Preparing for a Disciplinary Meeting
Have you been invited to a disciplinary meeting by your employer and are unsure what is expected of you? Please read on for further information on how you should prepare for your disciplinary meeting.
Why Have I Been Asked To Attend A Disciplinary Meeting?
Often employees are asked to attend a disciplinary meeting because their conduct or behaviour has been called into question. It may be that a complaint or tip has been received about the alleged misconduct. Alternatively, it could be that you are deemed to have breached a policy or practice of the employer.
The purpose of the disciplinary meeting is to discuss the alleged misconduct and for a decision to be reached on how your employer shall deal with the incident.
There are a wide range of outcomes which your employer could impose on you at the end of the disciplinary meeting, a few examples are:
- The incident is unfounded and therefore no further action is to be taken
- A formal warning
- A performance improvement plan
- Mandatory training
- Dismissal with notice
- Gross misconduct dismissal. This is the most serious sanction an employer can impose and allows an employer to dismiss you immediately without payment of your notice. For further details about gross misconduct please see our blog https://lincslaw.co.uk/blog/what-is-gross-misconduct-2/
As the potential outcomes of a disciplinary meeting can be very serious, it is important that you prepare for your disciplinary meeting and, in particular, you prepare a disciplinary statement.
What Should I Have Been Provided With Prior To My Disciplinary Meeting?
Your employer should follow their own disciplinary policy. If they do not follow their own policy, you specify this failure in your disciplinary statement and explain how you have been disadvantaged in preparing for Disciplinary Meeting.
If you employer does not have a specific disciplinary policy, then the ACAS Code of Conduct on Disciplinary and Grievance should be used.
It is important that you understand what the disciplinary allegations against you are. Your employer should have written to you, explaining the allegations in sufficient detail so you understand what you are being accused of. If you have not been provided with an explanation of the allegations, ask for them.
Your employer should have also carried out an investigation into the allegations to establish what actually happened. Again, you should be provided with the notes of any investigations prior to your disciplinary meeting.
The best way for you to prepare for your disciplinary meeting is to have all the necessary information. Do not be afraid to ask your employer to provide this information prior to your disciplinary meeting, ideally in writing so there is a record of your doing so.
What Should I Include In My Disciplinary Statement?
The purpose of your disciplinary statement is to set out your defence in respect of the alleged misconduct. It is important you take some time and consider what you want to say in your disciplinary statement.
I would always advise that you prepare a written statement as it allows you to explain your thoughts in a clear order. The disciplinary meeting will be stressful, and you may find it difficult to concisely formulate your thoughts under pressure in the meeting. Having a statement will provide you with a structure to follow.
You should think back to the incident or misconduct and provide your version of events as how the incident played out. The actual detail of your disciplinary statement will depend on the allegations against you, but as a guide:-
- If you consider your behaviour or conduct was justified, clearly explain why you did what you did.
- If you do not consider that you committed the misconduct in question, again, clearly explain the reasons why you believe you did not commit the act as alleged.
- If you have made a genuine mistake, acknowledge the error, apologise, and then explain how it was a genuine mistake and what steps you will take to ensure it does not occur again.
- If you have any documentation you can include as evidence, it is important you attach this to your statement.
- If you consider there is some additional information and documentation which your employer has not considered, then bring this to their attention.
- You are also able to include any character references and witness statements of third parties who were present at the incident or can contribute something to your defence.
- Also, if your employer has failed to follow any correct policy or procedure up to the point of the disciplinary meeting, bring this to their attention in your statement.
Finally, discuss your personal attributes which would count as mitigating factors. The point to be made here is that you are a valuable employee to your employer and these positive characteristics should be consider against the alleged misconduct. Some examples of mitigating factors are:
- Your length of service
- Your disciplinary record – is this your first disciplinary or complaint?
- Your performance – do you have reviews or appraisals? Are these positive?
- Your relationship with managers and colleagues – do you have a good working relationship with your team?
- Your targets – do you achieve the targets and goals set by your employer.
Lincs Law Employment Solicitors Can Help You
If you are currently going through a disciplinary process and have concerns or questions, we can provide help and assistance, including drafting your disciplinary statement. Please call us on 01522 440512 for a free, no obligation, initial phone enquiry. For more information about workplace disciplinary, please visit our website at https://lincslaw.co.uk/blog/work-disciplinary/
Specialist Employment Solicitor
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