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Here's what to do about disciplinary issues that aren't in your disciplinary code

by , 26 August 2014
A disciplinary code is a written document that describes the steps you'll take when taking disciplinary action against employees who commit misconduct.

What's great about a disciplinary code is it:

1. Ensures that while dealing with discipline, you stick to your obligations to be fair and avoid the risk of disputes;
2. Makes all employees aware of the standards of conduct and what's expected of them; and
3. Makes sure employees know what the consequences are for disobeying your rules and policies.

But what happens when your employee commits an offence and you realise it's not in your disciplinary code? What can you do in this case? Is he off the hook?

Not quite. Read on to find out the answer so you can implement discipline in a legal and fair manner.


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THIS is the right way of dealing with issues that aren't in your disciplinary code


Experts behind the Labour Law for Managers Loose Leaf Service explain that as long as your employees are aware or could reasonably be expected to be aware of the rules they've broken, you must deal with the matter as consistently as possible, using your code as a guide.

For example, you must follow the same disciplinary procedure, irrespective of the type of misconduct.

It's NOT relevant if the code doesn't mention what the most appropriate action's likely to be. Your code is only a guide. As the person dealing with discipline, you must apply your judgement to the most appropriate discipline in all matters.

The fact that your disciplinary code fails to mention a specific transgression or likely sanction doesn't change anything. You must still discipline your employee in a fair and legal manner – he's not off the hook.

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