Disciplinary hearings



This course is designed to help those who may be asked to chair disciplinary hearings and make decisions about disciplinary sanctions that may affect employees. It is a practical and interactive course dealing not only with the legal requirements of a fair disciplinary hearing, but also looking at useful techniques in handling a disciplinary hearing effectively. The course provides an opportunity for those with experience of chairing disciplinaries to further develop their knowledge and skills; and for those new to the chairing role to gain practical advice and discuss and share common issues with colleagues.

Course outline 

Welcome and introductions

The legal framework for disciplinary hearings

  • Unfair dismissal and the rules of natural justice
  • Who should be conducting the disciplinary hearing?
  • The right to be accompanied
  • Key features of a fair hearing

Structuring the meeting

  • Openings and beginnings
  • Introducing the evidence
  • Making room for the employee’s story
  • Staying focussed and ‘in control’

Dealing with witnesses

  • Witness statements or live witnesses?
  • Asking questions: open and leading
  • Cross examination from the employee
  • What is ‘hearsay’ and why does it matter?

The employee representative

  • Friends, lawyers, trade union reps
  • The legal role of the representative
  • How the representative helps the process
  • What can the representative do and say?
  • Dealing with points made during the hearing
  • Handling disruptive representatives

 Getting the sanction right

  • Assessing the evidence
  • Identifying gross misconduct
  • Warnings – what are they for?
  • Setting the right level of the warning
  • When is dismissal appropriate?
  • Mitigating circumstances and aggravating features
  • The need for consistency – dealing with ‘precedents’

Final Round-up

  • Key principles to take away
  • Final questions and round-up