Disciplinary proceedings

Disciplinary proceedings

If you are accused of doing something wrong at work, or your work performance is questioned, your employer is entitled to invoke the Disciplinary Procedure in your enterprise agreement.

In considering whether you should be disciplined, the employer must consider whether there was a valid reason arising from the investigation; whether you knew or ought to have known that the conduct was below acceptable standards; and any explanation you give relating to the conduct.

What if the employer says the complaint is confidential and won’t provide it to me?

While the clause is silent on this, it does require the employer to provide to you all the relevant material the employer has relating to the allegation. Consequently the employer could choose to keep it confidential, but can’t then use that confidential information to discipline you.

What happens if I am disciplined?

You could be counselled, which is an informal discussion where expectations are explained so that you know what is required of you to avoid formal disciplinary action.  You could also receive a ‘first warning’ that is recorded on your file. If you do a similar thing within 12 months, you could then receive a second warning, this time in writing. If you repeat that behaviour within 18 months you can be given a final warning – which means that next time that conduct occurs you can be dismissed.

Can I get a ‘first and final’ warning?

Yes, but only for serious misconduct. Serious misconduct includes things like assault, harassment and theft. Under the law, an employer could instantly dismiss you, but may choose to exercise the final warning option.

What if I don’t think I got a fair hearing?

At any stage the AMNF can notify a dispute to Fair Work Australia to seek their assistance to ensure the employer complies.

What about in the private sector?

Other agreements contain different clauses with different requirements, although the principles above generally apply.