How do I decide what sanction to impose?
You should be guided by your disciplinary procedure as to what constitutes misconduct and what constitutes gross misconduct. If in doubt consider the seriousness of the allegation and the impact it has had or could have had on the business, colleagues and your company’s reputation. For example a first offence of poor timekeeping would probably warrant no more than a recorded verbal warning whereas a first offence of serious breach of health and safety procedures would probably warrant at least a final written warning if not dismissal for gross misconduct.
Do I have to start with a recorded verbal warning for every offence?
No – you should impose a sanction that reflects the seriousness of the offence. For example a first offence of poor timekeeping would probably warrant no more than a recorded verbal warning whereas a first offence of serious breach of health and safety procedures would probably warrant at least a final written warning if not dismissal for gross misconduct.
What other factors should I take into account when deciding what sanction to impose?
You should consider whether the employee has expressed remorse, is prepared to make restitution where appropriate and previous service record including length of service.
What is summary dismissal?
Summary dismissal is dismissal with immediate effect and without notice or pay in lieu of notice. All other benefits will also cease with immediate effect but take care with holiday entitlement as the individual may be entitled to receive pay in lieu of any holiday accrued but not taken as at the date of dismissal.
What is serious misconduct?
This term is often used to describe a situation where under ordinary circumstances the sanction would be summary dismissal, however there are mitigating circumstances or a long, unblemished service record that bring the sanction to just short of dismissal, ie a final written warning.
Is a warning the only disciplinary penalty that I can impose?
No – there are other sanctions that may be more appropriate depending on the nature of the offence. You could consider a demotion or more commonly, require the perpetrator to attend specific training courses aimed at helping them prevent a similar situation arising in the future.