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Facing a disciplinary hearing

understanding the disciplinary hearing and defending yourself

What is a disciplinary hearing?

A disciplinary hearing is a meeting facilitated by your employer to discuss allegations against you and to give you an opportunity to respond to those allegations. Your employer can discipline you for conduct, capability or some other substantial reason. S13 (4) Employment Relations Act 1999 says that a disciplinary hearing is a hearing which could result in; the administration of a formal warning to a worker by his employer, the taking of some other action in respect of a worker by his employer, or the confirmation of a warning issued or some other action taken. You have the right to be accompanied to a disciplinary hearing under S10 of the Employment Relations Act 1999. Make sure you have a companion who will assist you in defending yourself and that you are both clear on what your companion can, and cannot do.

For a more detailed Guide see The Disciplinary Hearing: Understand the process, Know your rights, and survive it


What are the essential elements of a disciplinary hearing?

The essential elements of a disciplinary hearing is the legal duty on your employer to act reasonably under S.98 (4)(a) and (b) of the Employment Rights Act 1996, and the duty to follow a fair procedure. If either of these are not present and your employer dismisses you, it will be an unfair dismissal.

  • Once your employer has decided that you have a case to answer, you will receive a letter notifying you of the disciplinary hearing (Disciplinary Notice). You should also receive a written report or summary with supporting evidence and statements so that you can prepare for the disciplinary hearing.
  • You should receive a copy of the Disciplinary Policy and Procedure with the Disciplinary Notice.
  • By now you should be thoroughly ready with your chronology, information, supporting witness statements, and evidence that you have collated using the Disciplinary Investigation Guide.
  • The meeting must be held without unreasonable delay, but you must have sufficient time to prepare.
  •  If you are disabled, ask for any reasonable adjustments you may need.
  • Before the hearing, write asking who will be taking notes and also for a copy of the notes after each meeting.

You should be thoroughly ready with your chronology, information, supporting witness statements, and evidence that you have collated. The meeting must be held without unreasonable delay, but you must have sufficient time to prepare. If you are disabled, ask for any reasonable adjustments you may need. If your English is poor, ask for an interpreter or facilitator, in addition to any companion if needed. Before the hearing, write asking who will be taking notes and also for a copy of the notes after each meeting.


The Law


Updated: 14/03/2020


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