Appointments: Just the Job - How to Avoid the Pitfalls in Cases of Misconduct

Article excerpt

Byline: Deb Clarke

Most managers will, at some point, have to get involved in a disciplinary process. Dealing with misconduct is one of the most common people management issues for a manager.

So, what are the basic ground rules for making sure that you achieve what you set out to, and avoid any legal pitfalls?

All employers of more than 20 people have a legal obliga-tion to supply (amongst other things) a copy of the disciplinary rules and the appeal process to all employees. If you have less than 20 employees then it is still good practice to supply these details.

Handily, ACAS has written a code of practice on which you can, and should, base your procedure. You can get hold of a copy from your local ACAS office or on line from

It is important to be clear in your mind about the purpose of the disciplinary procedure you are writing -it is not to punish, but to assist employees to maintain the standards of conduct that are required.

That is why there are warnings in it -you are saying to the employee that what he or she did was not acceptable and that the behaviour needs to be modified.

We have dealt in a previous article with the specific issue of gross misconduct - e-mail me if you want a free copy -but, in essence, gross misconduct is so serious that it war-rants summary dismissal without going through the warning stages.

All disciplinary procedures have stages in them -usually about four -but you can have more if required.

The stages are generally a verbal warning, a first written warning, a final written warning and dismissal. …