If you are managing absence from a capability angle rather than conduct – non disputed certificated medical absence only, you still have to issue formal warnings of dismissal – VW, WW etc but when inviting person to discuss at meetings should you entitle it a disciplinary hearing or just as a meeting to discuss absence (either way offering representation of course).

The reason for my asking is that I feel discipline indicates punishment and therefore more conduct than capability. I asked on the CIPD legal advice line and they said I did not have to call it a disc hearing. With the most recent lady I dealt with I therefore did not call it this in the letter but then at the meeting even though her and her rep both admitted that they were fully aware that the outcome of the meeting could have been a formal warning of some description (it was a VW) they said if they had known it was a ‘disciplinary’ (as they then percieved it to be upon receipt of warning) they would have prepared differently. My mind is now a bit of a fuzz on this issue so any comments would be very welcome indeed!

jennifer fotheringham

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