Understanding the Disciplinary Process 

by Oct 6, 2023All Posts, Industrial Relations

Sometimes employees can slip into bad habits, lose passion, and/or allow external influences and other factors to impact working capacities, behaviours and decision making. As a business owner you are aware of the tribulations that come with managing people and how this MUST be handled sensitively and attentively. However, in our experience, many employers do not fully understand the disciplinary process intended to respond to such issues. This decreases the likelihood of positive outcomes and increases the likelihood of unfair and unreasonable treatment, which can lead to unfair claims with Fair Work and Regulatory bodies.

What is Disciplinary Action? 

Disciplinary Action is the interventive process that is implemented prior to the consideration of employee termination. It aims to provide opportunities and initiatives to improve upon employee behaviour and performance.  It should not be thought of or approached as, ‘the means to an end of employment’ or ‘a box ticked’, in order to terminate an employee. Rather, it should be viewed as a tool that can assist in correcting poor workplace behaviour and concerns, for maintaining a fair, positive, and productive workplace.  

For a Disciplinary Process to be effective you need to: 

  • Regularly review associated policies and procedures. In doing so you maintain compliance with current legislation and ensure that all policies are customised specifically for your evolving business needs and values.  
  • Prepare and communicate. This ensures that all processes have been followed, inclusive of providing employees with appropriate forms of notice of concerns and of intended meetings, and that all involved are aware of their rights and responsibilities. For example, the capacity to bring a support person along to a Disciplinary Meeting.  
  • Conduct Disciplinary Meetings. These meetings should be held in accordance with company policy and in a manner that is fair, positive, and professional. Behaviour AND process must comply with workplace and industry specific laws and regulations, which is guaranteed if you regularly review associated policies and procedures
  • Conduct Follow-up Prior to Initiating Post Meeting Actions. Follow up can take a variety of forms and actions, such as further investigation, employee counselling or training, and/or the development of a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP). 

The AHR team are here to support businesses through the complex systems that are involved in HR management.

We can solve your problems by equipping you with the tools, templates and checklists required to review and respond to your specific circumstances. We can do it with you, working together to develop an overarching framework that will allow us to give you timely and business specific advice to see you remain compliant within workplace legislation. Or, we can do it for you, stepping in as your HR and WHS department, developing and implementing a strategy that will enable you to focus upon your other business priorities. 

Your business deserves the confidence that comes from knowing that processes are being actioned professionally, effectively, and compliantly.  We can equip you with advice and recommend changes to your disciplinary process in response to our expert knowledge of employment law and provide guidance on how to prepare and action investigations and disciplinary meetings. We can do this with you, assisting you to action such processes, or we can handle these for you by developing and executing a fair, accountable and legally integral operation on your behalf, from the initial investigation to the meetings and required follow up.  

For further assistance, visit the AHR Industrial Relations service page or call us on 1800 577 515 for a complimentary consultation with one of our HR specialists.

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