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Does a verbal warning need to be given before a written one, by law?

(12 Posts)
morninggirl Thu 14-Aug-08 22:36:55

if so, do i need to acknowledge or be made known that a verbal warning has been or is being given, would i need to sign anything?


callmeovercautious Thu 14-Aug-08 22:48:08

A "verbal warning" does not really exist in law anymore (if it ever did).

Have you been to a disciplinary meeting and did you get letters before and after?

More detail from you would help me to help you.

morninggirl Thu 14-Aug-08 22:54:28

no, i haven't been to a meeting or any letters before.

i work part time. i admit to missing a good amount of time from around march - late may this year due to illness/sickness on my son's behalf, a figure of days i have not been given. but it was made known to me today that i will be receiving a letter of discipline from the head office (via my local head of admin). i know my explainations that my separated husband will not take time off his job to care for his son while ill and having no other family/friends local mean nil in the eyes on an admin office, but i am wondering (and having been) searching a lot tonight on what my rights are... apparently this letter is to be given to me tomorrow....

morninggirl Thu 14-Aug-08 22:56:54

(although supposedly, at the end of the day, it's just a job, and perhaps i am taking it all a bit too personally.)
i know i'm a good hard worker when push comes to shove.... it's just a shame, really.

ILiveinhope Thu 14-Aug-08 23:04:01


Yes they can ask you to attend an interview over absence.

The letter must be given 3 days before the interview.

The interview should be heard by management and an HR representative (if your company is big enough). You must be asked if you want to take somebody into the interview with you. Either a fellow employee or an Accredited Union Representative.

I would ask for the interview to be taped so that you can obtain a written transcroipt can be obtained if you wish to appeal any decision made.

They cannot sack you at the meeting, but they can warn you over excessive absence, if it has been over 5 days unpaid leave.

They should take the meeting in a conciliatory manner - ie what can they do to help you to be at work.

I am the unoin rep at work and deal with this a lot, any more questions just ask smile

callmeovercautious Thu 14-Aug-08 23:35:49

Iliveinhope - unfortunately I think you are quoting from your companies policies not from Statute. The 5 days thing sounds like Policy as it is not legislation.

You can ask for an interview to be taped but I don't know any HR professional who would agree to that. A meeting should indeed be about how they can help but it may still lead to a warning.

Morninggirl - Wait until you get the letter then come back to us. Hopefully it is an invite to a disciplinary hearing and we can help you prepare for it. I will check in tomorrow, try not to worry smile

ILiveinhope Thu 14-Aug-08 23:45:56

I think that the 3 day written notice rule is in statute, but I shall check tommorow coz my books are there.

I shall also check about the taping - I think (and it is late) that you can request this and they have to comply.

MG - don't worry this is the only the first step in a long line of things that they have to do before they could sack you!

ILiveinhope Thu 14-Aug-08 23:54:37


Just looked at your profile and see that you ar in HR.

I am very very lucky to have a good relationship with my HR team. And I always can speak to them about anyrhing. It has always been the company policy to tape meetings, and I was led to believe at a DDA course I was on, that this could always be requested.

I don't have my employment law book at home. And if you are right (and apologies to MG if I am wrong, why doesn't your HR dept tape the meetings. Becasue I think that they probably cover a good HR manager better than they cover an employee.

I am not trying to be convrentasional (sp) tis late. Just interested.

ILiveinhope Thu 14-Aug-08 23:58:34


Just looked at my previous post, and you were talking about 5 days unpaid leave.

I think that all employees with a child under 5, are entitled to 5 days emergency leave without pay.

Sorry for misunderstanding your first post to me

flowerybeanbag Fri 15-Aug-08 09:44:04

I've never taped a meeting in my life, or had it requested. I would always have someone taking notes, would advise the employee in question to either take notes or have their accompanying union rep or colleague do so, and then I would ensure that the official notes of the meeting were agreed by the employee in question.

There is no limit of 5 days or any other limit to the amount of unpaid emergency dependents' leave a parent can take for a child, see workingfamilies factsheet here, so you shouldn't be disciplined for that if that's what you are doing.

But if it's illness you can't just take the duration of the illness off. Emergency leave is one or two days maximum so if your child is ill longer than that you are expected to use those days to sort out alternative childcare arrangements.

In terms of the basic minimum disciplinary procedure, the only things actually written down in law is the statutory disciplinary procedure which consists of 3 steps

-a statement in writing of what it is the employee is alleged to have done
-a meeting to discuss the situation, and
-the right of appeal

there is new legislation due next year which will remove these but at the moment they are the only steps that are required by law.

In terms of good practice, that's slightly different. Most company policies would go over and above the statutory basic procedure, but they don't actually have to. Neither is it stated anywhere who should hear a disciplinary or that it can be taped. Although if there is a disability issue which means someone would be disadvantaged by not having it taped, then that would be a reasonable request. Otherwise no.

Ilive you sound very knowledgeable about the policies and practices where you work, and that's probably all you need as a union rep in one workplace, but I do get concerned when people come on here saying an employer 'must' do this and that, when that's not the case. Several times I've seen people run back to their manager because someone has said something along those lines on here, and demanded a right which they don't have.

morninggirl sorry this has taken the conversation away from your problem. As callme says, read the letter and see what it says, and if you are concerned or want to discuss what it says and what it means, do come back.

Have a read of the link about emergency dependents' leave. Directgov site is down currently which I'd normally link to but the workingfamilies factsheet on time off which I've linked to is good as well.

The other important thing to check is that your employer has followed their own policy correctly, so have a read of that if you can as well.

flowerybeanbag Fri 15-Aug-08 10:26:21

Directgov is back up again, see here about disciplinary procedures - by law an employer must follow the statutory minimum, in terms of good practice they must act 'reasonably' about things like timing to respond and that stuff, and a tribunal would look at if there was a claim for unfair dismissal or discrimination.

Here about emergency leave for dependents.

callmeovercautious Fri 15-Aug-08 21:50:06

morninggirl - how did you get on? Are you OK? What did the letter say?

Hello Flowery - will call you Monday smile I have good news.

Ilive - I wasn't trying to dismiss your advice. I hope you did not take me the wrong way smile As flowery says many people can confuse Company policy with legislation. Most good Companies will enhance on the basic legislation to meet "Best Practice". You are right you can ask for a converstion to be taped but I was taught by my employment law tutor never to agree. Perhaps that is old fashioned but I have refused twice and never had a problem from the 2 cases. You have to see it from the other persons point of view - not the company point of view. Honestly if I knew I was being taped I would be very nervous and make mistakes. As HR I am there to take notes and clarify legal points for the employee. The Manager usually conducts the meeting as it is he/she that has the problem. Being taped would distract me as I would be on my guard. Believe it or not I am usually neutral in these meetings.

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