Research and reports
As a small business, you’ll need a clear disciplinary policy to ensure a fair and consistent working environment for your employees.
Your disciplinary and grievance procedure should set out what’s acceptable and unacceptable behaviour, and what happens when rules are broken.
A disciplinary policy explains the procedure to follow when an employee’s standard of behaviour drops, for reasons such as:
Your disciplinary hearing letter, on the other hand, is an employee’s invitation to attend a meeting to discuss their performance, conduct, or attendance.
When an employee’s conduct or attendance is lacking, you should have a written policy to let them know what disciplinary action you can take against them.
The rules you create make sure your individual employees are treated fairly and consistently. They’ll usually explain the whole disciplinary procedure – from informal warnings to final disciplinary action, including dismissal.
As well as your written policy, there’s an Acas disciplinary procedure code of practice you should follow.
The disciplinary process varies from organisation to organisation, so this customisable template should help you lay down your own rules. Remember, they should be clearly communicated to employees in the policy or staff handbook.
It covers the disciplinary procedure that happens when you need to notify an employee they should improve their performance, conduct, or attendance.
All businesses should have a procedure in place for:
Disciplinary decisions can range from no action to demotion or dismissal.
You need to state what you consider gross misconduct, as your policy needs to include them. They’re breaches so serious it’s likely to lead to dismissal without notice – such as theft, gross negligence, or physical violence.
After an investigation into the employee’s conduct, you may need to invite them to a disciplinary meeting. You can use a disciplinary hearing template as the basis of this invitation.
It’s important to remember that you’ll need to give the employee 48 hours’ notice of the disciplinary hearing so they can prepare.
Along with the hearing letter, you might want to enclose:
At the meeting, you can explain to the employee why you’ve called a disciplinary hearing.
You can use the meeting to put your case forward and go through any evidence you have.
Your employee should then be able to answer the allegations made against them and ask any questions they have about the case.
If either side has witnesses, they can be called to the meeting to give evidence. Meanwhile, if your employee brings a companion such as a trade union representative to the disciplinary hearing, they can talk to them throughout.
At the start of a disciplinary hearing, you should ask the employee some introductory questions, such as:
Remember, your employee has the right to be accompanied to the meeting by a colleague, workplace trade union member, or trade union employee.
At the end of the meeting, you’ll need to explain to the employee what happens next and the expected timeframe. You’ll then need to take some time to consider your final decision.
Do you have any unanswered questions for creating a disciplinary policy for your business? Let us know in the comments below.
Zach Hayward-Jones is a Copywriter at Simply Business, with six years of writing experience across entertainment, insurance, and financial services. Zach specialises in covering small business and landlord insurance. He has a particular interest in issues impacting the hospitality industry after spending a number of years working as a pastry chef.
We create this content for general information purposes and it should not be taken as advice. Always take professional advice. Read our full disclaimer
6th Floor99 Gresham StreetLondonEC2V 7NG
Sol House29 St Katherine's StreetNorthamptonNN1 2QZ
© Copyright 2023 Simply Business. All Rights Reserved. Simply Business is a trading name of Xbridge Limited which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (Financial Services Registration No: 313348). Xbridge Limited (No: 3967717) has its registered office at 6th Floor, 99 Gresham Street, London, EC2V 7NG.