Dismissals & Disciplinaries

A BRIEF OVERVIEW OF DISMISSALS & DISCIPLINARIES FOR EMPLOYERS

The importance of good process - Good process is an important factor in protecting employers against grievances from treating employees unfairly. 
What if you know that they did it - You must still follow good process! Employment law urges employers to ensure that they genuinely consider employees feedback and do not have a predetermined outcome. Even if you have video footage, the employee may have a reasonable explanation. 
 
Is it three strikes and you're out with disciplinary actions - Not necessarily. Warnings for different types of breaches may not always be considered relevant to other disciplinary processes. Employers should be careful that they are making decisions that a reasonable and objective employer would also make to ensure that they are acting fairly. If you are not confident or experienced in carrying out a disciplinary process, then we would recommend seeking employment law support at least for the first few occasions. 
Is a performance improvement plan (PIP) a disciplinary action? In short, no. They may be tied together but a good faith performance improvement plan should seek to improve issues and rectify performance. The outcome should be achievable and the length of time and support or training given should be reasonable for the employee to ensure that the process is genuine. 
 
 

What if an employee refuses to attend a disciplinary process?

Suggest rescheduling. If they genuinely continue to refuse to participate in the process, then you may be able to give them notice that you will determine the outcome without their feedback. We'd suggest getting some advice prior to doing this however. 

Do I need to follow process for a verbal warning or can I just tell them?

You need to follow process for all disciplinary action, including a verbal warning. If you are providing constructive feedback or coaching, this is not the same as a verbal warning.

What if I need to get rid of an employee?

Ask yourself why you feel this way? If this is because of misconduct then you should follow the disciplinary processes. If this is due to poor performance or not meeting company standards, then perhaps a PIP might be more appropriate. We do not recommend dismissing someone purely due to a personality clash without seeking advice!

Do I have to let an employee bring a support person to a meeting and can they speak on the employee's behalf? 

Yes. 

Do I need to give a verbal, written and final warning before dimissal?

No. If the incident is serious misconduct or significant enough, then it may be appropriate to summarily dismiss. 

If I am the victim of an employee's misconduct (ie, violence or harassment) can I carry out the disciplinary process? 

We would not recommend this. It could be considered that there was a predetermined outcome or a lack of genuine consideration and this could result in poor process and a grievance.