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To Discipline Colleague?

(118 Posts)
Hesdeadjim Tue 28-Feb-17 09:29:49

Just need a reaction check really! I have generalized anxiety disorder so I'm not always confident my reactions to things are proportionate. When the below happened I was raging and I want to formally discipline, but I don't know if that's a bit much?

Some details changed to protect identities.

Yesterday one of my direct reports vanished from the office. No pre-arranged holiday, no meetings or anything in my calendar.

At 14:50ish (he vanished at 12) I got a text message saying in these words "By the way, I'm at a doctors appointment if you were wondering why I'm not at my desk"....

Is it just me or is he taking the absolute piss here?

Dr's appointment is fine as long as you let managers know in advance, but he didn't.

Unauthorized absence policy here:

"Any absence from the office that is not communicated properly is unauthorized absence and will be treated as a breach of contract."

That's pretty crystal cut isn't it?

My problem is, because it was a hospital appointment I don't know where I stand from a HR perspective. It wasn't an emergency and had been pre-arranged.

WIBU to take it through formal disciplinary or am I over reacting? Is this standard behavior or do I need to nip this in the bud?

LouKout Tue 28-Feb-17 09:32:29

Personally I would just have a chat and say next time he must arrange these things in advance and provide an appointment letter.

LouKout Tue 28-Feb-17 09:32:56

There may be a reason, ie he forgot and just remembered last minute

MrsDustyBusty Tue 28-Feb-17 09:34:12

I think going down the disciplinary route for a first offense is harsh. I'd have a chat making it clár that if it happens again, you'll have no option but to go that way.

FairNotFair Tue 28-Feb-17 09:34:51

Bit of an overreaction unless it's happened before.

TwitterQueen1 Tue 28-Feb-17 09:35:28

IMHO it would be an over-reaction to discipline him. And since it was pre-arranged I think you might find yourself under criticism.

Simply have a quiet word. Say you were worried about him, that it was unusual behaviour on his part and you didn't know what to do. Then say how important it is that he informs you beforehand of absences.

IamFriedSpam Tue 28-Feb-17 09:35:30

I would give him an informal warning. Refer him to the absence policy and let him know what he needs to do in the future.

LouKout Tue 28-Feb-17 09:35:34

I think you are taking it as a personal attack when it was probably an accident.

harderandharder2breathe Tue 28-Feb-17 09:36:16

Disciplinary would be harsh if there's no other issues but definitely a sit down and reminding that this is potentially a disciplinary issue and must not be repeated or you will go down the formal disciplinary route

TondelayaDellaVentamiglia Tue 28-Feb-17 09:40:21

He cannot possibly expect to vanish from his place of work without a by your leave....who would??
Did no one in the office know where he was? Did he ask for a message to be passed on, and someone dropped him in it? ...not that that makes it much better, but just upping and going is weird.

I think he needs to be told in no uncertain terms this is unacceptable and that any repeat will result in serious consequences.

TeenageCentaurMortificado Tue 28-Feb-17 09:42:27

I'd go with a file note. Formal yet informal at the same time. Stays on file for say 6-12 months. Can be used as evidence towards further disciplinary action in future if needed (within the file note timescales)

soupmaker Tue 28-Feb-17 09:43:36

I agree with pp that disciplinary action is an over reaction if this is a first offence.

You do need to have an informal discussion with him though. Explain that you were surprised he had't followed the procedures and give him a chance to explain why. Give him a copy of them so there can be no confusion next time. Email the procedure after your meeting so you have evidence of a) your chat with him, and b) that he has the procedure.

starfishmummy Tue 28-Feb-17 09:44:43

Is it possible that he had thought he would be back before lunchtime was over??
But I think just a chat and then remind him that he needs to let you know in future and provide appointment letters (if he can) - and maybe ask to be informed in writing.

Hesdeadjim Tue 28-Feb-17 09:44:57

Sorry should have mentioned, it's the second time he's done this. Last time he booked an afternoon off but didn't tell anyone. That time I asked him to always let me know in future.

Sososososo Tue 28-Feb-17 09:45:38

If it was out of character it could be something embarrassing for him that cropped up and he needed to go to the doctors straight away. Or he could have had diarrhoea.

Ask him. You are overthinking this.

NeedMoreSleepOrSugar Tue 28-Feb-17 09:45:57

I'd speak to him to find out what happened - why did he not speak to you as he is required to do (and is basic manners anyway). It may be that there is a reasonable explanation. If not, I'd have a very, very stern talk with him and leave him in no doubt that next time I'd be enforcing the hr policy

LaVacheKiri Tue 28-Feb-17 09:46:07

I agree it's a bit extreme to discipline. I would say a warning as well and leave a note on his file so you have a record of it if he does it again.

HermioneJeanGranger Tue 28-Feb-17 09:48:14

I don't get it. How did he book it off if nobody knew about it? Or do you mean he just left at lunchtime without telling anyone?

Hesdeadjim Tue 28-Feb-17 09:48:45

TondelayaDellaVentamiglia no he told no one, just vanished. I have a large team so didn't notice he'd gone immediately but then someone asked me where he was and I didn't have an answer... mortified blush

soupmaker Tue 28-Feb-17 09:49:57

So it's a second offence. So you need to remind him about your previous chat and explain if there is a next time he lays himself open to the possibility of action being taken. Put that in the email you send with the copy of the procedure. You do though need to give him a chance to explain why he did this again.

Hesdeadjim Tue 28-Feb-17 09:50:00

Sososososo I know what the medical appointment was for, it's something I've given him time off for without question once every couple of weeks for the last 3 months.

sonyaya Tue 28-Feb-17 09:50:17

Formal disciplinary proceedings may be OTT but a written letter on his file is probably warranted because

A) he didn't tell you
B) he's done this before
C) his glib and unapologetic text suggests he sees no problem.

Make sure you meet with him and hear his side of the story, and make clear not disciplinary action. Do you have HR to support you?

Topuptheglass Tue 28-Feb-17 09:50:37

In my line of work we need approval from our line manager.

It's never a problem but we always need to let him know.

This wouldn't go down well in my workplace at all.

rightsofwomen Tue 28-Feb-17 09:50:45

My main issue here is that you are asking strangers on the internet how to manage your staff.

I'd be bloody furious is my manager was discussing my behaviour and asking for advice on Mumsnet.

I think you need more help with your anxiety disorder so that you are not questioning your management skills.

harderandharder2breathe Tue 28-Feb-17 09:51:31

How did he book it off without anyone knowing? That suggests issues with the system of booking leave tbh.

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