First Tuesday Q&A

The claimant was dismissed by reason of gross misconduct and in particular.

We sent a letter to an employee inviting her to a disciplinary hearing. We received a sick note by return, citing ‘stress’. What can we lawfully do to get the hearing underway? We suspect she is trying to avoid the situation – there’s no history of stress on her record.

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 01/11/2016 Employers must consider two main issues when an employee cites ‘stress’ during a disciplinary process. These have to be considered even if the employer is suspicious over the employee’s claim. The first issue an employer must consider is whether stress, anxiety or a mental health issue could have c...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Disciplinary and Grievance Issues

One of our employees committed an offence at work two days after a previous warning expired for a similar misdemeanour. Is it lawful to take the old warnings into account? It’s only two days after the expiry of the warning but the hearing might not be able to be held for a couple of weeks, so it will really be 14-16 days after expiry before we can make any decision.

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 01/11/2016 Whether or not an employer can take account of an expired warning will depend on the employee in question’s contract of employment, the warning letter issued by the employer, and on the company’s disciplinary procedure. If any of these materials stipulate expired warnings cannot be taken into accou...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Disciplinary and Grievance Issues

We have an employee who failed to attend a disciplinary hearing. May we proceed to consider the matter in his absence? 

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 04/10/2016 The LRA Code, referred to above, provides that when an employee fails to attend a first disciplinary hearing, it is good practice for an employer to re-arrange the hearing to an alternative date and give the employee further notice to attend the re-arranged meeting. If an employee fails to attend a...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Disciplinary and Grievance Issues

Under what circumstances might we grant anonymity to a witness in a disciplinary process and how far should/could we go to protect that anonymity? 

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 04/10/2016 Anonymity can generally be requested in a disciplinary process under any circumstances. However, an employer should take account of the reasons and possible motivations behind a request for anonymity. If anonymity is requested in ordinary disciplinary hearings, employers must make reasonable effort...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Disciplinary and Grievance Issues

If an employee asks to audio record a disciplinary hearing should we let them do so?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 04/10/2016 For disciplinary hearings, an important reference for employers generally should be the Labour Relations Agency’s Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures. This provides a general guide for both employers and employees on how to conduct disciplinary hearings fairly. The LRA code ma...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Disciplinary and Grievance Issues Policies and Procedures

I work in an organisation which requires all male employees to wear a tie when attending business meetings and conferences on behalf of the company. One of our managers refuses to wear a tie. How should we deal with this?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 06/09/2016 Dress codes can be a difficult issue for employers, as evidenced by the recent media coverage surrounding the case of a woman who was reportedly sent home from her job as a receptionist for refusing to comply with a dress code requiring her to wear two to four inch heels. It is not clear whether yo...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Disciplinary and Grievance Issues Policies and Procedures

Could you explain when ‘modified disciplinary procedures’ can be applied?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 06/06/2016 However, it is recognised that there may be some limited instances where, although an employer has dismissed an employee immediately without a meeting, a tribunal will, very exceptionally, find the dismissal to be fair. To allow for these cases, there is a statutory modified procedure that must be ...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Disciplinary and Grievance Issues

Does the full disciplinary procedure need to be exhausted within a probation period i.e. verbal, written etc.?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 03/05/2016 Employers usually want flexibility to dismiss an employee without giving prior warnings during his/her probationary period. The employee is likely not to have qualified for ordinary unfair dismissal rights in any case as probationary periods are usually 3-6 months, whereas the unfair dismissal qual...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Disciplinary and Grievance Issues Probation

 If an employee has been called to a disciplinary meeting, can he/she bring a tribunal representative or solicitor with them to this meeting?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 03/05/2016 Employees have a right to be accompanied at a disciplinary hearing by a trade union representative or a fellow worker. There is no general right under UK law for an employee to have a qualified legal representative at a disciplinary hearing, however, some employees (for example, NHS hospital doctor...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Disciplinary and Grievance Issues

Can we consider increasing a penalty sanction from final written warning (FWW) to dismissal on appeal?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 05/01/2016 The opportunity to appeal against a disciplinary decision is essential to natural justice and appeals may be raised by employees on various grounds, including new evidence having come to light, or the undue severity or inconsistency of the penalty imposed.The LRA Code of Practice does not deal with...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Disciplinary and Grievance Issues Policies and Procedures