Procedure of Disciplinary Action in Industry - Industrial Relations Management

Disciplinary Procedure in Industrial Relations

The disciplinary procedure involves the following steps:

  1. Preliminary Investigation:
  2. First of all, a preliminary inquiry should be held to find out whether a prima facie case of misconduct exists.

  3. Issue of a Charge-sheet:
  4. Once the prima facie case of misconduct is established, charge sheet is issued to the employee. Charge sheet is merely a notice of the charge and provides the employee an opportunity to explain his conduct. Therefore, charge sheet is generally known as a show cause notice.

    In the charge sheet, each charge should be clearly specified. There should be a separate charge for each allegation and charge should not relate to any matter which has already been decided upon. The charges so framed should be communicated to the individual along with the statement of allegations on which the charges are based.

  5. Suspension Pending Enquiry:
  6. Depending on the gravity of charges, an employee may be suspended along with serving him the charge sheet. The various circumstances which may warrant suspension of an individual are:

    1. When disciplinary proceeding is pending or contemplated.
    2. When engaged in the activities prejudicial to the interest or security of the state.
    3. Where a case in respect of any criminal offence is under investigation, inquiry or trial.
    4. Where continuance in office will prejudice investigation/ inquiry/trial.
    5. When the presence of the employee in office is likely to affect discipline.
    6. When his continuous presence in office is against the wider public interest.
    7. Where a prima face case has been established as a result of criminal or departmental proceedings leading to the conviction, revival, dismissal, etc.
    8. In case of the following acts of misconduct:
      • Moral Turpitude
      • Corruption, embezzlement
      • Serious negligence in duty resulting in loss
      • Desertion of duty
      • Refusal or failure to carry out written orders

    According to the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946, the suspended worker is to be paid subsistence allowance equal to one-half of his wages for the first ninety days of suspension and three-fourths of the wages for the remaining period of suspensions, if the delay in the completion of disciplinary proceedings is not due to the worker’s own conduct.

  7. Notice of Enquiry:
  8. In case the worker admits the charge, in his reply to the charge sheet, without any qualification, the employer can go ahead in awarding punishment without further inquiry. But if the worker does not admit the charge and the charge merits major penalty, the employer must hold an enquiry to investigate into the charges. Proper and sufficient advance notice should be given to the employee indicating the date, time and venue of the enquiry so that the worker may prepare his case.

  9. Conduct of Enquiry:
  10. The enquiry should be conducted by an impartial and responsible officer. He should proceed in a proper manner and examine witnesses. Fair opportunity should be given to the worker to cross-examine the management witnesses.

  11. Recording the Findings:
  12. On the conclusion of the enquiry, the enquiry officer must record his findings and the reasons thereof. As far as possible, he should refrain from recommending punishment and leave it to the decision of the appropriate authority.

  13. Awarding Punishment:
  14. The management should decide the punishment purely on the basis of findings of the enquiry, past record of the worker and gravity of the misconduct.

  15. Communicating Punishment:
  16. The punishment awarded to the worker should be communicated to him in written and the earliest available opportunity. The letter of communication should contain reference to the charge sheet, the enquiry and the findings. The date from which the punishment is to be effective should also be mentioned.

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