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How to Run Disciplinary Meeting

Disciplinary meetings can be daunting for employees. Facing allegations, navigating the process, and ensuring fair treatment are all essential aspects of these encounters. In New Zealand, such meetings carry significant weight in employment procedures, emphasizing the need for clarity, fairness, and adherence to proper structures. Let's delve into the purpose of these meetings and explore a suggested structure to ensure a productive and equitable exchange. 

Purpose of the Disciplinary Meeting 

The primary objective of a disciplinary meeting is to provide an opportunity for the employee to respond to allegations brought against them. It serves as a platform for the employee to present their side of the story, address concerns, and provide any mitigating circumstances or explanations relevant to the situation. The meeting also allows decision-makers to gather all pertinent information before reaching a conclusion, ensuring a fair and just outcome. 

Suggested Structure for the Meeting 

  • Introductions: Start the meeting by welcoming everyone present and introducing each participant and why they are there i.e. the decision makers vs support person. Clear introductions help alleviate any apprehension and ensure transparency. Designate one person as the primary speaker to maintain coherence, with others stepping in only when necessary. 

  • Purpose of Meeting: Clarify the meeting’s purpose, highlighting that it provides the employee with the chance to address the allegations.  Assure them that their perspective will be thoroughly evaluated before any determinations are reached, promoting trust and openness in the process. 

  • Confirm Support Person: Ensure the employee has a support person present (you would have determined this in the introductions), emphasising their role as a source of guidance and assistance. If the employee is attending alone, inquire if they have had the opportunity to seek advice or support and proceed only after confirmation. 

  • Review Information Provided: Confirm whether the employee has received and reviewed all relevant information related to the allegations. Address any questions or concerns they may have regarding the provided materials, ensuring they have a clear understanding of the situation. 

  • Reiterate Allegations: Outline the allegations, referring to the key points outlined in previous communications. Provide context and clarify any evidence supporting the allegations to ensure everyone is on the same page.  Clearly point out any negative impacts from the allegations.  

  • Listen Actively: Grant the employee the floor to share their perspective, concerns, and any mitigating factors. Practice active listening, asking clarifying questions when necessary, and ensuring their input is fully understood and acknowledged. 

  • Summarize Responses: Once the employee has shared their response, summarize their key points to ensure mutual understanding. Invite feedback to confirm the accuracy and completeness of the summary, fostering open communication and transparency. 

  • Next Steps: Inform the employee that their response will be carefully considered before any decisions are made. Provide a tentative timeline for reaching a conclusion and arrange for follow-up meetings or communications as needed. 

By adhering to this structured approach, disciplinary meetings can serve their intended purpose effectively, fostering fairness, transparency, and mutual respect throughout the process. Remember, the ultimate goal is to address concerns while upholding the principles of natural justice and procedural fairness. 


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