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When is disciplinary action appropriate?

by , 26 September 2014
This week, our experts have been inundated with questions about disciplinary issues.

One question that keeps coming up over and over again is: When is disciplinary action appropriate?

Keep reading to find out the answer so you'll implement discipline in a legal manner in your workplace.

Here's when disciplinary action is appropriate

Experts behind the Practical Guide to Human Resources Management say disciplinary action is appropriate when:
  1. An offence or transgression of the disciplinary code is serious and you can't condone it; and/or
  1. Counselling hasn't achieved the desired effect.
Bear in mind that if you decide to use disciplinary action, it doesn't mean there's no place for counselling your employee.

In fact, counselling must be a part of the disciplinary process. Meet with your employee to explain the nature of the transgression and give him a chance to respond to the allegation before you decide on any disciplinary action. You must aim to agree on a remedy to address the conduct.

Now that you know when disciplinary action is appropriate, let's look at what forms of disciplinary action are available…

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Here are the six forms of disciplinary action 

Disciplinary action can take a number of different forms depending on the seriousness of the offence and how many times your employee has previously committed the same offence within a certain time period.

You can use the following six forms of disciplinary action (in order of severity):
  1. Verbal warning;
  2. Written warning;
  3. Final written warning;
  4. Suspension without pay (for a limited period);
  5. Demotion (as an alternative to dismissal); and
  6. Dismissal.
Now that you know when disciplinary action is appropriate, implement discipline in a legal manner in your workplace.
If you have any questions regarding disciplinary action or any labour matter, ask our experts at the Labour & HR Club.

PS: We strongly recommend you check out the "You're Fired!" Your guide to substantive and procedurally fair dismissals. It has all the information you need to make sure your dimissals are legally compliant.

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