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Help for small firms

Managing discipline - Investigation to possible dismissal: A guide

Managing discipline - Taking action about conduct issues

Disciplinary action for conduct normally takes the form of.

  • A first written warning saying what the problem is, the change in behaviour needed and how long the warning will last, normally six or 12 months. An example of a letter giving a written warning is available from our Disciplining staff useful forms section
  • A final written warning if the offence is serious, or there has been insufficient change in behaviour within a set time, or if a further offence of a similar kind has happened. This warning should be for a set time and state the change in behaviour needed and that further misconduct could lead to dismissal. An example of a letter giving a final written warning is available from our Disciplining staff useful forms section
  • Dismissal or action short of dismissal if the conduct has failed to change to what is needed after a final written warning. Action short of dismissal may include demotion or transfer to another part of the business (depending on what is allowed in their Written Statement of Terms and Conditions of Employment). An example of a letter telling an employee of such action is available from our Disciplining staff useful forms section
  • Gross misconduct may call for dismissal for a first offence. An example of a letter telling an employee of the intention to dismiss them is available from our Disciplining staff useful forms section.

The effect on a small firm

An incident may have a bigger impact on a small business than it would in a large one. If the impact is seriously harming the business, or you fear it is likely to, you may feel it is fair for a first offence to give a final written warning, instead of a first written warning.

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