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Expired disciplinary warnings and repeat offenders!

11 Jan 2017

This is a common frustration for employers: they give employees formal warnings and all seems to be going to plan, but as soon as the warning expires, the employee is back to their old tricks.

However, a recent case from the appeal courts has confirmed that an employee was fairly dismissed even though the employer decided that a disciplinary offence merited a final written warning. The employer still went on to dismiss the employee after considering his history of expired warnings and the belief that there would be future conduct issues.

All cases do, of course, depend upon their facts and circumstances. In this case, the employee had already been disciplined 17 times and it was highly likely there would be future misconduct. The employer was therefore entitled, in this case, to decide that ‘enough was enough’!

Practical steps for employers to consider:

  • Warn employees in advance of the disciplinary hearing if expired warnings may be relied upon;
  • Consider the wording of your disciplinary procedure and whether it provides for  ‘repeat offenders’;
  • Take advice from a member of our employment team before dismissing in these circumstances.

At Hay & Kilner, our employment team provide expert legal advice and assistance throughout a disciplinary procedure.

For further information or advice, please contact a member of our team.