Stages of Discipline – A useful reminder of Disciplinary Warnings

Stages of Discipline – A useful reminder of Disciplinary Warnings

March 26, 2016

Stages of discipline- A Useful reminder of Disciplinary Warnings.

Disciplinary hearings are common in many organisations. Employees are naughty and the employer feels that dealing with the misconduct formally under the Company’s Disciplinary procedure is the best course of action.

I often get asked whether an employee can be given a final written warning before they have been issued with a written warning. It really depends on how your disciplinary procedure has been written but often its acceptable as long as it is a fair decision to reach. I also get asked whether a verbal warning has to be included in a Disciplinary procedure. You are welcome to include them, but ACAS took away the verbal from its Code of Practice in 2009 and to me, it was resigned to history when they took that step. Now any verbals issued are outside of the Disciplinary procedure.


Disciplinary action for conduct normally takes the form of the following:

  • A first written warning saying what the problem is, the change in behaviour needed and how long the warning will last, normally six or 12 months.
  • A final written warning if the offence is serious, or there has been insufficient change in behaviour within a set time, or if a further offence of a similar kind has happened. This warning should be for a set time and state the change in behaviour needed and that further misconduct could lead to dismissal.
  • Dismissal or action short of dismissal if the conduct has failed to change to what is needed after a final written warning.
  • Gross misconduct may call for dismissal for a first offence. Gross misconduct action should not be taken lightly, any dismissal should meet the range of reasonable responses test.

We have created a Little Book of Disciplinary & Capability Letters for your convenience. 14 letters that you can use to make sure you don’t say the wrong thing.  To purchase the book for just £25 inc VAT follow this link.



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