29th June 2020

All You Need To Know About A Disciplinary Process

What is the Purpose of a Disciplinary hearing and code?

The purpose of a disciplinary code and procedure is to regulate standards of conduct and incapacity of employees within a company or organisation. The aim of discipline is to correct unacceptable behaviour and adopt a progressive approach in the workplace. This also creates certainty and consistency in the application of discipline.

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The employer needs to ensure that all employees are aware of the rules and the reasonable standards of behaviour that are expected of them in the workplace.

The employee needs to comply with the disciplinary code and procedures at the workplace.

The employee also needs to ensure that he/she is familiar with the requirements in terms of the disciplinary standards in the workplace.

Who should be present at the hearing?

  • A chairperson – Evaluate the evidence
  • Initiator – Applicant and to establish guilt
  • The employee – Responded to establish not guilty
  • The employee representative if needed
  • Any witnesses for either parties
  • An interpreter if required by the employee
  • Human Resource (Inspirante labour Consultancy)

Take note of the following:

  • In the hearing witnesses and evidence is provided and represented by both parties.
  • The process must be fair.
  • Mitigating and Aggravating factors to be taken in consideration
  • Mitigating - Where employee mitigates for a less serious sanction - Example Employee fighting to keep their job
  • Aggravating - Where the employer aggravates for a more serious sanction - Example Employer fighting to dismiss employee from company
  • Chairperson must adjourned hearing to write finding and sanction
  • Finding and Sanction to be provided in writing


  • The company presents their evidence first.
  • Ensure that the drafting of your notice of a hearing has the correct allegation
  • Only draft a charge when evidence have been collected.
  • Before employee can be charged with an offence, a company must be certain that an offence has been committed and that it has sufficient evidence to proof the allegation.
  • Collecting of evidence with your HR (Inspirante Labour Consultancy) is especially important
  • Some cases you can even Suspend the employees, depending on the seriousness of the case

Drafting Allegations

  • Describe what the employee did, when, where and how.
  • This must be comprehensive and clear so that the employee cannot say that he/she did not have enough detail to prepare for the defense.
  • Use plain language that the employee can understand (use an interpreter if necessary).
  • Describe clearly what the employee’s alleged to have done wrong.

Elements on a disciplinary hearing notice

The first step in the process is that the employee needs to be informed that he/she has to attend a disciplinary hearing. You as the employer should give the employee’s no less than three days’ notice of the Hearing.

1. The allegations

  • The employee must understand the allegations against him.
  • It must specify the when, where, who and how.

2. The rights of the employee

  • The employee has the right to a representative in the company.

3. The date, time and venue

  • Make it clear and specific – use bold letter if possible.

4. Non-attendance

  • If the employee does not pitch up after proper time has been given to start hearing. The chairperson is allowed to continue in his absent.

5. Name of chairperson

  • It is advisable to inform the employee who will preside over the proceedings. Whether it is an internal or external person.

6. Acknowledgement of receipt

  • It is advisable that this is done in the presence of a witness who must also sign to confirm that the notice has been handed and explained to the employee.
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Tips to evaluate if you have a strong case

  • Did the employee break a workplace rule or standard of conduct?
  • Was the rule or standard valid or reasonable?
  • Was the employee aware, or could reasonably be expected to have been aware of the rule or standard?
  • Was the rule or standard applied consistently?
  • Was dismissal an appropriate sanction for the contravention?

 When is the dismissal of an employee substantively fair?

Substantive fairness means that there is a fair or valid reason to dismiss an employee.

If an employee is dismissed and the reason is automatically unfair, an employer may be ordered to reinstate the employee to his previous position.

In addition, the employer can be ordered to pay compensation equal to a maximum of months’ remuneration calculated at the employee’s rate of remuneration at the time of dismissal.

Rather speak to a professional like myself to assist and guide you through this.

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