Discipline and dismissal

Published on April 30, 2018   50 min

Other Talks in the Series: The Art and Practice of First Level Management

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Hello, my name is Stephen Taylor. Today I'm going to talk to you, about how and when it's sometimes necessary to use disciplinary approaches when managing people, and on occasion, to dismiss them from their jobs. This is always an unpleasant part of the management job. But it's nonetheless something that has to happen sometimes, and learning to do it well is thus important for all aspiring managers. This talk is part of a series on: first-level line management.
This is the agenda for today's talk. I'm going to start by introducing the subjects of discipline and dismissal; defining the terms and so on. I'm then going to get on to talk about how we can use discipline effectively as a tool of performance management. This is a question that has been the subject of a lot of debate, and I want to describe and discuss some of those debates with you. Thirdly we will go on to look at some of the legal questions, relating particularly to the dismissal of staff. Finally I'm going to come to some conclusions about these subjects.
Let's start with definitions of dismissal. Dismissal is obviously a very personal human thing. But at the end of the day, it is also a legal thing, because the employment relationship is a legal relationship, as well as being a social-economic relationship. Therefore we can define it in legal terms: it's when a contract of employment is terminated by the employer. In other words, the employer decides to bring the relationship to an end. Dismissal can take two main forms. We can dismiss somebody with notice. That means the number of weeks notice that's stated in their contract of employment; typically a week, or two weeks, a month, or whatever. Or in some situations, we can dismiss somebody without notice; that's what's called a summary dismissal. In either case, it has to be treated as a very serious decision, which has all kinds of potential consequences, for the individual concerned and that person's family. There are financial implications, there are future career implications, there may also be implications for somebody's self-confidence, and for their well-being. There are also of course, implications or potential implications for the employer - reputational implications in particular. People are not likely to want to go and work for an employer who is known to dismiss people very quickly, very easily, without good cause. There's also implications potentially for the attitudes of fellow employees and colleagues. Implications in terms of the trust in which managers are held. Implications for the culture of the organization, which have to be taken into account too.