Discipline issues are a regular HR topic for us. For example, we have been asked if a new written warning needs to be issued for misconduct even if an existing written warning is in place but for different / unrelated misconduct?

The simple answer is no, you can build upon a previous warning for completely different misconduct. This can go through to dismissal as employers can rely on a current prior warning to support a dismissal for misconduct which would not justify dismissal on its own, even where the two instances of misconduct are not similar. Employment law / case law has established that employers may dismiss fairly for misconduct if this is within the range of reasonable responses.

Key HR points to remember:

  • Always follow a fair process;
  • When considering disciplinary action, always apply the test of ‘is this a reasonable response’ to the misconduct given the circumstances;
  • Ensure consistency in approach to similar misconduct by other employees;
  • When writing a letter to confirm disciplinary action, state that any further misconduct of any nature could result in further disciplinary action.

If you would like to discuss this HR article in more detail, please contact our HR consultants at info@connectivebusiness.co.uk