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How to deal with the situation when an employee fails to attend a meeting under a disciplinary process

Author: Chris Bevan


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  • Be aware that one of the elements of a fair disciplinary procedure is that employees should have an opportunity to put their case.
  • Contact the employee and find out their reasons for failing to attend the disciplinary meeting.
  • Rearrange the meeting at least once, and possibly more than once depending on the employee's reasons for non-attendance.
  • If the failure to attend is due to short-term illness, postpone the meeting until the employee is well enough to attend.
  • Obtain medical evidence on the employee's fitness to attend a disciplinary meeting, if necessary.
  • Recognise that there will be very limited circumstances in which it will be reasonable to go ahead with the meeting in the employee's absence if this is due to illness.
  • Consider whether or not there are reasonable adjustments that should be made to the meeting process to prevent a disabled employee from being put at a disadvantage.
  • Ensure that the employee has sufficient time to prepare for the meeting.
  • Be aware of the duty to reschedule a disciplinary meeting if the employee's companion is unavailable.
  • Address any concerns that the employee has about potential procedural unfairness.
  • Arrange the meeting for a time during the employee's working hours and accommodate their preferences as to the venue, if reasonable.
  • When informing the employee of a rearranged disciplinary meeting, explain that the meeting may go ahead and a decision may be taken in their absence if they again fail to attend.
  • If the employee persistently fails to attend a disciplinary meeting without good reason, make the decision in their absence, on the evidence available.