When faced with a potential disciplinary issue, you should carry out a full investigation before taking any action.
- the alleged breach of discipline
- the circumstances and consequences of the breach
- the employee's job, experience, length of service and disciplinary record
- any recent changes to the employee's job
- the evidence of any witnesses (and if relevant, their reliability)
- whether the employee has received appropriate counselling or training
- any mitigating circumstances, eg health or domestic problems, or provocation
You should then review the evidence and decide if:
- a case exists and whether it is serious enough for disciplinary measures
- there is an alternative to disciplinary action, eg an informal chat or redeployment
Suspending an employee while an investigation takes place
For certain serious offences you may need to suspend an employee while you investigate the issue. They should continue to receive their full pay. You should also consider alternative actions which would be more acceptable to the employee yet serve the same purpose as a suspension eg agreeing to a temporary transfer to other duties or another work station without loss of pay or the taking of annual holidays to which the employee is entitled. Any action taken should be reviewed to ensure it is not unnecessarily protracted. You should make it clear that any action taken is not considered a disciplinary action.
Criminal offences as a disciplinary issue
Don't dismiss someone just because they have been charged with or convicted of a criminal offence, either at work or outside of work. You should consider the seriousness of the offence and whether it affects their suitability to continue working for you.
If it does, follow your normal disciplinary procedure. If it doesn't, decide whether you can keep their job open during their absence.
Base your decision on a reasonable belief following an investigation into the circumstances. If a criminal charge has been made, you will need to consider if you can proceed with any disciplinary action immediately or whether you should await the outcome of any criminal proceedings. You can seek advice from the LRA on individual circumstances.