The success of internal disciplinary hearings depends on the formulation of the alleged misconduct. It is therefore important that the offences or allegations against an employee are formulated correctly or properly on the “Notice to attend a Disciplinary Enquiry”.
5 Points to bear in mind when drafting allegations
1. Describe what the employee did as if a story is being told to someone.
2. 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 a defence.
For example: “It’s alleged that on 22 September 2015 you forged a proof of payment for a coffee mug you took from the kitchen. This allowed you to remove the coffee mug from the company on the basis that you had paid for it when this was not the case. You had no authority to remove the property. You were trying to remove it without paying for it, which amounts to dishonesty as you allegedly did not obtain the necessary authorisation to remove the company’s property.”
3. Use plain language that the employee can understand (use an interpreter if necessary).
4. Describe clearly what the employee’s alleged to have done wrong. Do not give legal definitions/descriptions, or the exact terms of the disciplinary code and procedure. See the example above – describe what the employee did in detail, do not just call it dishonesty.
5. After all this have been done, refer to the disciplinary code to decide what to call the transgression.
For example, you are not sure if the employee’s actions are dishonest. Do you have enough evidence to prove he removed the item? Start the description of the misconduct in the disciplinary hearing notice with a factual description of what he allegedly did. Follow this with the words “It’s alleged that in doing this you were dishonest by removing company property without obtaining prior authorisation from your line manager”.