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Topic: Disciplinary, capability and dismissal

notification of disciplinary investigation
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Notification of disciplinary investigation

Notification of disciplinary investigation

Use our notification of disciplinary investigation letter to inform an employee in writing of the allegations against them and that an investigation will be carried out. If necessary, hold an investigatory meeting with them as part of the investigation.

Not suspended

Our Suspension Letter advises an employee that they are to be the subject of a disciplinary investigation, but that’s only for use in some limited cases of potential gross misconduct where you also have reasonable and proper cause to suspend them. Where the allegations are less serious (but still not minor enough to be dealt with informally) and the employee isn’t being suspended, they should nevertheless still be informed in writing that they’re to be investigated and why. Our Notification of Disciplinary Investigation letter can be used in this circumstance. An investigation should only be concealed from the employee if there are very good reasons, such as because they may be able to tamper with evidence.

Letter contents

As well as setting out a summary of the conduct allegations that are to be investigated, our letter indicates that an investigation is standard procedure for disciplinary matters, doesn’t indicate guilt and is not a disciplinary action or sanction. It confirms that the purpose is to establish the facts by gathering as much relevant information as possible and it sets out who the investigating officer is and how long the investigation is expected to take. A complicated matter may take several weeks to investigate properly. A relatively simple matter may only require a small amount of investigation. Our letter also warns the employee that you may need to hold an investigatory meeting with them to allow them to explain their version of events at the outset. It’s recommend you always do this where the case against the employee is heavily dependent on witness evidence given by third parties such as fellow employees, as opposed to documentary evidence which is more difficult to dispute. To maintain the independence of the investigation, it’s important to warn the employee to keep the matter confidential and not to discuss it with fellow employees or clients, etc. so we’ve covered that too. Obviously, if a decision is taken later to proceed to a disciplinary hearing, the employee will need to be able to discuss the matter with a fellow employee or trade union official at that stage in order to exercise their statutory right to be accompanied. Finally, the letter advises the employee that you will contact them in due course to inform them of the next stage - and this could be to invite them to a disciplinary hearing if your investigation reveals there’s a disciplinary case to answer.

Fair investigation

It’s essential that your investigation is fair, objective and thorough - so you should look for evidence that not only supports the allegations but also evidence which may contradict them. This doesn’t mean you have to interview every possible witness and hunt down every bit of physical evidence, but you do need to ensure your investigation is sufficiently broad to establish the facts. Making a decision without completing a reasonable investigation can make any subsequent actions unfair.

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