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How to Conduct a Disciplinary Hearing

So you’ve come to this page to find out how to conduct a disciplinary meeting at work.  It goes without saying that disciplinaries can be a very stressful experience for both employer and employee.

First of all you should decide if the issue can be resolved informally as per ACAS guidelines.

Secondly, you will need to sit down with the employee and come up with an action plan for resolving the issue.

If, however, it is gross misconduct then there is no other choice than to conduct a disciplinary meeting.

So, what do you need to do in order to perform a disciplinary meeting and make it more comfortable for an employee?

Disciplinary Meeting Tips

Let’s start with the basics:

How to Prepare a Room to Conduct a Disciplinary Meeting

Provide a Quiet and Relaxing Environment

Ensure you choose a room where there will be no interruptions or external noise.

Provide refreshments such as water. 

As mentioned above it is a stressful time and as such employees do get upset, so ensure you have tissues available.

Can an Employee Record a Disciplinary Hearing?

Ideally an employee should request permission to record a disciplinary hearing.  However, quite often an employee will secretly record the meeting.  It is widely believed that this is inadmissible to a tribunal. 

However, this is untrue and it is up to the tribunal to decide whether the recording is relevant and admissible.

Having typed up covert recordings in the past I know they have been submitted as evidence.

Recording a Disciplinary Meeting

Quite often the employer will record the disciplinary meeting.  It is important when conducting a disciplinary hearing to get all the facts.  Writing notes simply won’t be enough.  It is best to record the meeting and have it transcribed in case it needs to go to a tribunal.

Check out these dictaphones to record your disciplinary meeting.

 Do a Test Recording

Test the recording equipment you are using.  A common mistake is to place the recording device closer to the person conducting the meeting.  However, it is more important to capture all the information from the employee.

It is best to place the recording device between the two/three participants.  Also ensure that there are no objects nearby such as a pen or paper that may be picked up and played with.  

Quite often I get recordings where someone is shuffling paper and it makes the recording difficult to hear.  Furthermore, there may be an additional charge for a difficult recording!

Starting the Disciplinary Meeting

At the start of the recording you should state the date and time of the hearing.

Who Can Attend a Disciplinary Meeting?

It is common practice to have a companion at a disciplinary meeting.  This can be an employee, family member, friend or trade union representative. 

Introduce the Participants

Introduce who is in the room and whether there is a companion for the employee. 

An employee is entitled to have a companion in the meeting but it is important to outline their involvement i.e. they are not allowed to answer on behalf of the employee. 

If they do not have a companion remind them that they have the right for a companion and ask whether they want to continue without one.

State the purpose of the meeting and that they can have a break at any time. Also if necessary include any health and safety advice such as if a fire alarm goes off etc.

Body of a Disciplinary Hearing at Work

The interviewer should state what the allegations are and then allow the employee to explain their case.

The interviewer will make notes for a summary at the end.

Furthermore, as part of the notes list any further investigation that is required after the hearing.

Concluding the Disciplinary Meeting

Ask the employee what they believe the outcome should be.  In addition, tell them what the next steps are and when they will expect to receive a response.

An outcome is very rarely given at the time of a meeting as the employer will need to go and decide on the outcome from the evidence given.

The final step is not always done, but a wrap up of what has been said and what further investigation will be done, is a good idea.

After the Disciplinary Meeting

An employee is entitled to a copy of the recording or a transcript of the meeting.  If you need your disciplinary meeting transcribed then please check Help on Tap who never miss a deadline!

For more in depth information on conducting a disciplinary meeting at work refer to the ACAS website. 

https://www.acas.org.uk/disciplinary-procedure-step-by-step