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The issuing of warnings has come up a number of times during the last week in the office. The HR Tip today is a reminder that you cannot just issue a warning, including a verbal warning to employees.

There is a procedure that must be followed in relation to invoking the Disciplinary Policy and Procedure. There is a process that must be followed before the stage is reached in the process that you can issue any level of warning.

All employers are required to have a Disciplinary Policy in place. All employees should be issued with a copy of same or it may be in the staff handbook that is issued with their contract of employment.

The key steps are that:
1.Fact finding [you may not always have to do fact finding it depends on the issue arising]
2.Investigation
a.Summary notes of the investigation meeting must be issued to the employee.
b.Investigation report compiled and if the alleged allegation/s is founded then move to disciplinary hearing
3.Disciplinary Hearing
a.Summary notes of the disciplinary hearing must be issued to the employee
b.Disciplinary Hearing outcome report is compiled and at this stage the level of warning, if any, is given
c.Letter to employee is issued confirming outcome of the disciplinary hearing together with the disciplinary outcome report. An employer may reconvene a meeting with the employee to issue the letter of outcome and the report or email/post to the employee.
d.The letter of outcome must include the right to appeal. An employee has the right to appeal.

In addition, there is also requirement to ensure that appropriate letters are issued to the employee in relation to the disciplinary procedures for attending the investigation meeting and disciplinary hearing