See also ‘Disciplinary Hearing’ – Warnings are issued to employees where they have engaged in misconduct or where there are issues in respect of their competency in performing their working duties. Employers should be aware that warnings are meant to be ‘corrective’ and not ‘punitive’ and as a result warnings should only be issued in order to correct particular behaviour. As warnings must not be punitive, an employer must therefore ensure that warnings issued are reasonable.

Warnings tend to vary from a verbal warning, to a written warning, to a final written warning and ultimately a series of successive warnings may lead to dismissal. It is important to be aware that there is a clear distinction between warnings for misconduct and warnings for incompetence. If an employee is at stage 1 of the competence warning process then you could not justify moving them to stage 2 of the warning process over a misconduct issue, and vice-versa.

Employers must ensure that any warning issued must have been through a fair and reasonable process and to do this an employer must ensure that a fair disciplinary hearing has been conducted.