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Annie Hayes

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HR Tip: The burden of proof in workplace discipline

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These questions are being answered by Learn HR, a market leader in the provision of HR and payroll training and nationally-recognised professional qualifications.


Question: Can we dismiss an employee if we do not have absolute proof of his guilt?

HR Tip: You can but must take great care. In a criminal court the judge or jury has to find the accused guilty "beyond all reasonable doubt", but in the workplace you may make your decision on the basis of "the balance of probability", which is a lighter burden.

To do this:

  • Carry out a thorough investigation
  • Conduct a formal disciplinary interview
  • Carefully consider all the evidence
  • Decide what you believe to be true
  • Check back on the evidence to confirm that the basis of your belief is sound
  • If it is, go with that belief

View all our HR tips:

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Annie Hayes

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