In this section you will find...

An overview on disciplinary (below)

Guidance on how to avoid having to take disciplinary action 

File Note for Improvement (part of avoiding disciplinary)

Guidance notes on the disciplinary procedure

Guidance notes on investigations

How to conduct a disciplinary meeting

Managing appeals

Settlement Agreements 



Disciplinary situations may include conduct, i.e. where someone does not follow the rules or procedures or when they behave in an inappropriate way; and / or performance, i.e. where employees do not perform their job role to the required standard.

Taking formal disciplinary action can be one of the hardest and stressful things to have to do. It will take time and there are clear procedures to follow. You cannot issue a formal disciplinary warning unless you follow the full disciplinary procedure (see guidance notes for a summary of the full disciplinary procedure). It is also a fact that most employment tribunal claims are lost because the right procedure was NOT followed. 

Because of the time and procedures involved, many organisations just don't address issues. They hope they will go away and try to sweep things under the carpet (but they very rarely do go away)! This can be even more problematic as matters can escalate, can have an impact on other employees and indeed the whole business! So what are the answers?

  • Put in place rules, procedures, contracts and job descriptions to clearly communicate what is expected.  You will be more likely to get the performance and conduct you want if you are clear about what you want (so preventing some disciplinary situations ever arising).
  • Nip things in the bud. Address matters early (and you can often do this informally) to stop matters escalating. For example, speaking to an employee informally (but clearly) about their timekeeping may correct the problem.  See 'avoiding disciplinary action' for further guidance.
  • Use informal procedures first where possible (and appropriate) such as informally speaking to the employee or using 'File Notes for Improvement'.
  • If an informal approach does not work OR the matter is more serious and cannot be dealt with informally, use the formal disciplinary procedure - but make sure you follow each step (see below for a model procedure and also template letters).
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