A clear and consistent disciplinary procedure allows organisations to manage situations whereby their staff members are not meeting the required standards or are breaking the rules outlined in their employment contract, company handbook or additional relevant documentation. This might be in relation to their job description, the company culture or other legal requirements.

It helps to protect employees’ rights whilst safeguarding the organisation from any unfair dismissal claims, since it ensures that employers are adhering to employment law legislation and following the necessary steps before confirming a decision to dismiss someone.

A good disciplinary procedure should clearly outline each stage of the process and highlight the specific consequences employees may face if they breach any of their contractual policies. It should also detail information any suspension process, including when this may be applicable and what will happen to employees during this time. Usually, employees will still need to be paid in full whilst they are suspended, but they should expect to remain available for any investigation meetings.

Failure to follow a fair procedure can risk unfair dismissal claims being raised. Organisations should ensure they are adhering to the principles of natural justice by applying disciplinary measures in a consistent manner. The Code of Practice confirms that:

  • Information relating to allegations or complaints against an employee must be given to them.
  • Employees should be given the chance to fully respond to any allegations or complaints.
  • Employees have the right to be represented by a colleague or trade union member throughout the procedure.
  • All evidence and information relating to the allegations or complaints should be fully considered before a decision is made.
  • Employees’ grievances should be fairly examined and processed.

Adherence to the above steps enables organisations to objectively outline their reasons for taking disciplinary action and allows them to justify any decisions to terminate an employee’s contract of employment.

If your business would like guidance and advice on any issues concerning disciplinary procedures, please get in touch with Core Resource on 087 7743205 or by email on geraldine@coreresource.ie