HR: What You Should Do
By Planet Vending’s own HR expert, Alison Driver
As sure as night follows day, at some point, every business – even yours – will have to deal with matters of employee discipline.
Properly Documented Disciplinary Procedures
Employers can avoid allegations by an employee that his or her treatment was discriminatory, or that their dismissal was procedurally unfair, by having properly documented disciplinary procedures. Incidentally, I suggest that the term ‘disciplinary procedure’ isn’t entirely appropriate: your procedures should be designed to help your staff to understand your requirements and their responsibilities, rather than a stick to beat them with when they’ve transgressed. It’s really not as daunting as it sounds.
The written statement of terms and conditions (the employment contract) that you issue to new employees must include certain information relating to the employer’s disciplinary rules and procedures.
Comply with the ACAS Code of Practice
Employers must have written disciplinary rules and procedures that comply with the ACAS Code of Practice. Employers should always follow these rules and procedures in order to treat employees fairly and have the best chance of avoiding expensive and time-consuming tribunal claims. A failure to follow the Code does not in itself make an employer liable to proceedings but a tribunal will take the Code into account when considering cases. Tribunals can increase the compensation given to employees who they conclude have been unfairly dismissed by up to 25% where they feel that an employer has unreasonably failed to follow the guidance it contains.
Tips to consider when drafting disciplinary procedures
- Disciplinary rules should be set down in writing and be as specific and clear as possible. For example if the policy refers to “misconduct” and “serious misconduct”, give some examples of what type of behaviour you consider to examples of those types of behaviour.
- Your disciplinary procedure must give examples of what types of conduct you consider to constitute gross misconduct and for which you may choose to dismiss an employee.
- A typical disciplinary procedure will consist of verbal and written warnings, a final written warning and dismissal. It is not necessary to progress incrementally through these stages depending on how your procedure is written and what kind of behaviour is being considered.
- You must include a right of appeal against any disciplinary decision that you make against an employee
- You must include the right of accompaniment by a work colleague or trade union representative in any formal hearing
Can you really afford not to have a written procedure?
With the maximum award for unfair dismissal currently standing at £72,300, and the average award £8,924 can you really afford not to have a written procedure that you have shared with your employees and which you make sure you follow when disciplining your employees?
For a free no obligation assessment of your company’s existing disciplinary policy contact Metis HR on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Don’t have a disciplinary policy of your own? Metis HR is offering Planet Vending readers a special introductory offer. Buy a Metis HR standard Disciplinary Policy and Procedure during November and pay only £25, a 50% reduction on the usual price.