HOW EMPLOYEES SHOULD PREPARE FOR A DISCIPLINARY HEARING

A. INTRODUCTION

1. Many employees find themselves faced with the prospect of appearing at a disciplinary hearing. Unless they are members of a trade union that is present in the workplace, they find themselves without any professional assistance and have to rely on information gained before the hearing and at best the support of a colleague at the hearing itself.

2. A disciplinary hearing can be a make-or-break situation for many an employee. It can mean the difference between continued employment or searching the market for months, even years, looking for another job. It is not a process to be taken lightly. You must prepare for the hearing like a professional. When you enter the room in which the hearing is to take place, you must be thoroughly equipped for what you need to do. In a sense, what this article attempts to do is to make you your own lawyer to the extent that it is possible in such a short time.

3. Many employees have approached me for assistance in this situation. Their dilemma is that unless they have a trade union representative or colleague with experience of these things, they cannot have any expert representation. They are vulnerable – Daniel facing the lions. That is why I have prepared this guide to assist them in the absence of an attorney or labour expert at their side when appearing before a disciplinary hearing.

4. Please do not be put off by what you might think are a complicated set of requirements. I have simplified these requirements and, in their essence, the requirements themselves are not complicated. The hearing is not a high court trial and no one expects you to conduct yourself as a professional advocate. On the other hand it can only be to your benefit if you acquaint yourself with the way disciplinary hearings work. That will enable you to present your case in the strongest way you can.

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