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HR Tip – Informal warnings


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HRD & Payroll Solutions continues to bring HR Zone members a range of HR tips. This week’s tip looks at informal warnings.

Q: When I give an employee an informal warning, do they need to be accompanied? And should I confirm the warning in writing?

A: The employee has no legal entitlement to be accompanied at a disciplinary meeting unless it could result in a formal warning or dismissal. However, I suggest there would be no harm in allowing him or her to be accompanied by a work colleague since it would demonstrate that you have nothing to hide.

Indeed, I would insist upon it if the employee were in some way vulnerable, likely to be frightened or might have difficulty understanding the proceedings.

Do not confirm the warning in writing otherwise it becomes a formal warning, which is not what you intend.

Previous HR tips
Developing women managers
A promotion that failed
Fixing holidays
Holiday for temporary employees
A redundancy problem
Behaviour outside work
Suspension from work
Informing employees of new legislation
Deductions from wages
Children on site
Workplace affairs
Disabled workers
Attitude problems
Redundancy selection
Custom and practice
Working Bank holidays
Disciplinary and dismissal procedures
Time off work for funerals
Translating rules
Banning smoking at work
Burden of proof
Contracts of employment

One Response

  1. Informal or not informal
    The key here is whether this is really an informal warning or not. There was a case last year where the EAT determined that what had been called an “informal oral warning” was in fact a formal warning as “it was confirmed in writing and attached to their disciplinary record”, had a set time limit and could play a part in any subsequent formal disciplinary proceedings. The case was Ferenc-Batchelor v London Underground if you want the full details.

    So, if it truly is just an informal warning, don’t confirm it in writing and don’t make it part of their disciplinary record – although the manager could make a note of it for their own record.

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