When an employee acts in an unacceptable way, they must go through the lawful disciplinary procedure that is in place for anyone that violates the workplace rules. The disciplinary hearing is conducted after all investigations are completed.
Let’s go over the important details of a hearing and some introductory questions that are part of the standard procedure.
The Standard Disciplinary Procedure
The purpose of a hearing is for the employee who is facing specific allegations to come forward and answer some questions pertaining to them.
The person questioning the employee is typically the chairperson of the disciplinary committee. The type of questions they ask depends on the nature of the accusations and the evidence that is available.
The employee also gets the chance to defend themselves against the allegations put forward. During the meeting, they can explain their situation and why there are allegations against them. They can either deny the allegations or explain their behavior.
Before getting into the technical bit, the chairperson starts the hearing by asking introductory or general questions. Introductory questions are asked of the employee regardless of their allegations.
Some of the introductory questions put forward to the employee include questions like:
- Do you know the purpose of the hearing? Do you know why it’s being held?
- Were you informed about the allegations put forward against you in writing? Did anyone provide you with the details in writing?
- Do you know what the allegations are against you? Do you understand its nature?
- Were you informed about the company’s disciplinary procedures? Were you given access to it?
- Are you aware of your statutory rights?
- Do you realize that the hearing could result in sanctions for you?
- Does the employee understand the possible punishments resulting from the verdict of the disciplinary committee?
These introductory questions are not based on the nature of the allegations and their details. These questions are simply put forward to let the employees know why the disciplinary meeting is being called.
Evidence is provided during the disciplinary meeting and this could include CCTV footage. The employee gets a chance to explain or refute any evidence put forward.
Recording Details Of The Hearing
As a legal requirement, the chairperson must record the meeting or take notes of the answers provided by the employee for any questions asked.
The hearing can be adjourned if necessary. For example, if the employee did not receive a written document with the details of the allegations and evidence, the hearing could be adjourned.
Why Are Introductory Questions Important?
You may be wondering what the point of the introductory questions is, and why not get right into the details of the allegations made against the employee.
The introductory questions help prevent the employees from later stating that the disciplinary procedure and any punishments resulting from it were unfair.
Besides following the standard protocol, asking introductory questions is evidence that you’re being fair in the disciplinary proceedings and following reasonable procedures.
The chairperson can decide whether they want a note-taker present in the room to help take notes. This is because the note-taker can assist in creating the minutes of the hearing for record purposes.
However, the note-taker attending the hearing is subject to confidentiality requirements.