Disciplinary action

A disciplinary procedure is the way your employer deals with discipline when they believe that your conduct (or sometimes performance) is not up to the expected standard. Disciplinary procedures may involve something as simple as an informal chat, and escalate to involve letters, meetings and appeals.

Disciplinary action is the result of the disciplinary process. This will vary from case to case, but at its most severe it can lead to dismissal.

There are many reasons why this could be, but common causes include:

  • repeated lateness to work;
  • inappropriate behaviour;
  • unsatisfactory performance.

Your employer should follow a set procedure to resolve the issue with you. A disciplinary procedure may follow this order:

  1. An informal chat in private to identify whether disciplinary action is required.
  2. An investigation, where you and others may be interviewed.
  3. A letter from your employer setting out clearly the reason for the disciplinary action.
  4. A formal meeting to allow you to state your case.
  5. A formal letter explaining the result of the case.
  6. An invitation to appeal within a set time frame.

Most employers set out their own disciplinary procedures in writing in a ‘Disciplinary Policy’. A failure of the employer to follow procedures can result in a breach of contract or a breach of the implied term of trust and confidence.

You are entitled to be accompanied by a colleague or a UNISON rep at a disciplinary meeting.

If you think you are going to be subject to your employer’s disciplinary procedures, contact your UNISON rep or the branch office for advice and support.