Skip to content

Call for immediate help from one of our team 01622 47 41 49

Call for immediate help from one of our team 01622 47 41 49

Call for immediate help from one of our team 01622 47 41 49

Call for immediate help from one of our team 01622 47 41 49

Disciplinary and Misconduct advice for employers

We give employers the confidence to manage disciplinary &
misconduct issues at work effectively

If you’re an employer having problems with a member of your team, then the best course of action is always to start with an informal chat. Sometimes though, you may need to take more formal action and follow a disciplinary procedure to address unacceptable behaviour at work.

What is unacceptable behaviour or misconduct?

Unacceptable behaviour can take different forms and can vary in seriousness.

There may be an issue with your employee’s conduct at work towards colleagues or managers, or it may be that your employee is unreasonably refusing to do what is asked of them. It’s worth keeping in mind that before starting a formal procedure, many issues of misconduct can be dealt with informally.

Misconduct can include refusing to do work, consistent absence without permission (“AWOL”), bullying and harassment.

There are also times when an employee’s conduct is substantially serious that it amounts to gross misconduct or negligence and may warrant dismissal, following investigation.

Some examples of gross misconduct include fraud, violence, gross negligence and unlawful behaviour such as theft.

Key steps in a disciplinary procedure

A disciplinary procedure is a formal way of dealing with discipline or misconduct issues. ‘Disciplinary issues’ are usually mentioned in the employee handbook or in the employment contract and relate to an employee’s conduct or performance.

A clear policy and procedure can help to keep you on the right side of UK employment law and should you need to dismiss an employee because of a disciplinary issue, a clear procedure should prevent unfair dismissal cases being brought at employment tribunal.

Basic process

We’ve set out below the basic process – it looks and sounds simple and you may be tempted to skip some of the steps but it’s really important to follow all the steps to carry out a fair procedure and avoid any complaints or even worse an employment tribunal.

  1. A disciplinary investigation
  2. An initial disciplinary letter
  3. A formal meeting to discuss the issue (the disciplinary hearing)
  4. A disciplinary decision
  5. A chance to appeal the decision

You can download our free disciplinary guide here.

We’re Primed so you’re ready to respond to workplace challenges with confidence.

Get instant HR support today from our expert team

smiling lady at work

How to conduct an investigation

It’s best practice to assign another manager who is in no way connected to the issue to carry out the investigation – we call them the disciplinary manager.

You should let your employee know that you’ve opened an investigation against them.

When conducting the investigation, you should gather as much information as you can – that can include interviewing others and taking a statement or requesting to view emails.

Your investigation should aim to identify if there’s a case, gather details to use as evidence during the procedure and help you decide if any further action is needed.

If there’s enough evidence, you should invite your employee to the formal meeting and move onto the next stage of the procedure.

Short on time or lacking confidence? We can conduct investigations for you, or on your behalf.

The disciplinary hearing

The ideal scenario for conducting a hearing is to do it somewhere private, away from other employees.

During the hearing you need to:

  1. Explain the complaint
  2. Share the evidence collected during the investigation
  3. Give your employee a chance to share their side of the story
  4. Decide on the disciplinary action you’re going to take – this could be no further action, a written warning, a final warning or demotion or dismissal

Every employee has the right to appeal the decision of the hearing. If this is the case, you’ll need to conduct another investigation and consider the case again – this usually would be escalated to a more senior member than the manager who carried out the initial investigation, which may not always be possible in a smaller business.

Comply. Respond. Improve.

Proactive HR advice to help your organisation comply with the basics, respond to issues as they arise and improve people management skills.

Find out how we can support your business today

  • Manage misconduct confidently & effectively with unlimited HR advice over the phone or via email
  • Outcome driven advice for businesses to achieve results quickly, from our integrated team of CIPD qualified HR advisors and employment lawyers.
  • Review your investigation notes, appeal hearing minutes, and advise on next steps.
  • Provide relevant templates to help guide you through and document the process
  • A robust disciplinary policy to ensure issues are dealt with fairly and consistently, helping to steer you clear of employment tribunal claims.
  • Advice on, and drafting of, Settlement Agreements – for those occasions where you might reasonably want to cut through the red tape

Our Prices & Packages

Employment & HR

Unlimited HR & Employment law support to help manage your people

From £11 emp/mo
Free Quote

What's included

Health & Safety

Unlimited Health & Safety advice to help manage your safety requirements

From £5 emp/mo
Free Quote

What's included


24/7/365 access to extensive online HR & Safety templates & resources

Only £35 /mo
Buy Now

What's included

Employment & HR & Health & Safety

Unlimited support managing your people and health & safety requirements

Only £14 emp/mo
Free Quote

What's included

Your next read

Disciplinary & Misconduct
Employment & HR
All Sectors
All Businesses
Most disciplinary allegations will not require suspension and suspending an employee should never be a knee-jerk...
By Primed Team 3 August 2021
formal meeting
Disciplinary & Misconduct
Employment & HR
All Sectors
All Businesses
Sometimes there's no other choice but to follow a disciplinary process - but what steps do you need to...
By Primed Team 22 February 2021
Disciplinary & Misconduct
Performance Management
Employment & HR
All Sectors
All Businesses
By Primed Team 14 April 2020