Disciplinary process for employers
HR advice can benefit your company in many ways. One of the hardest aspects of managing people can be dealing with staff who are not playing by your rules. You may have an employee who is constantly late or has a careless attitude to their work. Perhaps they are refusing to follow your health and safety policies or you believe they are spending too much time on the internet at work.
These sorts of issues need to be monitored and dealt with quickly to prevent them from escalating, which is where our HR advice in Oxfordshire can help you.
You may have more serious issues such as bullying, fraud or theft which might lead to an employee’s dismissal for gross misconduct.
Often our clients will phone us to discuss these types of problems and we provide our specialist HR advice on when to take action, how to improve the employee’s conduct or how to dismiss fairly and legally. Here are some tips on getting it right:
3 Tips for Dealing with Disciplinaries
1. Start by talking to the employee on an informal basis if the issue is fairly minor. Often behaviours can be improved early on but the employee is unaware of the standards expected of them.
2. If an informal approach does not improve things, or the issue is more serious, you need to take a formal approach by following the steps in a written disciplinary procedure. Our HR advice and support includes writing suitable policies so that you can be sure that any process followed will tick all of the boxes required by employment law.
3. Employers often do not realise how important it is to follow a fair and legal process. If the disciplinary leads to eventual dismissal and you have not complied with employment law the courts can increase any award for unfair dismissal to the employee by 25%. The main steps in a fair process include:
- Writing to the employee to invite them to a disciplinary meeting. The letter should spell out why they are being disciplined, give them any evidence you have against them and allow them time to prepare for the meeting (usually around 48 hours’ notice).
- Allowing the employee to be accompanied by a colleague or a trade union representative. Many employers do not understand that this is a legal right and does not depend on being a unionised company.
- Listening to the employee’s side of the story and make an objective decision on whether or not they should receive a disciplinary warning. Your decision should consider their past record, the reasons they have given for their behaviour and how others have been dealt with in similar circumstances.
- Taking notes of the meeting and putting any decision in writing to the employee. The warning letter should also contain the right to appeal and this should be heard by another manager or director if possible.
How can our Oxfordshire based HR advice and support help you?
Our retained clients benefit from unlimited HR advice in dealing with disciplinary issues. The main ways that our HR advice can help you is by:
- Acting as a sounding board for you in Oxfordshire and the surrounding areas. As our HR advice and support staff have many years of experience in handling disciplinary matters we can offer advice on the seriousness of an issue and how to best resolve it. Sometimes running a business is a lonely place and it is good to have someone on the outside to talk things over with.
- Attending the disciplinary meeting. Often our clients ask us for HR advice to ensure that the legal process is followed and that the employee is given a fair hearing. We can also take notes of the meeting for you as it is difficult to talk, listen and write all at the same time! Our notes will be detailed and accurate which is particularly useful should the employee make an employment claim about fairness later.
-Carrying out investigations or holding appeal meetings for you. Many small employers do not have other senior staff available to do this. By offering this HR advice to you we can show the employee (and employment courts) that you have tried to be objective in your handling of the disciplinary or dismissal by involving different people in the process.
-Writing any follow up letters to the employee setting out the reasons for the warning and improvements expected. Our letters also ensure that the employee is given the right to appeal in line with your disciplinary procedure. Our HR Advice Oxfordshire Line offers clients unlimited HR advice and support on all of the situations above. As your HR advisor we can write appropriate policies, provide letters to meet the situation and attend difficult meetings with you and your staff.
All of our retained clients have extra peace of mind as they benefit from legal costs insurance of £500,000 per annum. If an employee feels that they have been treated unfairly, our insurers’ solicitors will provide additional HR advice and deal with employment claims and tribunals.
Information about our HR advice Oxfordshire line service is provided here or download our brochure. If you’d rather speak to a human being, we are happy to discuss your absence issue to see if we can help contact us now.