How to follow up from a disciplinary hearing

Employer meeting with an employee

Navigating the rough waters of disciplinary outcomes is no small task, especially for a small business where each decision can have a ripple effect.

We all know that disciplinary hearings are a necessary part of running a business, but they can often leave you feeling like you’re walking a tightrope. Making the right decision can be challenging, with different stages to consider.

Has all reasonable evidence been gathered? What do you genuinely believe should be the outcome, and is this a reasonable belief? And are there any mitigating factors you need to take into account? These questions need to be considered at each stage of the disciplinary decision-making process, from the reasonable investigation to the disciplinary hearing itself, and then the opportunity to appeal.

One critical piece of this puzzle is the disciplinary hearing outcome letter. This not only helps maintain transparency and fairness but shows the thought process behind the decision, helps your employee understand the reasons for the decision, and sets out the appeal process.

If not managed properly, mishandling disciplinary outcomes could have serious implications for your business. If the decision is too harsh, it could lead to appeals, grievances or even resignations and claims of constructive dismissal. If the decision is too lenient, your employee might not improve and develop as you need them to, and this could set a bad precedent for the future.

So, in this article, we’ll guide you through:

  • the adjournment period
  • deciding your disciplinary hearing outcome
  • crafting the perfect disciplinary outcome letter
  • the benefits and drawbacks of using disciplinary outcome letter templates.

It’s also worth noting that, while knowing all this is really important for a business owner, you may not want to actually conduct the hearing yourself. It’s a good idea to have different people in your business conducting each stage of the disciplinary process and perhaps hold yourself back for any appeal.

Anyway, with that said, let’s dive right in!


The adjournment period: things to think about

When a disciplinary hearing concludes, it’s time for the adjournment period. This time allows for reflection and decision-making. There’s no specific disciplinary hearing outcome time frame, but you should make sure it’s definitely a reasonable amount of time and doesn’t just delay you giving your decision.

It’s always good to adjourn to show that you’ve properly considered all the evidence and submissions and haven’t decided on a disciplinary hearing outcome before the process begins.

During this period, you should:

  • consider all the evidence and the submissions
  • read through the notes of the hearing again
  • think about whether you need to follow up on any of the defence points put forward – e.g. if a particular email was sent as claimed.

Also be open to any new information that comes to light, which may impact your decision. If your employee hasn’t had a chance to respond to this new information, then you need to reconvene the hearing and ask for their comments.


Deciding your disciplinary hearing outcome

So, you’ve gathered all the facts, held the disciplinary hearing, and carefully considered everything during the adjournment period. Now it’s decision time. While there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach, consider the following when deciding the disciplinary hearing outcome:

  • the findings from the investigation and any additional meetings
  • ensuring a reasonable and fair judgment
  • how similar cases have been handled in your workplace

Remember, fairness and consistency are key to maintaining trust within your team.


Our advice for writing a disciplinary outcome letter

When communicating the disciplinary hearing outcome, clarity and accuracy are really important. Your disciplinary outcome letter should not leave room for misinterpretations. Include the following:

  • Who was in the hearing?
  • Separate out and state each allegation. These should be the same as those considered in the investigation hearing.
  • Under each allegation, set out what submissions your employee put forward, whether there were any mitigating circumstances, and what the conclusion is on that allegation.
  • Then set out the sanction – e.g. a written warning and how long this will last.
  • Also include the right to appeal.

Should I use a disciplinary outcome letter template?

While using a disciplinary outcome letter template might seem like a convenient option, it comes with its own set of pros and cons.


  • provide a good starting point
  • helps you get the critical points in there


  • they might lack personalisation
  • they could seem impersonal or generic to the employee
  • you could miss key details about your specific case

Balancing between using a template and adding a personal touch is key here. We always use disciplinary outcome letter templates, but they’re backed up by the knowledge of our in-house HR professionals and solicitors.


HR and Employment Law services to help your business

Dealing with disciplinary outcomes can be complex and emotionally charged, which is hard enough at the best of times, but even harder when you’re focusing on running a business at the same time. But you also can’t afford to go about it the wrong way. That’s why it’s a good idea to have some friendly HR & Employment law experts by your side who know your business and want to help you get on with what you do best.

With our all-in-one HR & Employment Law package, you get 24/7, financially-backed advice from qualified HR professionals and employment lawyers, access to a wide library of the must-have HR documentation, an HR management platform (called Atlas) to sort your people and paperwork, and optional on-site support with tricky procedures like disciplinaries.

This way, you can focus on what you do best, safe in the knowledge we’ve got your back. Contact us today! Simply call 0345 844 1111 or fill in the form on this page to chat about how we can help your business.

Want to read more? 

If you’ve still got some questions about disciplinary hearing outcomes or anything else disciplinaries, check out these handy resources.

Taking effective disciplinary minutes

How to hold a disciplinary meeting

Disciplinary processes: our top three tips

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