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.
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’
- Key principles to take away
- Final questions and round-up