Employee misconduct is so nuanced that even seasoned managers and HR professionals may sometimes question what action to take.
Whether you feel completely out of your depth or just want the reassurance of a second opinion, seeking expert support can help you to investigate the problem, determine the severity of the offence, and reach a fair outcome decision after careful consideration of the facts.
Get your FREE consultation
Submit your details and one of our team will be in touch.
COVID-19 | FREE expert guidance for employers, including sample policies, template risk assessments and more
How we help
Restore business harmony
From persistent lateness and social media misuse to complex fraud and allegations of sexual harassment, our HR and Employment Law specialists can provide much-needed support and expertise through difficult disciplinary matters.
Fair, commercial, pragmatic. We’ll find out what you want to do, help you explore options and risks, and work with you to manage misconduct quickly, effectively and in line with the law.
- Approach situations confidently with advice from named Employment Law experts
- Ensure matters are dealt with fairly and consistently with a robust disciplinary policy
- Save time with bespoke document drafting and expert-created templates
- Not confident or time-poor? Let us conduct the investigation, hearing and appeal for you
- Protect against claims with our optional, FCA-regulated Legal Expenses Insurance
Dealing with Disciplinaries | COVID Rules, Conduct and Other Concerns
Can You Discipline Employees for These 5 COVID-Related Issues?
The Definitive Employer's Guide to Misconduct and Disciplinary Procedures
Reduce business exposure, resolve issues quickly
Disciplinary matters are the most common case type we deal with and come with a high potential for claims. Have you followed the correct procedure? Is the sanction fair and reasonable in the circumstances? Is there whistleblowing involved, or perhaps a protected characteristic?
Don’t let disciplinaries drain management time or leave the door open to claims. In addition to unlimited advice line support throughout the process, your dedicated team of legally-qualified advisers will take care of all your documentation, from drafting meeting invites to turning your minutes into a clear, comprehensive outcome letter. Complete peace of mind in stressful situations.
How can you assist with documentation?
Your dedicated WorkNest team will utilise their Employment Law expertise and in-depth understanding of your business to help you to craft any correspondence you might need throughout the disciplinary process. We’ll ensure that meeting invites contain all the necessary information, help you to construct carefully-worded outcome letters explaining how you have arrived at your decision and why this warrants a particular course of action, and everything in between
Can you offer on-site support with investigations and hearings?
Yes. If you’re not confident tackling the situation alone, we can provide on-site HR Consultancy support with disciplinary investigations, hearings and appeals. We can conduct the meetings for you or, if you prefer, attend them with you to offer professional, experienced support. We can also provide similar assistance with employee grievances.
I want to be able to evidence the steps we have taken.
Through myWorkNest, you can access a full case history, including attendance notes and correspondence with your adviser. Not only will this help you to demonstrate that you followed a fair procedure, but you can also refer back to written advice and call recordings at a later date should you encounter a similar scenario or need to demonstrate compliance.
Will you stop us from taking action against employees, even when we feel we need to?
Some providers’ self-insurance models can result in overly restrictive advice. At WorkNest, our Legal Expenses Insurance is independent, and our advice is genuinely commercial; we will help you to achieve your preferred outcome whilst being mindful of potential legal risks. Dismissing an employee during their probationary period, for example, is fairly low-risk, and provided this wouldn’t constitute automatically unfair dismissal, we won’t prevent you from making these basic employment decisions.
What is formal disciplinary action?
Formal disciplinary action is any sanction that follows a formal disciplinary meeting. It could be a first written warning, a final written warning or dismissal. A sanction should only be issued following a formal disciplinary process, which will usually involve an investigation, an invite to a meeting, the meeting itself, then a letter confirming the outcome.
Can employees resign during a disciplinary?
Yes. Employees resigning during the disciplinary process is a fairly common tactic adopted by someone facing serious allegations. Resignation is a unilateral act, and employers cannot choose to accept or reject the resignation. If someone resigns with immediate effect, their employment ends straightaway. If they resign with notice, then it may be that you can conclude the disciplinary process before the notice period ends.
What are the steps in the disciplinary process?
Generally speaking, it is investigation, meeting, outcome, appeal. How long each step takes, and the exact process involved, will often depend on the seriousness or complexity of the allegations.
What is the role of a companion at a disciplinary hearing?
A companion in a disciplinary hearing can take notes and can make representations on behalf of the employee. Beyond that, their role is pretty limited. What they cannot do is answer any questions posed directly to the employee.
