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Disciplinary letters templates

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Disciplinary letters templates
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Appendix A Procedure at Disciplinary Hearings. Appendix B Guidance Notes for Managers. Appendix C Disciplinary letter templates.

Your disciplinary procedures should follow the Acas code of practice.

Not following the code is not illegal. However, if someone wins an employment tribunal against you and you did not follow the code, then their award could be up to 25% more.

The exact rules will depend on your organisation, but could cover things like:

  • acceptable and unacceptable behaviour
  • absence and timekeeping
  • health and safety
  • use of phones and the internet

You cannot normally discipline or dismiss an employee for whistleblowing.

Gross misconduct

Your disciplinary rules should give examples of what will be treated as gross misconduct. This is misconduct judged so serious that it’s likely to lead to dismissal without notice, for example fraud, theft and physical violence.

Telling employees about disciplinary rules

Your disciplinary rules must be in your statement of employment or clearly written elsewhere, such as in a staff handbook.

The rules should clearly say when someone might face disciplinary action and what that action could be.

You must also give the name of someone they should appeal to if they’re unhappy about a disciplinary decision.

If you do not provide this information and an employee then wins an employment tribunal claim against you, they could be awarded 2 to 4 weeks’ pay.

Disciplinary procedures and contracts

If you make your disciplinary procedures part of an employment contract then the employee could make a breach of contract claim against you if you do not follow your procedures.

Example letters and forms

Acas has a number of sample letters and forms for disciplinary proceedings on its website.

Print entire guide

If you wish to use a model letter, we suggest that you simply copy and paste the relevant letter from the examples below. 1. Notice of disciplinary meeting 2.

Templates & guides

disciplinary letters templates

As a business, you rely on your employees to do their part for the good of your organisation.

But if they break your rules, it can result in disciplinary action.

This piece explores the process of writing such a letter while keeping the standard code of practice in mind.

Dealing with misconduct

A disciplinary letter is a message to a member of staff regarding issues surrounding their performance or conduct in the workplace.

The letter serves as an invitation or notice of an upcoming disciplinary hearing meeting. It should include the date, time and location for the hearing.

The disciplinary hearing letter should have details of the allegations against the employee, documentation supporting the incident and the possible outcomes of the procedure.

Although Acas disciplinary letter templates provide some guidance for employers, it might be a good idea to take the time to create one specifically for your company.

If you require any action after the initial meeting, you must also send a disciplinary action letter to the employee.

The main part to include in this email is a summary of what was discussed in the first disciplinary meeting as well as the required action from this letter.

Why write a disciplinary letter?

The purpose is to inform staff of a breach or potential break of company policy or code of practice.

To avoid discrimination claims, the letter must include details of the employee's entitlements during the procedure such as their right to have a trade union representative or a colleague present —as well as the expected process.

It’s important this process is fair and consistent amongst all staff members to prevent allegations of inequality.

These documents may later serve as proof when sending out a disciplinary action letter for insubordination, misconduct, lateness, performance, etc.

Disciplinary letter template

To reduce some of the concerns associated with this process, we’ve provided a sample letter of disciplinary action that could serve as a guide for creating one specific to your business.

While there’s no standard format for writing this letter, it should always include some core elements. These are:

  • Details and procedure of a disciplinary hearing.
  • Documents and other supporting evidence.
  • A list of people who’ll attend the hearing.
  • The employee’s right to having someone present.

There’re a number of sources online that offer various disciplinary letter templates. Depending on the reason for the hearing, you could adapt this letter to serve as a:

  • Sample disciplinary action letter for gross misconduct: This is for behaviour considered to be potentially damaging to the relationship between yourself and the employee.
  • Sample disciplinary action letter for insubordination: It applies when a member of staff deliberately disobeys an order from their manager. Remember, an employee refusing to perform a task that’s illegal or unethical isn’t considered insubordinate.
  • Sample disciplinary letter for unprofessional behaviour: This is any behaviour that affects the normal flow of the work environment. It could be anything from bullying and harassment to persistent lateness and passive-aggressive behaviour.
  • Sample disciplinary letter for absence: Like the name suggests this comes in handy when employees are persistently late without a valuable excuse.

