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Every employer is required, by law, to have a Disciplinary Procedure in place.
  • It allows for warnings to be given for failure to meet service standards of job performance, conduct and attendance.
  • A breach of the employee's terms and conditions of employment may also prompt disciplinary action.

Disciplinary Policy

As well as helping employees to achieve and maintain high standards of conduct, the Disciplinary Policy is also used for dealing with misconduct and gross misconduct.

Adherence to the Stages in a Disciplinary Procedure

A Disciplinary Procedure has a number of stages to go through, from informal through to formal and it is very important that these stages are adhered to.

In the informal stage an issue is highlighted to the staff member and they are informed that if the situation arises again, or there is no improvement in performance, conduct etc, the formal disciplinary process will be invoked.

In the formal stage there are usually a number of levels of warnings in the formal process from a verbal warning to a number of written warnings leading to dismissal.

Employers should refer to the LRC Code of Practice on Grievance and Disciplinary Procedures.

In summary
  • You MUST have a Disciplinary Policy in place
  • You must adhere to the principles of natural justice
  • The Disciplinary Policy can be used for a number of different performance and conduct issues
  • Formal warning should never be issued without following due process and considering the employee's case
  • An employee has the right to appeal at any stage of the process - it is useful to become familiar with the appeal process
  • Employees must have the right to representation


  1. Employees should be given a summary of the main areas of complaint before a meeting
  2. Managers must act consistently, objectively and reasonably when dealing with any disciplinary issues
  3. Managers can invoke the procedure at any stage for more serious offences so that it would not always be necessary to go through all stages of a procedure before leading to a final warning or dismissal
  4. The level of warning issued to the employee will depend on the information obtained through the investigation and the subsequent disciplinary hearing. Warnings should only be given to employees following this process

Both employers and employees need to be aware of what constitutes misconduct and gross misconduct, some examples of which are (this list is not exhaustive):

  1. Failure to comply with a reasonable request
  2. Undertaking work in conflict with the employer
  3. Repeated breach of policies and procedures
Gross Misconduct
  1. Allegation of abuse against a child
  2. Breach of confidentiality
  3. Submitting or entering of false information or misleading information
  4. Abusive or insulting behaviour and/or language to fellow workers
  5. Abusive or insulting behaviour and/or language to fellow workers
  6. The taking of or being under the influence of alcohol or un-prescribed drugs during working hours