Holding a disciplinary hearing can be a daunting task. We have highlighted below the steps that you need to follow and given some best practice advice on making the process and seamless as possible and as straightforward as possible:-
1. If an issue arises that requires disciplinary action, you should always try to resolve the issue informally in the first instance. If this is not possible, before holding a disciplinary hearing, you must ensure that you have gathered all of the facts and examined all of the evidence and information surrounding the disciplinary issue.
2. The next step you must take is to formally invite your employee to attend the disciplinary hearing in writing with the evidence gathered above. Ensure that it is held in a private location where it will not be interrupted. When inviting an employee to a disciplinary hearing you need to give reasonable notice, we advise an absolute minimum of 48 hours if you are personally handing them the letter, longer if it is sent by post. You must explain to the employee the reason for the hearing and give them a time and date of when it will take place. The employee is allowed a colleague or union representative.
If the employee has a genuine reason that they cannot attend the dismissal then you can arrange an alternative date and time. If the employee fails to show up to the alternative time, you can then hold the hearing in their absence as long as you have included this in your re-scheduling letter.
3. You must explain exactly what will be happening throughout the duration of the hearing. We would always recommend that you explain the format at the start of the hearing and remember to ask if they wish to be accompanied. Once you have outlined the allegations to the employee you must allow them time to take in the information and respond to what you have said. Adjourn if necessary.
4. After you have heard both sides, you may offer encouraging suggestions to help to overcome the problems and sort out any issues that they are having. If the actions which have led to the disciplinary hearing are not particularly serious, you may consider further training and reminders of the policies and procedures of the company. With a 1st and 2nd stage warning, always ensure that you follow the company disciplinary policy for warnings. In the case of gross misconduct you may also decide to dismiss fairly. We would always advise that you take HR advice before dismissing.
5. You must record any warnings and recommendations that you are going to take against the employee in writing. Every employee has the right to appeal so you must be prepared for this. This should be appointed to someone who had not been involved in the initial hearing. If possible, we recommend that you keep a written record throughout the entire discipline process for future reference.
Remember that in situations like these, it is always best to consult HR professionals who will be able to guide you through the difficult process. Contact one of our chartered HR consultants today who will be happy to help you.