What should an employer take into account in deciding if, and what, disciplinary action is merited?

When considering what, if any, disciplinary sanction to apply, an employer should consider the circumstances as a whole, including:

  • the severity of the "offence";
  • any mitigating circumstances that explain or justify the conduct;
  • the capacity for improvement or the likelihood of the conduct being repeated;
  • the employee's level of seniority and experience;
  • whether the employee has a disciplinary record or this is his or her first "offence"; and
  • the company policy in relation to the particular circumstances and how similar situations have been dealt with in the past.