AC 1.1 Briefly describe the legal aspects of the disciplinary process
There are many legal obligations employers must consider such as;
The Employment Act 2008;
Sections 1-7, dispute resolution
Sections 8-14, minimum wage
Sections 15-18, employment agencies
Section 19, union member expulsion
The Equality Act 2010;
Part 5 Work
Chapter 1 Employment
Chapter 2 Occupational pension schemes
Chapter 3 Equality of terms
Chapter 4 Supplementary
These encourage employers and employees to resolve their issues internally where possible without having to go through an employment tribunal. Additional rules from May 2014 also require claims to be notified to ACAS for possible resolution before making a claim to an employment tribunal. The general principle behind the Code is the importance of dealing with issues fairly.
The main points of the Code are;
The employer must set out the reasons for the alleged misconduct in writing.
The employee must be invited to attend a disciplinary meeting and has a statutory right to be accompanied by a representative.
The employer must inform the employee in writing of the decision.
The employee has the right to appeal.
The employer’s duty to make reasonable adjustments applies to grievance, disciplinary and other workplace procedures.
While the code itself is not legally binding, any compensation may be adjusted by up to 25% if an employee or employer does not comply with the code
AC 1.2 Identify an organisation’s employment policies and procedures that could guide the manager in dealing with disciplinary issues
At my current employer there are several policies and procedures that help guide the managers depending on the background situation behind the disciplinary issues.
Equality and Diversity Policy
The employer has to make reasonable adjustments for certain employees covered under the Equality Act 2010. This could be changing sickness absence to disability leave when looking at the employee’s absence record. There could also be adjustments put in place during the disciplinary hearings such as providing allowing a carer or family member to attend the hearing to support the employee.
If an employee feels they have been treated unfairly during a disciplinary process then the employee has the right to raise a grievance and for it to be heard fairly.
Whistle Blowing Policy
This policy covers employees, who raise concerns of serious malpractice or impropriety, from reprisal.
Performance Management Policy
Where employees are not meeting the expectations set out by their line manager this policy provides guidance for the manager on how to proceed form initially raising the issues as part of a one to one to placing the employee on a performance improvement plan (PIP) to the final stage which is going down a formal disciplinary route.
Absence Management Policy
This policy provides guidance on the management of absences within the workplace.
Health ; Safety Policy
The Health and Safety Policy has been designed to remove or reduce the risk of injuries to employees, contractors or members of the public. Any breech of these procedures or the policy can result in instant dismissal due to gross negligence.
AC 2.1 Describe the purpose of disciplinary procedure
This procedure is intended to encourage a positive environment; free from blame, supporting all employees to achieve and maintain high standards of performance, behaviors and conduct.
It is used primarily to help and encourage employees to improve and will not be used just as a way to impose punishment.
Whilst the aim is to resolve minor conduct issues informally, where the matter is more serious it may be necessary to move to a more formal process. The aim of this disciplinary policy is to provide a transparent framework within which managers can work with employees in a consistent and fair manner to maintain satisfactory standards of conduct and to encourage improvement where necessary.
If the disciplinary procedure is not implemented correctly or used fairly then this can lead to low moral and a lack of confidence in employees that will be dealt with fairly and transparently. This in turn leads to employees leaving the business, an increase in grievances being raised and ultimately an increased risk of employees taking their claim to an employment tribunal.
AC 2.2 Identify the interpersonal behaviour and support skills required by a manager to monitor discipline in the workplace
As a manager dealing with disciplinary issues you need to be aware of your own needs, values and emotions and their potential to impact on your decisions so you do not predetermine or judge the employees subject to disciplinary procedures.
You also need to keep your emotions and reactions in check and behave appropriately when you have feelings that could result in confrontational behaviour
The ability to build a positive relationship and gaining the trust of the employee.
Conflict management and problem solving are key to managing differences of opinions and seeking resolutions that are to the benefit to both the company and the employee (win-win).
Active listening and communicating are also key skills that a manager needs as a manager needs to listen to other people’s perspectives and opinions while suspending judgment and to clearly communicate both during the disciplinary procedure and it’s outcome.