to have acted improperly, you could be made to pay compensation, as well as suffering serious damage to your reputation.
Our employment solicitors can provide professional advice that is tailored to your business to help resolve disciplinary issues as quickly and stress-free as possible.
Our specialist employment lawyers are experts in all aspects of employee disciplinary procedures. We can advise you on creating an effective disciplinary policy and procedures, including how this related to equality legislation.
We can support and guide you through any disciplinary action you are forced to take to ensure that you understand the process and have a legal point of view on matters.
If an employee claims you have treated them unfairly, we can advise you on whether you have a case to answer and how to proceed in the best way to protect your business. This usually includes negotiations with your employee to resolve the matter without the need for an Employment Tribunal (whether through a settlement agreement or COT3).
However, where an Employment Tribunal cannot be avoided, we can help gather all of the necessary evidence to support your case ahead of a hearing and represent you during the tribunal to help to achieve the best available outcome. We also have strong experience with Employment Tribunal appeals if you are unhappy with the outcome of a tribunal.
Disciplinary procedure FAQs
If you encounter a situation where you believe there are grounds for disciplining an employee, it’s your responsibility to act fairly. In order to do so, it’s important to have a set of reasonable rules in place (a disciplinary procedure) which clearly set out to both you and your employees how disciplinary issues will be handled.
Disciplinary procedures are not simply about penalising employees but encouraging them to address their performance issues in order to become the best they can be at their job.
It’s advisable to get a disciplinary procedure drawn up by an experienced employment lawyer.
It’s good practice to involve employees in the process so that you can ensure it is fair across the board and that the rules work in practice. This encourages buy-in from your employees which should mean they’re more likely to keep them in mind.
Once you have the procedure in writing, make sure it’s accessible to all employees, via a staff intranet or your staff handbook or manual.
Any action has to be reasonable and consistent in the circumstances, i.e. your size and resource, the employee’s existing record, or if any training could help.
Usually, you should give a first written warning, and if there’s further misconduct or lack of improvement, they should receive a final written warning.
If the employee’s behaviour had a serious impact on your business, consider going straight to a final written warning which clearly sets out the problem, the action needed to be taken, timescales and review dates. It should also include possible consequences of failing to take action as a result of this final warning, i.e. dismissal or demotion.
If you’re in doubt, seek advice from an experienced employment solicitor who can help you go through each step and eventuality.
Our employment lawyers can help you to prepare for a disciplinary hearing as well as advise on grievance procedures, redundancy and settlement agreements. Call us on 0117 325 2929 or fill out our online enquiry form.