Disciplinary meeting notes

Employers conduct staff disciplinary meeting are advised to take notes of what has been said and discussed during the investigatory meeting, disciplinary hearing and appeal meeting.

For this purpose, you must give copies of the disciplinary meeting notes to your staff concerned within a reasonable time after each meeting. Subsequently, your staff can digest the notes and highlight any misunderstanding based on what was discussed and written in the notes.

Staff to comment on the disciplinary meeting notes

On one hand, It is important you give the staff concerned the opportunity to comment on the notes and evidence discussed. Particularly, where the case is serious enough to warrant dismissal of your staff.

Above all, the staff disciplinary procedure is to be used to resolve disputes between employers and employees fairly and reasonably. It is not meant to be used to abuse or to discriminate your staff you do not like.

ACAS code of practice

The ACAS Code of Practice 1 suggests that refused or failed to provide copies of the meeting notes to the staff concerned is a breach of statutory disciplinary procedures and constitutes an unfair disciplinary process.

For example, you disciplined staff for misconduct and you sack him/her immediately. In this case, you shall provide copies of the disciplinary meeting notes to the staff. At the same time, you must give the staff the opportunity to comment on the notes and evidence. So that your staff can decide accordingly whether or not to make an appeal against your decision.

On the other hand, you shall provide your staff with the disciplinary meeting notes before the staff disciplinary appeal hearing. However, if you gave the meeting notes after the appeal hearing, it is obvious that you have no intention to give your staff the opportunity to comment on the meeting notes. In other words, your outcome of the disciplinary process is probably pre-decided and matters are pre-judged. Hence, the process is just a formality.

Consequently, your staff can make a claim against you as the employers for unfairly treatment and discrimination at work. Thus, this may attract unwelcome publicity for your company. We believe you won’t want that kind of publicity about your business as an employer.

Staff handbook

Generally, it is a good idea to have in-house staff handbook. The staff handbook is a compilation of rules on how you would what your staff to conduct themselves while under your employment. In other words, your own rules book for your staff. You must provide a copy of this handbook to all your staff.

For example, staff cannot drink alcohol while at work. Accordingly, the consequence would be liable to staff disciplinary and immediate dismissal.

Another example is staff performance appraisal. Staff that need improvement. How would you help your staff to improve their performance? In what circumstance, you would dismiss your staff based on their performance.

Besides, you can also include rules on punctuality, salary deductions, maternity and paternity pay and so on.

While it is vital to handle your staff affairs correctly, remember to take care of your company legal filing requirements too. Ensure your confirmation statement, company accounts and corporation tax return are filed on time to avoid late filing penalty.

Staff disciplinary procedure

The UK employment law suggests all employers introduce staff disciplinary procedure at work. As employers, you have to inform your staff of the disciplinary procedure in place and also explain the examples of actions that will amount to staff disciplinary and/or dismissal.

The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) published guidance for employers on statutory disciplinary and grievance procedures. ACAS Code of Practice 1 provides details on how to draw up and operate a staff disciplinary procedure. The code provides reasonable steps of employers must follow in executing staff disciplinary process. It is also used as a guideline how reasonable you are as an employer if your employee brings a claim for unfair dismissal at the Employment Tribunals.

Generally, the statutory minimum steps you must follow in your staff disciplinary procedure is discussed below. However, your own disciplinary procedure may allow for more warnings, meetings. Other courses of action may include demotion and suspension.

Statutory Disciplinary Procedure

Step 1: Investigate To Establish Facts

Investigate the situation fully by talking to your staff concerned and any other staff who might be able to throw some light on the situation. Gather any evidence you can find including emails and letters. Interview any witnesses and take signed written statements from them if necessary.

Step 2: Invite The Employee Concern To An Investigatory Meeting

You must make it clear to them that the meeting is not part of a formal disciplinary procedure. The purpose of the meeting is to give them the opportunity to comment on the allegations.

Step 3: After The Investigatory Meeting

Should you think that a formal disciplinary hearing should be conducted then you must inform your staff concern in writing setting out the allegations include evidence supporting the allegations.

You must give your staff the right to be accompanied by a trade union representative or a work colleague.

Step 4: Go Ahead With Formal Disciplinary Hearing

Explain your complaint and your evidence and give your staff the opportunity to state their case, ask questions, give evidence and call their witnesses.

Step 5: Your Decisions On The Disciplinary Hearing

If you decide on disciplinary action rather than dismissal, you should write to your staff spelling out what the misconduct is, what has to be done about it and the deadline. And explain the consequences if things don’t change – perhaps a final written warning and then the sack.

You must give your staff a copy of the disciplinary meeting notes soon after the meeting.

Step 6: Employee’s Right To Appeal

Try to get another person to chair the appeal hearing if possible. If this is not the option then try to be impartially as possible and don’t be afraid to overturn the previous decision. After the appeal, you have to let your staff know your final decision.

Failed To Follow Statutory Disciplinary Procedures

If you do not follow the basic disciplinary procedure and any claims against you by your staff will be considered automatic unfair dismissal and the employment tribunal can increase the compensation payable to your staff.

Only staff with more than a year of service are able to bring a claim at Employment Tribunals.

Equally important, you take care of your confirmation statement, company accounts and company tax return too.

Undue delay in staff disciplinary appeal

As employers, when handling staff disciplinary appeal, you must avoid undue delay in staff disciplinary appeal hearing and decision. The ACAS codes recommend five working days as usually appropriate. ACAS stands for Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service.

First and foremost, the Employment Act 2002 also requires employers to ensure each step and action taken under your staff disciplinary Appeal procedure without unreasonable delay.

For example, a member of staff was being disciplined for alleged in direct competition with the employer. The staff was dismissed immediately. The staff wrote to the employer to appeal against their decisions on 21 November.

The appeal hearing was made to hear on 2 December. It was more than 5 working days. Subsequently, the decision of appeal was communicated to the staff on 08 December. Overall, the whole appeal process took 11 working days to finalize. This was an obvious undue delay in the staff disciplinary Appeal process.

Universally, the Employment Tribunals or the court take into account the undue delay in your staff disciplinary appeal process when assessing employers’ reasonableness.

Generally, If the employer considered the allegations were serious enough to dismiss the staff immediately. According to the evidences gathered then there should be no excuse to delay finalizing the appeal.

Unfair staff disciplinary appeal

Concurrently, the Employment Tribunals or the court wants to make sure employers do not use the disciplinary process to get rid of their staff. For the reason to avoid redundancy payout or compensation. This is unacceptable and against the law.

Staff handbook

For this reason, a staff disciplinary procedure in your staff handbook is a must-have. If you do not have a staff handbook, it is the time to create one.

Important company filings

This aside, if you are a limited company, ensure your confirmation statement, company accounts and company tax return are filed on time with Companies House. Companies House will issue a late filing penalty if your accounts are late.

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