The disciplinary process should be understood thoroughly before being undertaken by an employer as a dismissal or an action taken against an employee can be held to be unjustified on the basis of procedure alone. Any action taken or dismissal needs to be both procedurally and substantively (the reason for your decision) justified.

Remember that every decision by an employer in the context of discipline can be challenged by an employee through the personal grievance provisions under the Employment Relations Act 2000. It is therefore critical for employers to understand their statutory obligations of good faith and procedural fairness when managing disciplinary processes.

The touchstones for any employer should be their own policies and employment agreements. These documents should complement each other and set out the standards of conduct that are expected and the sanctions that may follow if those standards are breached.

If your disciplinary situation is particularly tricky or challenging in some way, or if you are unfamiliar with this area of employment law, then EMA would encourage you to seek professional advice at the outset, before commencing or progressing your disciplinary process. Get in touch with our Legal or Consulting team for professional advice on how best to manage these situations.

You can access our A-Z guide on discipline here.

You can access our eLearning on discipline, Managing the Disciplinary Process and Identifying Poor Performance, Misconduct and Absenteeism.

For expert assistance please contact us on 0800 300 362 or email adviceline@ema.co.nz.