Who can employees take into a disciplinary hearing?
A union representative or a work colleague. Employees are not permitted to take friends or family members into a disciplinary hearing unless they are also colleagues and/or union representatives.
Can you sack staff at a disciplinary?
Yes, provided that the letter inviting the employee to the disciplinary hearing makes it clear that is one possible outcome.
Explore our fixed-fee Employment Law support
Explore our fixed-fee Employment Law support
Advice LineFast, pragmatic, commercial. Our Employment Law & HR advice line gives you and your managers access to truly unlimited advice on all of your people-related challenges, from the seemingly straightforward to the most complex.
What sorts of things can you advise on?
HR matters come with the territory when you run a business or manage an organisation and we’re here to help you through it all. Whether you’re battling absenteeism, struggling to manage an underperforming employee or need help navigating a complicated exercise like redundancy, we can walk you through the steps required to handle the situation appropriately.
Is everything dealt with through one team?
Yes. All of our advisers are qualified legal professionals or on the road to formal qualification, which means a full range of employee issues can be dealt with within your dedicated three-person team. In the event that you’re presented with an Employment Tribunal claim, we will conduct a full handover to our Litigation Team so that they are well equipped to defend you.
99.2% Client happiness rating
97% Client retention rating
Why choose us?
Experts in Employment Law & HR
We have the expertise to help you simplify complex health and safety legislation, find workable solutions to health and safety challenges, and protect your organisation from the rising cost of non-compliance.
- Approved by a Primary Authority
- Dedicated specialists with recognised qualifications
- Genuine hands-on experience of managing risk
- Cost certainty with our unlimited, fixed-fee model
- The confidence to act as one of your competent persons
Who you’ll be working with
Executive Director, Privacy International
WorkNest supports our 280 staff members with Employment Law and Health & Safety and has provided quality management training too.”
Head of Service Delivery, Catalyst Choice
We get a great deal of comfort and satisfaction knowing that we have support as and when we need it, in a decisive and responsive way.”
Group HR Director, Culina Group
We moved our legal support to WorkNest (formerly Law at Work) having previously used a time and line law firm. It was important, though, that an all-inclusive fee structure did not come at the expense of quality. Thankfully we’ve been delighted with the service we’ve received from WorkNest.”
What we recognised in WorkNest is the background that they have. They are able to supply knowledge and experience in a number of disciplines, which enables us to develop our business in a way that’s safe, to do it on time and with a quality to it.”
Director of Human Resources and Health & Safety,
Bluestone National Park Resort
Chief Executive, The Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust (JRCT)
As the company started to get larger, we knew we had to protect our employees and our contractors both onsite and in the offices. WorkNest is exactly what we needed to move the company forward.”
Operations Director, Beaverfit
Pineapple have worked with the team at WorkNest (formerly Law at Work) since 2003, and we have built a trusted partnership together. We particularly like WorkNest’s concise and practical advice concerning employment law/HR issues and also appreciate their totally supportive approach in all areas of health and safety.”
Pineapple Dance Studios
I’ve taken WorkNest into every organisation that I’ve worked with. I’ve introduced them to many teams and many colleagues and referred them with absolute pleasure because I genuinely trust in the service that we get.”
People Director, The Works
Latest news and insights
It’s an aspect of the job most would hope to avoid, but when you’re in charge of a team, managing conflict comes with the territory. With a mixture of personalities forced to work in close proximity day in day out, there are bound to be times when individuals don’t see eye to eye. Personality clashes, set ideas about how things should be done and competing goals are common catalysts for conflict, as is employees shirking ownership for tasks, acting in
Blog If an employee is midway through a disciplinary process and suspects that dismissal is imminent, they may feel that resigning is their only option to save face and maintain their reputation. Whether it’s better to quit than be fired is open to debate. However, if reputation is the employee’s primary concern, leaving on their own terms allows them to frame their departure in a more positive light to a prospective employer. But where does this leave employers? Do you
Blog Written by Hannah Kennedy on 12 February 2021 Sacking an employee is a serious matter, which is why an Employment Tribunal will want to satisfy itself that the decision to dismiss was reasonable and reached after a fair and robust investigation into the issue. The best way to prove that the sacking was justified is to have a strong employee misconduct and disciplinary procedure. Unfortunately for employers, it’s frustratingly easy to bungle the disciplinary process. You may have a