Disciplinary Procedure

This procedure is for managers disciplining a staff member or contractor. See also the Grievance Procedure for staff who wish to raise a complaint.

1. Purpose and scope

This procedure is designed to help and encourage all employees to achieve and maintain standards of conduct, attendance and job performance. The company rules (a copy of which is shared online) and this procedure apply to all employees, and to contractors whilst working for the Company. The aim is to ensure consistent and fair treatment for all in the organisation.

2. Principles

3. The procedure

Informal Discipline

Often, a formal disciplinary process is not needed. A manager may simply speak to the person, and agree some changes. Such informal discipline may be noted down for audit trails and performance reviews, but will not lead to disciplinary action such as dismissal without first following the formal procedure below.

If another staff member (or other stakeholder) was affected, then it is important that they do not feel the issue was ignored.

So for these cases, best practice is to give a brief communication to the affected people. This should be as non-judgemental as possible, whilst establishing expected good behaviour. For example, if someone was rude, then their manager might apologise to the recipient, or if someone was unhelpful, then their manager might send a more helpful reply.

First stage of formal procedure

A manager may start the disciplinary procedure, either as the result of a grievance procedure investigation, or because they decide the circumstances merit it. An investigation is not needed. If the person being disciplined feels that the treatment is unfair, they can appeal (see below).

The first stage will normally be either:


Final written warning

If the offence is sufficiently serious, or if there is further misconduct or a failure to improve performance during the currency of a prior warning, a final written warning may be given to the employee. This will give details of the complaint, the improvement required and the timescale. It will also warn that failure to improve may lead to dismissal (or some other action short of dismissal) and will refer to the right of appeal. A copy of this written warning will be kept by the supervisor but will be disregarded for disciplinary purposes after 18 months subject to achieving and sustaining satisfactory conduct or performance.

Dismissal or other sanction

If there is still further misconduct or failure to improve performance the final step in the procedure may be dismissal or some other action short of dismissal such as demotion or disciplinary suspension or transfer (as allowed in the contract of employment, or mutually agreed with the worker). Dismissal decisions can only be taken by a senior manager in the line-chain for the employee, and the employee will be provided in writing with reasons for dismissal, the date on which the employment will terminate, and the right of appeal.

If some sanction short of dismissal is imposed, the employee will receive details of the complaint, will be warned that dismissal could result if there is no satisfactory improvement, and will be advised of the right of appeal. A copy of the written warning will be kept by the supervisor but will be disregarded for disciplinary purposes after 18 months subject to achievement and sustainment of satisfactory conduct or performance.

Gross misconduct

The following list provides some examples of offences which are normally regarded as gross misconduct:

If you are accused of an act of gross misconduct, you may be suspended from work on full pay, normally for no more than five working days, while the alleged offence is investigated. If, on completion of the investigation and the full disciplinary procedure, the organisation is satisfied that gross misconduct has occurred, the result will normally be summary dismissal without notice or payment in lieu of notice.


An employee can appeal against a disciplinary action. They must do so within five working days, in writing or email to their manager. A panel of two senior managers will be appointed to hear the appeal, and their decision is final. At the appeal any disciplinary penalty imposed will be reviewed (which could lead to it being reduced or increased).

If the employee feels they are being bullied or otherwise mistreated by their manager, then they can raise a complaint. Please see the Grievance Procedure for details.

Note: Based on ACAS template "Sample basic disciplinary procedure"