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Bryan Edwards

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Disciplinary Interview – getting it right


Recently we have covered the decision to discipline and the preparation phase. Here we look at the disciplinary interview itself. Our best practice tips for managers chairing an effective disciplinary interview:

Agree the gap (performance/conduct)

  • Set the scene

·         Reason for interview

·         Who is present and why

·         Process of meeting

  • Relay manager’s version of events i.e. summarise the history
  • Show evidence/witness statements, where appropriate
  • Clarify that the employee understands that their behaviour is not up to standard
  • Gain agreement on the gap - ask what they think

Explore reason for gap

  • Ask open questions
  • Remain open minded
  • Show listening and empathy skills, if appropriate
  • Control interview – interrupt if necessary
  • Summarise the employee’s responses, to show listening and ensure the employee has not missed anything out
  • Check if employee has anything else to add
  • Explain next steps including time scale for decision

VERY IMPORTANT: Adjourn and consult. A time gap must be demonstrated between the 1st and 2nd part of the interview to show that due consideration has been taken to the evidence heard. This applies even if ‘an open and shut case’ where the employee admits the misdemeanour and there are no mitigating circumstances.

Always seek appropriate advice from your senior manager, human resources department or your organisation's legal team

Eliminate the Gap

  • Communicate the decision verbally and in writing (warning/dismissal, other action e.g. re-training or no action)
  • Confirm any review periods/dates for the future
  • If a warning to be issued communicate:

·         Level of warning and duration on file

·         Consequence of not rectifying the behaviour

·         The appeal procedure (what it is and how long have they got to submit the appeal)

NOTE: The above article is an edited extract from our 1 day Disciplinary Skills course material. These notes should be checked and verified by your organisation’s legal team prior to re-circulation to ensure they comply with your disciplinary procedure. While every care has been taken in compilation, ABC Training Solutions Ltd cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions; the notes are not intended to be a substitute for specific legal advice. ABC Training Solutions Ltd cannot be held responsible for any effect caused by the use of this resource.

Bryan Edwards is Managing Director of ABC Training Solutions Ltd ( which delivers training and markets a range of fully-designed, ready to deliver workshops, self study packs and other training exercises for the busy trainer. He can be contacted on 07747 602215 or

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