Disciplinary Procedures

What is a disciplinary procedure at work?

A disciplinary procedure (DP) is the method by which an employer deals with unacceptable behaviour in a staff member. The process must be detailed in a written document which is easily available to employees. It will include the company’s rules and what will constitute a breach of them as well as the sanctions the employee will face should they be broken.

Why is having a disciplinary procedure important?

Without a DP in place, an employer will not be able to discipline or remove an employee. The law requires a minimum set of procedures to take place before a dismissal, otherwise the employee will be able to claim damages for unfair dismissal. If a DP is in place, the employer can take steps to deal with unacceptable behaviour.

Are disciplinary procedures contractual?

Not always. A DP may form part of the employment contract or it may simply state the procedure to be followed in the event of a disciplinary matter arising. If the DP is contractual then the employer must perform its part of the contract. It may be harder to change a contractual DP within an employment contract.

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