A difficult member of staff! ..can we take disciplinary action?

This morning a member of our staff reported for work wearing a police tagging device! He is very blasé about this and has been showing it to his work colleagues. He has not told his supervisor officially about this, however it is not stopping him from attending or completing his work. Management are uncomfortable about this situation and we would really like to get rid of him. What would you advise that we do?


Oh dear – you are in a very unusual situation indeed. Well firstly as he has made it public knowledge that he has been tagged, and as this is normally done as an alternative to incarceration, it would be perfectly reasonable as his employer to satisfy yourselves that what he has done will not have any effect on his work, or his relationship with you as his employer. You should therefore arrange to meet with him quickly to investigate the situation; he will be entitled to be accompanied by a work colleague or trade union representative if he so wishes.

At this meeting you will be asking him what he has done to merit being tagged, in order to assess what impact if any this will have on your employment relationship with him. You will then have to come to a view as to whether his alleged misdemeanour has a direct impact on his employment with you, and whether you have lost confidence in him as your employee to fulfil his employment contract with you.

If you feel his situation has no impact on his ability to fulfil his contract of employment and you are happy to have him as your employee, you need do no more. However if the crime he has committed has a material impact on his job role e.g. he has been convicted of a crime related to fraud and he works in a position of trust in your company finance department, then you may wish to consider whether this can continue. In these circumstances, you should inform him that you wish to meet him again to further consider his position under your Company’s disciplinary procedure and outline your concerns to him in writing setting up the hearing and again giving him the right to be represented.

At the hearing you need to take a balanced and reasonable view as to whether what he has done undermines your trust in him to do his substantive job. If so you should consider whether there are other jobs in your organisation he could undertake commensurate with your revised trust in him. If there is not it may be appropriate to bring his contract of employment with you to an end. In terms of fair reasons for dismissal this would relate to any other ‘substantial reason’ (see this answer). The acid test at an Employment Tribunal would be how reasonably you have acted under the circumstances.

Article reviewed April 2018

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