Dodgy Disciplinary Decisions

A leading parcel delivery company has been accused of implementing an unfair points based disciplinary system to sack drivers.

Essentially, drivers who make small mistakes or don’t turn up for work are now given points. If they tote up 21 points, their contracts are terminated. This points based system is not recognised in employment law as being enough for someone to lose their job if the reasons were trivial.

So what are the common and often dangerous mistakes an employer makes when ‘following their own disciplinary procedure’?

Insufficient Notice of a Disciplinary Hearing

An employer is required to give an employee a minimum of 48 hours’ notice of a proposed disciplinary hearing in writing.

Not Giving an Employee the Right to a Witness

This must be offered and the employee is entitled to bring a Trade Union Representative or Colleague to the hearing.

Potential Outcomes

It is advised to list all of the potential outcomes of the disciplinary hearing, i.e. no further action, first written warning, final written warning, demotion or termination (with or without notice). Do not just state that the outcome could be termination as this could almost certainly look prejudged—remember, the disciplinary panel is completely impartial!

Right to Appeal

The employee must be offered a statutory right to appeal the outcome of any disciplinary hearing.

Policy policy policy!

Ensure that you have a robust, accurate and impartial disciplinary policy in place. Remember, employees with under two years of service are not automatically entitled to have their employment dealt with via the disciplinary policy.

However, we always suggest seeking the advice, guidance and support from DLP when undergoing a disciplinary hearing or termination to ensure that the case is insured.

The above is for guidance purposes only and the list of mistakes and damaging consequences documented above is neither exclusive nor exhaustive.

The final word is to make sure you get it right the first time as mistakes are usually very costly to rectify.

Should you have any questions feel free to reach out to our help line. DLP advisers are available to answer any questions you may have—24 hours a day—at 0330 400 4454.

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