A disciplinary hearing is an opportunity for you to go through the complaints or concerns against an employee. It’s also your chance to discuss all the evidence against them. At a hearing, your employee should receive a full opportunity to answer the allegations and put forward any explanation or defence of their breach of your rules. To receive a full account, you need to ask the right disciplinary hearing questions to help clarify any points or shed light on any matters.
Prepare in advance
Before the hearing takes place, you can prepare a list of disciplinary hearing questions to ask your employee. These will usually focus on key points relating to the allegations against them. A few examples of what to ask are:
- Whether the employee can confirm the incident happened.
- Who was present at the time.
- What the outcome was.
You should work through the pieces of evidence in a logical manner and base questions on your findings. For example:
- “Can you confirm what this piece of CCTV is showing?”
- “Are you aware of the company policy on timekeeping?”
Even though you can take questions to ask at a disciplinary hearing, the chair of the meeting should always take care to listen and respond to any points your employee makes. This process will involve asking reactive disciplinary meeting questions, or asking your staff member to clarify explanations put forward.
Disciplinary appeal hearing questions to ask
When looking to find the employee’s explanation of the disciplinary incident, the chair of the hearing will find it useful to ask open questions. But what are the questions to ask at a disciplinary hearing? It depends on what happened to cause the hearing in the first place. So, you can base your questions around the type of incident, the employee, and any other staff members who saw the incident. An example is, “Can you tell me what happened during the incident?” This question will encourage the individual to provide a full account of all the matters they believe are relevant. When looking to clarify others important points, the chair of the hearing can use closed questions. These can focus on one main point. Such as, “To clarify, what did you say to the other person?” or “at what time did this occur?” Keep questions as clear as possible to avoid confusion or mistakes. Rather than asking more than one question at a time, keep questions simple and ask them individually. You should also avoid questions that may come across as hostile. This includes interrogative questions or ones that force the employee towards a particular answer. Finally, it’s important to end the disciplinary meeting with this question, “Is there anything else you would like to add for me to consider?” This leaves it open to the employee to add any final pieces of information they wish the decision-maker to take into account. This information may include work-related, or personal, information that led to them acting in a particular manner.
It’s important the hearing's minutes contain an accurate record of every question asked, including who asked the question, and the answers from the employee. At the end of the meeting, provide the staff member with the opportunity to read the minutes. They can then sign and date their agreement. These are for an accurate record of what took place. Disciplinary minutes are an important document. If the employee chooses to appeal the disciplinary meeting decision, or you need extra evidence at another employment tribunal claim, then you have a record on hand.
Disciplinary appeal questions
Where the employee chooses to appeal the meeting's decision, the disciplinary appeal questions should focus on the specific grounds of appeal the employee raises. If the employee did not specify what this is, then ask them for confirmation. Rather than going through every piece of information again, the questions should all refer back to the grounds and why the employee feels this led to an unreasonable dismissal. Alternatively, if there are concerns there was an element of procedural unfairness during the original disciplinary hearing, the appeal can act as a rehearing where the case is reheard. This will require the chair of the hearing to ask the employee fair questions relating to the allegations.
Need help with a disciplinary hearing?
We can help you with your disciplinary hearing legal questions, along with anything else in the process. Call us today on 0800 028 2420.