Employment Law Update Let The Punishment Fit The Crime After he has heard all the evidence at a disciplinary hearing, the disciplining officer must decide whether it is appropriate to award a disciplinary sanction.
It is important that any disciplinary action taken is proportionate to the misconduct which has occurred, so before deciding whether to impose a disciplinary sanction and what sanction to impose (e.g. first warning, final warning or dismissal); the disciplining officer should consider carefully the background to the case. Before deciding on any disciplinary penalty, consider:
A common mistake is to award too harsh a sanction. This often happens where an employee has been a nuisance for some reason, but the company has not dealt with it effectively. The risk is that the employee can resign and complain of constructive unfair dismissal.
It’s far better to err on the side of caution if in doubt. For example, if you are faced with a situation where a misconduct issue comes down to one employee’s word over another’s, give the accused the benefit of the doubt, especially if he has a previous good record and long service. Here’s a case which illustrates the principle. Ms Roldan was a Filipino …