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Help for small firms

Managing discipline - Investigation to possible dismissal: A guide

Managing discipline - Be prepared and know the basics

  • Follow the principles set out in the Acas Code of Practice on discipline and grievance.
    • Investigate what's happened - and that includes talking to the employee about the issue.
    • Once the investigation is complete, write to the employee with details of the alleged problem
    • Hold a meeting to discuss it and decide what to do.
    • After the meeting, write to the employee, this time telling them of the decision, and why, and if it goes against them, that they have the right to appeal.
    • Should the employee disagree with the outcome, allow them to appeal.
  • It is good practice to set out this procedure in writing (an example of the wording of a procedure for managing discipline can be found on page 57 of pdf icon Discipline and grievances at work: The Acas guide [840kb])
  • And, if you have not already done so, it is good practice to:
    • write down the basic rules of expected behaviour - these should cover conduct, absence, timekeeping, health and safety, and use of work equipment such as computers, phones and vehicles.
    • set standards of performance so employees know what is expected of them. For more on managing performance so, hopefully, you never have to go down this disciplinary route, see How to get the best out of your staff, another online tool which is part of this series of guides.
    • make sure these rules and standards are clear, fair and consistent.
    • refer to them in the employee's Written Statement of Terms and Conditions of Employment, and say where they can be easily found.
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