Non Attendance at Disciplinary Hearings – ask Occ Health opinion

Disciplinary Hearings – ask Occ Health

Often employees claim they are unable to attend formal meetings e.g. disciplinary‚ capability‚ grievance etc., because of ill-health. 

Most OH recommend attending if the employee:

  • Understands the issue being addressed
  • Is able to distinguish right from wrong
  • Can instruct a representative to represent their interests
  • Comprehends and is able to follow the proceedings‚ if necessary with extra time and written explanation

Author’s Opinion:

Many employees find disciplinary hearings daunting; but if someone already has a mental health problem, then the added stress of attending an interview where they could lose their job is overwhelming.  This is mainly due to the fact that they go over and over in their mind, details of the incident in question and justifying their actions. Remembering, wondering what will happen?  

A hearing can be especially harrowing if there are issues of bullying or harassment, but any hearing is uncomfortable – in fact, the word ‘hearing’ bring up a vision of courts and prisons so no wonder we all get nervous. Even seasoned HR and Managers.

Fitness to Attend a Disciplinary

Occupational Health professionals can assess fitness to attend a hearing using the old criteria from the SOM. One way that some deal with the anxiety and dread is to avoid the hearing; many go to the GP for a fit note (formerly called the sick note) and are signed off work.  However, this is not recommended as prolonging the process merely increases the stress and the issue remains unresolved. 

If you can find the courage, ALWAYS attend a disciplinary hearing as soon as possible – in fact, why not suggest an earlier date?  That way you can deal with the situation and move on; it is in everyone’s best interests to get issues resolved quickly.  

Have you ever been to a disciplinary hearing? What helped you during the ordeal?

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