Here at Wirehouse we receive many queries from businesses about the disciplinary process and how to dismiss employees. Whilst we would always recommend that you speak to us before taking any action, here are some helpful tips for employers wanting to take action against an employee.
1. Gather the evidence
It may sound obvious, but investigating the issue by having meetings with witnesses, or getting statements from those involved, will help you decide whether or not someone is guilty of an disciplinary offence. If you want to dismiss someone, the evidence will need to be clear, concise and potentially shown to a Tribunal 6 months later if the employee attempts to bring a claim.
2. Get everything in writing
Companies often believe that an employee is guilty of an offence, but simply never document the evidence or have anything in writing. Meetings, statements etc. should all be recorded in writing. The best way to think about the process is that an employer should have enough documentary evidence (statements, minutes, evidence) to show a stranger 6 months later why they dismissed an employee.
3. Let the Employee respond to the allegations
It may seem obvious, but allow the employee the opportunity to see and understand the allegations and evidence against them, and allow them the opportunity to respond in a meeting. Obviously take minutes of this meeting. It may be they can prove their innocence. On the other hand, they may not, but they need to have that opportunity.
4. Explain why you find them guilty and why you are dismissing them
The days of pointing the finger and stating “you’re fired” are behind us. A detailed letter after the meeting, once everything has been considered, stating the reasons for why you think that they are guilty of the offence, and why you are dismissing them. We would recommend spelling it out to them as if they were a 3 year old. Detail is important, so a two line outcome letter is insufficient.
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5. Offer the right of appeal
An employee should have the opportunity to appeal the decision, and for it to be heard, ideally, by another manager within the business. Sometimes new evidence comes to light, or a fresh pair of eyes on the matter can change the outcome. Quite often, it will not. What is key however, is that they should be allowed to appeal, state their grounds of appeal to the company, and for those grounds to be answered.
Peter Holmes, one of the Employment Law team advises “it can take time to draft the letters. At Wirehouse we discuss in detail the issues with our clients, and draft bespoke letters for them in order to save the client time. By advising on the process and drafting all documents for them we can make sure that companies do not leave themselves vulnerable to a claim, and also build up a manager’s confidence prior to going through these difficult procedures”.
For more specific legal advice and guidance on the subject of disciplinary and dismissals, please contact our in-house team of Solicitors.
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