Checklist for creating a comprehensive disciplinary policy (Incl. lawyer drafted template)
The checklist below sets out the key information to consider when you're creating your organisation's disciplinary policy.
A disciplinary policy can take different forms and may differ depending on your organisation, but it should cover important foundational principles and follow relevant guidelines, such as the Advisory, Conciliation, and Arbitration Service (Acas) Code of Practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures.
Disciplinary policy checklist
Let's explore the essential elements that should be included in a comprehensive disciplinary policy:
1. Clear communication
Most importantly, your disciplinary policy should use language that is clear, specific and understandable to all employees.
Communicating in plain English ensures that expectations and the consequences of failing to meet expectations are conveyed effectively. This will reduce confusion and prevent misunderstandings in the future.
The disciplinary procedure communicated in your policy should follow the minimum requirements of fairness and transparency set by the Acas Code of Practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures.
2. Start with informal solutions
Before resorting to formal action, it's important that your policy should require informal solutions to be considered first, except in cases of serious misconduct where immediate action is necessary.
This approach promotes fairness by exploring informal ways to address issues before taking formal steps ensuring that employees have the opportunity to rectify their conduct or performance.
3. Outline the formal process to be followed
Your disciplinary policy should outline the formal procedure that comes into effect once the disciplinary process has been initiated. For example, the employee will be informed about the disciplinary immediately and prior to any disciplinary hearing, a thorough investigation will be conducted, focusing on fact-finding.
Depending on the nature of your company, your disciplinary policy may allow for temporary suspension during the investigation period, to ensure a fair and unbiased process is followed.
For more information about the disciplinary process and the importance of following the Acas Code of Practice, read this comprehensive guide.
4. Inform employees of their right to be accompanied
A fair process means employees can have a trade union representative or colleague with them during formal interviews or meetings.
This support ensures that the employee's interests are well-represented.
5. Clearly set out the disciplinary actions that may be taken
Define the range of disciplinary actions that may be taken, such as verbal warnings, written warnings, final written warnings, suspension, dismissal and any other actions.
Clarify the circumstances under which each action might be applied.
For more information about the different types of disciplinary actions, take a look at this blog.
6. Include examples and consequences of misconduct
Including examples of misconduct and their corresponding consequences in a disciplinary policy clarifies unacceptable behaviour for employees and cultivates a transparent workplace culture.
Outlining potential outcomes, such as dismissal for gross misconduct, underscores the seriousness of infractions and reinforces ethical standards.
This proactive approach educates employees, safeguards the organisation's reputation, and reduces the risk of disputes by setting clear expectations and consequences.
7. Set timeframes
Where a quick resolution is the desired outcome, specific timeframes should be set to handle disciplinary procedures efficiently.
If necessary, your HR representative can, at their discretion, adjust the timeframes set out in your disciplinary policy on a case-by-case basis.
8. Set out the process for appeals
Employees have the right to appeal any disciplinary action taken against them.
The disciplinary policy should detail the process for submitting an appeal and any subsequent meetings to discuss the appeal, including any relevant timeframes.
Upholding this right ensures fairness and clarity surrounding the process following the decision made by the employer about the chosen disciplinary action. For more information about this right, check out the Acas' guidance.
In conclusion, a well-structured and transparent disciplinary policy acts as a guide for your business, setting expectations, standards and employee accountability. By thoughtfully incorporating these key elements into your policy, you are creating a framework for a positive working environment with efficient pathways to resolution when issues arise.
How can Docue help you?
If you’re ready to create your own disciplinary policy, you can find Docue’s dynamic template here, which includes all of the above elements that can be customised to suit your organisation.
Sign up now to use Docue's disciplinary policy template.
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