disciplinary procedure

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A formal procedure that is established by managers to uphold disciplinary standards. Procedures frequently contain a statement of disciplinary policy and a listing of acceptable and unacceptable behaviour. In addition, they set out rules to be followed in dealing with cases of indiscipline, including a statement of the penalties attached to various forms or levels of misconduct. The Advisory, Conciliation, and Arbitration Service code of practice on discipline and dismissal recommends that procedures should be written down, should allow for the proper investigation of disciplinary cases, including the collection of evidence, and should allow for an employee defence through a representative, such as a trade union officer. The employee should also have a right of appeal. ACAS further recommends that, except in cases of gross misconduct, there should be no dismissal for a first disciplinary offence. Partly for this reason, most procedures embody the corrective principle and operate through a number of stages. This allows for employees to be warned about their conduct and allows them to change and improve, possibly after retraining or counselling. Formal disciplinary procedures exist in the vast majority of UK companies that employ more than twenty-five employees and their spread across the economy has been a notable feature of the formalization of workplace industrial relations since the 1960s. A further impulse was given to this process by the Employment Act 2002, which requires employers to have (minimal) formal disciplinary and grievance procedures in place.

Subjects: Human Resource Management.

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