Getting the Basics Right – Disciplinary and Dismissal
Joanna Rose · September 26th 2023 · read
From time to time, you will have employees who commit acts of misconduct… It’s just human nature unfortunately! You may feel aggrieved about this and want to deal with it swiftly, but it is important to remember that irrespective of what the employee has done, if they have two years’ service, they have certain rights which must be upheld, particularly if the reason for disciplinary could lead to dismissal.
Did you know that not following a proper process could mean that if your case ends up at tribunal and the Claimant (your employee) wins, that any costs awarded will be increased by 25%? Tribunals become a permanent record once the case has been heard. This means that win or lose, the claim could be damaging to your reputation. It is essential to ensure that you follow the process that you have outlined within your contract of employment and policies and procedures.
Should you have an instance where you believe that your employee should be dismissed, it is important to note that they have the right not to be dismissed for a first offence, unless it is categorised as gross misconduct i.e. something so serious that you cannot countenance employing them any longer. This is restricted to very serious offences such as violence, theft, harassment, or serious breaches of confidentiality or health and safety. Even for a gross misconduct offence, a fair procedure must be followed; “instant dismissal” is automatically unfair and therefore costly at Tribunal, regardless of what the employee has done.
Employees also have the right to be accompanied at any formal meeting by either a Trade Union official (who has been certified in writing by a Trade Union as having experience or having received training in accompanying an individual at a disciplinary hearing) or a work colleague.
We can advise you on whether or not dismissal falls within what is called the “range of reasonable responses” i.e. even if the employee has committed an act of misconduct, is dismissal a proportionate and fair response?
We can also advise you on the correct procedure to be followed, from investigation through to the final meeting, including supporting you on site if required. We can even script the meetings for you, and can provide all the relevant template letters you will need for the process.