If, during informal discussions about a disciplinary issue, it becomes apparent that the matter may be more serious than first envisaged, what steps should the employer take?

If, during informal discussions about a disciplinary issue, it becomes apparent that the matter may be more serious than first envisaged, the employer should terminate the informal proceedings and commence the formal disciplinary procedure. The employer must inform the employee that proceedings are now formal. The employer should carry out any necessary investigation before holding a formal disciplinary hearing with the employee. An investigatory meeting with the employee could follow immediately after the informal discussions, as long as the meeting is purely investigatory and will not result in disciplinary action. The employer should arrange for notes to be taken of the investigatory meeting. Following the investigation, the employer should invite the employee to a disciplinary meeting, at which he or she will have the right to be accompanied.