How to successfully conduct employee disciplinary meeting?

Employee disciplinary meeting is conducted to address grave issues concerning the employee’s conduct or actions in the workplace.

A disciplinary meeting is conducted to address serious workplace issues with employee/employees formally.  It mainly focuses on the following issues:

  • Performance concerns
  • Misconduct issues like fraud, sexual harassment, bullying or discrimination
  • improper behavior with colleagues or customers
  • Misuse of email, internet or social media facilities of workplace
  • Violation of health as well as safety rules

how to discipline an employee

Conduct Employee Disciplinary Meeting

An employee disciplinary meeting shouldn’t be held for minor issues like arriving late at the workplace or similar cases.  Holding a disciplinary meeting means a severe step of the employee disciplinary processes of the workplace. Organizations should follow the due process to ensure fair practice on all sides and avoid any unfair claims. Before holding an employee disciplinary meeting, it is essential to thoroughly investigate the misconduct issue and gather relevant evidence to support it.

Issuing Notice to the Employee

The first step to summon an employee disciplinary meeting is to give notice to the employee. The notice can be sent through a mail, rather than a formal letter. This would ensure the organization has a written record of the event. The notice should include an explanation of the issue that led to the meeting summon and details of the meeting.

It is also essential to let the employee know that they can bring a support system to the meeting who can be character witness or give additional info about the incident that led to the disciplinary meeting.

The Support Person

The support person in a disciplinary meeting can be a friend, family member or a union representative. The support person should sit near the employee with the meeting, though he is not a representative of the same. According to the Fair Work Act, an organization cannot deny the choice of the support person of an employee. However, it is entitled to refuse the employees’ choice of support person if any conflict of interest arises.

Internal Representative

Like the employee brings in a support person to the meeting, the organization or the employer can bring an internal representative to it. A person from the management team would be the best choice as the representative.

Objectives of the Meeting

An employer/organization should have three main objectives to conduct a disciplinary meeting:

  • Explain the concerns and provide relevant evidence of the issue to the employee
  • Give a patient ear and listen to the employee’s side of the story
  • Discuss next steps

An employer shouldn’t conduct a disciplinary meeting with a ‘pre-determined outcome’ in mind. Both the employee and the employer should place evidence and concerns that are related to the issue. The employer should aim to conclude the meeting by scheduling a follow-up meeting with the employee to give the decisions taken by the management.

Things to follow during the Meeting

It is essential to keep these things in mind to conduct a fair and effective disciplinary meeting:

Calm Environment

The employee disciplinary should be held in a quiet and private room where they won’t be interrupted. It is essential to keep communication devices like phones on silent to avoid taking any calls during the process. Both the employer and employee should give full attention to the meeting. Noise and distractions can disrupt the meeting and create a tensed environment.

Take Notes

It is good to take notes during a meeting, as it helps in creating proper responses and decisions afterwards. A contemporaneous recording of the discussion can also be done.

Be on Track

Always be on track in the meeting, it is essential not to steer the conversation in a different direction by bringing in other issues that aren’t related to the issue at hand. If the employee or the employer feels they are getting distracted or losing control of the meeting and emotions, they should take a pause or break from the meeting to gather their thoughts.

Anna Verasai
Anna Verasai
Anna Versai is a Staff Writer at The HR Digest; she covers topics related to Recruitment, Workplace Culture, Interview Tips, Employee Benefits, and HR Leadership. She also writes for Technowize, providing her views on the Upcoming Technology, Product Reviews, and the latest apps and softwares.

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