There’re a variety of sources online that offer different versions of a disciplinary letter. While they may all differ slightly, the core message remains the same.

Download a free template, here:

Although you aren’t required to follow the Acas code of practice, you must follow the rules and regulations for dismissing an employee as this is the best way to avoid claims of unfair dismissals.

While following the Acas standard code of practice may not be a legal requirement, employers that don’t may open themselves up to extra costs.

If you didn’t follow the code and went on to lose an employment tribunal claim, the employee could receive up to 25% more at an employment tribunal than they would if you did follow the code.

Expert support

Contact Croner for more information and advice on disciplinary procedures and employment contracts. Call us on 0808 145 3380.

About the Author

Andrew Willis is the senior manager of the Litigation and Employment Department and assumes additional responsibility for managing Croner’s office based telephone HR advisory teams, who specialise in Employment law, HR and Commercial Legal advice for large organisations across the United Kingdom.

Andrew Willis

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How to Write a Disciplinary Letter

disciplinary letters templates

A written warning is resorted to when

  • a verbal warning has failed to produce the desired result, therefore necessitating stricter action,
  • or if the offense for which a verbal warning was issued has been repeated
  • or if there have been repeated offenses of other misconduct, 
  • or if the offense (even a first offense ) is considered serious enough to warrant disciplinary action stricter that a verbal warning.

It is emphasized that a written warning should only be issued after having followed a fair procedure, whereby the accused has been afforded the opportunity to present his case in answer to the charges against him.

A written warning must contain all the elements previously mentioned, and would generally be along the following lines:

Written warning: Example

To " Mr Naughty employee"

Re: Disciplinary Hearing 31st February 2005 : Charge of Insubordination against yourself.

Reference is made to the above disciplinary proceeding, wherein you were charged with insubordination in that you either refused, failed or neglected  to carry out a reasonable and lawful instruction given by Mr. John Foreman, to whit that you were instructed to park your truck in the workshop for the night of 30th February 2005 because the normal parking area had already been locked up for the night by security staff. You refused, failed or neglected to carry out this instruction with the result that the battery of the truck was stolen during the night because you left the truck parked in the yard , incurring the company in expenses of R800-00 for a new battery. (the employee has been identified and the date, time , place and nature of the offense clearly stated) 

You were found guilty as charged by the Chairperson of the Disciplinary Hearing, and you must clearly understand that insubordination – including a failure, refusal or neglect to carry out a reasonable and lawful instruction is regarded as a serious offense and will not be tolerated. (the employee is told that this is considered to be a serious matter.)

You are hereby warned that should you commit a similar offense or should you commit any further act of misconduct during the validity period of this warning, further and more stringent disciplinary action will be invoked, which may include your dismissal.

You are required to refrain from committing any acts of misconduct during the course of your employment with this company. This warning is valid for a period of 6 months from date hereof. (the employee has been told that the offense is serious, that he must not commit acts of misconduct, that he must not commit a repeat offense, and that the warning is valid for 6 months. He has also been warned of what consequences may result should he fail to heed the requirements of this warning, namely that he could be dismissed) 

(The employee has also been told what action is required of him to rectify the situation.)

Yours Faithfully,

 Very Annoyed Boss.

I know and understand the contents of this warning. I have received a copy of this warning.

Employee signature ________________________   Date : ______________

Witness Signature : __________________________________-

The employee signs this to state that he understands the contents of the warning and that he has received a copy. He is not signing to say that he agrees with it – only that he understands it and has received a copy.

Should the employee refuse to sign, then hand him a copy in the presence of the witness, and the witness will certify on the file copy of the warning that a copy was handed to the employee.

Create an employee disciplinary hearing letter with simple guidance from Rocket Lawyer. Make sure you do things right before a disciplinary hearing. Try this.

