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Follow these nine steps to a procedurally fair disciplinary hearing

by , 13 September 2015
Disciplinary hearings need to be as effective as possible. But they also need to be legally compliant.

In being compliant, you must ensure your disciplinary hearing is procedurally correct and fair.

Here are nine steps to follow in order to conduct a procedurally correct disciplinary hearing:

1. Introduction

This is where the Chairperson introduces the parties to each other, determines the language to be used, explains the procedure for the hearing etc.

2. The charge

The Chairperson reads the charge out loud and asks if the employee understands it before pleading guilty or not guilty.

3. Leading of evidence

Each party presents its evidence alongside cross-examination.

4. Finding

The Chairperson looks at the facts and decides if the employee is guilty or not guilty.

Everything you need to know about substantively and procedurally fair disciplinary hearings
So… Your employee's guilty of misconduct. Let's say he took a company laptop home, without asking permission. It's a simple open and closed case of theft, isn't it?
Not so fast! You can't just say 'that's it, you're out of here' and think that's the end of that. No, you still have to hold a disciplinary hearing. You still have to give him a chance to defend his case, and explain why he did that.
You also have to prove that he did this. You have to spell it out for him and notify him you're going to discipline him. And you have to give him time to prepare his case.
And then there's even more to it… You have to have a disciplinary hearing so you can prove your case, and give him a chance to defend his… And this is where most employers fail.
5. Hearing the mitigating and aggravating circumstances

If the decision is a guilty one, then the Chairperson must give the employee an opportunity to raise any mitigating factors. 

The other party will then be able to counter them with any aggravating factors.

6. Inspection of service record

The Chairperson will examine the employee's service record to see if there are any relevant and valid warnings present. 

7. Penalty

The Chairperson will decide on the appropriate sanctions based on various factors.

8. Appeal

If the employee is unhappy about a decision, and your policy allows for it, then he may appeal the decision. 

Note that if your policy says 'No', it will not affect you at the CCMA as long as you have applied it consistently with all employees. 

9. Outcome

The outcome may be not guilty, a verbal warning, a written warning, demotion, suspension or even dismissal 

So, there are the nine steps to follow to ensure a procedurally correct disciplinary hearing.

To find out more details, click below…

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