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How to Conduct a Disciplinary Meeting

Published November 07, 2017 (last updated June 29, 2023) - Head of Operations
Employee and manager in a disciplinary meeting

Disciplining an employee is an uncomfortable and difficult process for an employer to undertake, and the implications for poorly conducting a disciplinary meeting mean employers must get the process right.

There are some standard steps every employer should follow to ensure any disciplinary meeting has been handled properly.

1. Notify the employee of a disciplinary meeting

Before any meeting regarding the conduct of an employee, they should be advised in writing of the upcoming meeting. This allows the individual to assess any allegations raised, and importantly, to arrange for a support person or representative to accompany them to the meeting if they wish. Any evidence relevant to the allegations should normally be provided to the employee at the time of inviting them to the meeting.

2. Provide the option of bringing a support a person or representative

The employee should be informed of their right to have a support person or representative present with them at the meeting. This may be a family member or friend, or a formal representative such as a lawyer, Union representative or employment advocate. A support person or representative has the right to ask questions or provide further information on behalf of the employee during the meeting.

3. Provide opportunity for the employee to respond

Allowing the employee to respond to any allegations of misconduct before a decision is made, is a vital step in the process. It is important that an outcome is not determined before fully considering the employee’s responses, and any other matters which could be relevant. It is good practice to ask the employee what they think an appropriate outcome would be. An employer should allow enough time between a disciplinary meeting and the proposal of any outcome, to ensure responses have been thoroughly considered. Be sure to take thorough notes of the discussion during the disciplinary meeting.

4. Provide opportunity for the employee to address their conduct

It is important to remember that dismissal following a disciplinary process must be both for a good reason, and following a fair process. Allowing an employee time to improve their conduct following a disciplinary issue, and supporting them to do so, demonstrates being a fair and reasonable employer acting in good faith. It is important to implement corrective actions following a disciplinary process, like further training, updating a policy, or improving a process. If the employee’s conduct does not improve, then this needs to be addressed as soon as possible using the same process.

For advice on how to manage a disciplinary meeting employers should call Employsure on 0800 675 700.

About Employsure

Employsure is one of New Zealand’s largest workplace relations advisers to small and medium businesses, with over 5,500 clients. We take the complexity out of workplace legislation to help small business employers protect their business and their people.

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