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Disciplinary, Capability and Grievance Procedures

disciplinary hearingDisciplinary Procedures guide managers on how to investigate and sanction employee misconduct. Disciplinary Procedures should follow the ACAS Code of Practice or the employer is at risk of Employment Tribunal claims for unfair dismissal, and can be ordered to pay additional compensation.

Capability Procedures guide managers dealing with underperforming or absent employees (whether long term or persistently absent). Again, they should follow the ACAS Code of Practice. Care should be taken to make reasonable adjustments for disabled employees.

Grievance Procedures allow employees the opportunity to raise concerns about their employment. Again, they should follow the ACAS Code of Practice or an Employment Tribunal can award additional compensation.

Failure to inform workers about the organisation’s Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures can result in an Employment Tribunal awarding further compensation.

At Elite Law Solicitors, our experienced Employment Solicitors can help your business by:

  • Drafting Procedures for your Staff Handbook
  • Coaching you through disciplining an employee, dealing with underperformance or absence or handling a grievance
  • Advising on appropriate sanctions for misconduct, underperformance or absence
  • Advising on appropriate resolutions for grievances
  • Defending Employment Tribunal claims

If you require specialist legal advice or assistance relating to Disciplinary, Capability or Grievance Procedures, book an initial consultation with one of our experienced Employment Solicitors by calling 0800 086 2929, emailing info@elitelawsolicitors.co.uk or by completing our Free Online Enquiry Form.

What is a disciplinary hearing?

A disciplinary hearing is a meeting with an employee to discuss an allegation of misconduct. It can result in a warning or dismissal, with or without notice.

Who should conduct a disciplinary hearing?

Line managers should be empowered to hold disciplinary hearings, perhaps with the support of HR, provided that they are given authority to issue an appropriate sanction. Some organisations prescribe which managers have authority to issue warnings and/or dismiss staff. In these circumstances, a manager with sufficient authority to issue the full range of sanctions in consideration should hold the disciplinary hearing.

Who can attend a disciplinary hearing?

The manager making the decision should chair the disciplinary hearing. HR or other admin support may attend to take a note of the meeting. The employee should attend and may be accompanied by a colleague or trade union representative.

Are disciplinary hearings confidential?

Disciplinary hearings should be kept confidential. If unsubstantiated allegations are widely discussed, this could make it difficult for an employee to return to the workplace, leading to a claim for constructive dismissal.

Can disciplinary hearings be recorded?

Both parties can agree to record a disciplinary hearing so that no one can be in any doubt as to what was said in the hearing. Recording should not take place without the consent of everyone in the hearing.

Can a disciplinary hearing be held in the employee’s absence?

Disciplinary hearings should be postponed if the employee has a good reason that they or their companion cannot attend. However, a disciplinary hearing can ultimately be heard in the employee’s absence if they refuse to attend, or they cannot attend within a reasonable time.

When does a disciplinary warning expire?

Disciplinary warnings should be limited in time so that once expired, further misconduct would not result in the next available sanction. 6 months is common for a first warning, 12 months for a final written warning.

What is a Performance Improvement Plan?

A Performance Improvement Plan or PIP sets out specific targets for an employee said to be underperforming. It should be for a specified timescale, ideally with SMART targets that can be the subject of a review at its conclusion. It is often accompanied by warnings that the employee’s performance is of concern. Ultimately, it can lead to dismissal with notice if the employee does not meet expectations.

When should we use a Performance Improvement Plan?

A Performance Improvement Plan or PIP should be used when there are concerns about an employee’s performance. It may be appropriate to first deal with the matter informally – a line manager raising concerns verbally with the employee and explaining how they are expected to improve.

Can we hold a capability meeting when an employee says they have a disability?

It is possible to hold a capability meeting with a disabled employee but care should be taken to make any reasonable adjustments needed either for the meeting itself or for any performance or absence expectations.

Who should investigate a grievance?

The investigator should be of sufficient authority to command the respect of the employee bringing the grievance. The investigator does not necessarily need authority to act on their findings – this can be passed to a senior manager to determine what should be done.

Can grievance hearings be recorded?

Both parties can agree to record a grievance hearing so that no one can be in any doubt as to what was said in the hearing. Recording should not take place without the consent of everyone in the hearing.

 How Elite Law Solicitors can help

At Elite Law Solicitors, our experienced Employment Solicitors can help your business by advising and assisting in relation to Disciplinary, Capability and Grievance Procedures. We are able to help with:

  • Drafting Procedures for your Staff Handbook
  • Coaching you through disciplining an employee, dealing with underperformance or absence or handling a grievance
  • Advising on appropriate sanctions for misconduct, underperformance or absence
  • Advising on appropriate resolutions for grievances
  • Defending Employment Tribunal claims

If you require specialist legal advice or assistance relating to Disciplinary, Capability or Grievance Procedures, book an initial consultation with one of our experienced Employment Solicitors by calling 0800 086 2929, emailing info@elitelawsolicitors.co.uk or by completing our Free Online Enquiry Form.

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