October 30, 2017
Disciplining an employee is an uncomfortable and difficult process for an employer to undertake. The implications for poorly conducting a disciplinary meeting can negatively impact professional relationships. It is therefore important for employers to get the process right.
There are some standard steps every employer should follow to ensure any disciplinary meeting has been handled properly
Before any meeting regarding the conduct of an employee, they should be advised in writing of the upcoming meeting. This allows the individual to assess any allegations raised, and importantly to arrange for a support person they may wish to accompany them.
Allowing the employee to respond to any claims of misconduct, is a vital step in the process.
There is no definitive list of the type of support person an employee can bring to a disciplinary meeting however, for the sake of affording the employee procedural fairness, they should have the option to bring someone to emotionally support them through the process. For example, there is no legal requirement for a support person to be a union delegate or a family member, it is simply someone to provide the employee with emotional support and is not someone that is there to advocate for or speak on behalf of the employee.
A disciplinary meeting is not automatically a meeting before the employee is dismissed, it is a time for both parties to address a specific issue with the employee’s conduct. For example, a disciplinary meeting may be needed if an employee has been bullying other staff; in which case a meeting would be used as a fact finding and information gathering process, allowing the employer to make an informed decision following the meeting.
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