Choices in handling of discipline:
Organisations vary in terms of their handling of discipline. Therefore, it is important to distinguish between 2 very different situations that can occur...
- The causes of misconduct and its severity
- How cases of misconduct are managed
A general criticism of HR in the way that misconduct is managed, it is that often each case is treated individually, narrowly and in isolation.
Disciplinary procedures and the role of law:
The need to have disciplinary procedures in place is governed by statutory obligations (set out by the employment act 2002) and guidelines established under the ACAS codes of practice. The ACAS guidelines recommend that a disciplinary procedure is made up of several stages or warnings.
Disciplinary stages -
If an employer is considering dismissal, or action short of dismissal, an employer must undertake the following steps..
1) Provide the employee with a written statement of the reason for the action and an invitation to a meeting.
2) Conduct a meeting after the employee has been provided with this evidence.
3) Offer the right to an appeal.
Gross misconduct -
This describes breaches of standards and rules that are serious and unacceptable in any circumstances. For example, theft, sabotage, serious negligence etc.
Recordkeeping (confidentiality and data protection) -
Records of disciplinary meetings should be kept, as the evidence could be relied upon by a tribunal in determining whether or not a dismissal was unfair.
Witnesses (ethical and moral issues) -
Trust and reliability of staff to do the right thing, in terms of reporting detrimental employees etc, is important.
The roles of HR & line managers -
HR can be present in an active role, either as the party responsible for leading the investigation, or the party taking the disciplinary action.
Failure to offer the right of appeal may result in a tribunal finding a dismissal to be automatically unfair.
Grievance can be thought of as complaints made by one employee against another, and as such will not normally be raised by management against an employee.
Grievance procedures and the law -
The statutory grievance procedures lay out a 2 stage process, whereby..
- If an employee submits a grievance, this must be heard by an appropriate level of management and a written response given within set time limits.
- The employee then has the opportunity to appeal against any given decision.
Frequent causes of grievance -
- Unacceptable language etc
- Harassment and bullying
Managing discipline and grievance