Human Resources

disciplinary letters templates

You have the right to appeal against any disciplinary action your employer takes against you following a disciplinary meeting. You can do this if you feel that the action is wrong or unfair.

This page tells you more about how to appeal against a decision to take disciplinary action against you.

How should you appeal against your employer's decision?

When your employer writes to give you their decision, depending on the reason for the disciplinary action, they should set out:

  • what you did wrong and the likely consequences of further misconduct if the hearing was for the way you have behaved at work
  • what improvement they expect and within what period if the hearing was to take action about how well you do your job
  • what penalty they are imposing and, if appropriate, how long it will last
  • the deadline for appealing against the decision
  • how you should appeal.

If they don't tell you how to appeal when they inform you of their decision, you should look at your employer's policy to see what it says about appealing against their decision. If there is no policy or the policy doesn't say anything about appealing, you should write to your employer as soon as possible saying why you are appealing.

What can you appeal against?

Depending on what's happened, when you appeal against the decision you can:

  • Challenge the way the disciplinary action was taken against you. For example, if your employer did not follow their own disciplinary policy or the Acas Code of Practice.
  • Challenge the evidence on which your employer based their decision. For example, if they believed something to be true without evidence or without enough evidence to support it.
  • Challenge the decision your employer took. For example, if they have acted differently in the past in similar cases or the disciplinary action they're proposing is too harsh.
  • Give new evidence or reasons why disciplinary action shouldn't be taken. For example, you may want to point out your clean disciplinary record, work record and length of service, or explain that you need training or adjustments to your work to avoid the problem happening again.

When should you present your appeal

You shouldn't delay if you want to appeal against your employer's decision. If you wait too long, your employer may think you have accepted their decision. You should also be aware that there is a three month time limit for bringing an employment tribunal claim. You should not wait for the outcome of your appeal if you are close to the deadline for making a claim to an employment tribunal.


The Acas early conciliation process applies to most employment tribunal claims. It will affect the time limit for your claim. You must contact Acas to start the process before you can make a claim to an employment tribunal.

To find out more about early conciliation, see Using early conciliation.

How should you present your appeal

You should give your employer the reasons for your appeal in writing. You should give them enough time before the meeting to consider them.

Who will deal with your appeal?

The appeal process should be impartial. Your appeal should be dealt with by a manager who has not been involved in your case before and who is senior to the manager who made the decision.

If there is no senior or other manager at your place of work, and the company you work for has other branches or sites, it may be possible to bring in a manager from somewhere else within the company.

This may not be possible, for example, if you work for a small employer and there is no other manager. If you work for a small charity and there is no other manager, the board of trustees could hear the appeal.

If your appeal is heard by the same manager, they must deal with it fairly and not punish you because you're appealing. If your manager doesn't deal with your appeal fairly, you can appeal against this.

If they uphold a decision to dismiss you without dealing with your appeal fairly, you may be able to make a claim for unfair dismissal to an employment tribunal.

Will the appeal look at your whole case again?

Depending on the reasons for your appeal, the appeal meeting may be either:

  • a review of the disciplinary action against you with no further hearing, or
  • a re-hearing.

The appeal meeting will only look at your whole case again if it is a re-hearing.

Can you bring anyone to the appeal meeting with you?

You have the right to be accompanied to the appeal meeting. This is the same as for the disciplinary meeting.

When will you hear the outcome of your appeal?

Your employer should inform you of the outcome of your appeal in writing as soon as possible after the appeal hearing.

What can you do if you are still unhappy with the decision?

If you are still unhappy with the outcome of the disciplinary meeting, you may be able to make a claim to an employment tribunal. If you want to do this, you can ask your local Citizens Advice Bureau for advice on how to make a claim.

You must bring a claim to an employment tribunal within three months of when the act which you are complaining about happened. It's important to respond as quickly as possible. You can still make a claim even if your appeal has not yet been decided.

Next steps

Other useful information

So, we've teamed up with Clarkslegal to bring you both a customisable disciplinary policy template and a disciplinary hearing letter.

disciplinary letters templates
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