As an HRD Manager what steps you will initiate before dismissing a workman found guilty of misconduct where there is the presence of a strong employees union.
Union or no union, any employee at any level within an organization, should not be spared for misconduct and appropriate action should be taken as per the organization’s policies and principles. Having said that the employee in question should be given ample scope, support and assistance to defend his or her case.
Upon knowledge of such incidence with a worker, the HRD manager,
1. Check with the file of the worker, the details of such as the date of association and other relevant information. 2. He has to check whether it’s a case of habitual misconduct or a gross misconduct. 3. In case of habitual misconduct he has to gather the information of the previous incidences, actions taken and remedial corrections on part of the worker, if any. 4. Habitual misconducts include late coming, absenteeism; taking frequent breaks etc. the worker and the supervisor should be sensitized on the gravity of the misconduct and corrective course suggested.
5. In case of a grave misconduct, the worker should be called in and asked to give an explanation. 6. The case has to be briefed to him in detail and he should be asked to present his side of the story. 7. The HRD Manager has to ensure beforehand that all details regarding the case are with him and he is through them thoroughly before sitting with the worker. 8. After the worker has put his case, the manager has to come to a conclusion whether there is a case in the first place. When evidence of misconduct is apparent, he should seek whether the worker accepts the charges. 9. There could be three consequences:
a. the worker accepts the charges
b. the worker partially accepts the charges
c. the worker still denies misconduct.
10. When the worker has accepted having done misconduct, appropriate disciplinary action should be initiated as per the policies of the establishment. 11. The same needs to be intimated to the union.
12. Any further interference on part of the union becomes wrong and chance are that no such interference will take place once the worker has agreed in writing of the misconduct. 13. When the worker has accepted only some of the charges, the HRD manager ahs to establish whether the charges accepted amount to any substantial punishment or not. 14. Show cause notice needs to be issued to the worker and appropriate action taken. Union should be intimated of the same.
15. In case of non acceptance and partial acceptance to other than grave issues, a domestic inquiry should be initiated using a designated internal investigating officer. 16. When the report of the internal investigation substantiates the misconduct, the union needs to be informed and taken into confidence. 17. When there are chances of resistance from the union, the HRD manager should sit with the representative of union and win his confidence. One can use lines such as, “this time he has done this with the establishment, next time he may as well ruin the union reputation”.
18. Post union’s confidence appropriate action should be taken. 19. In case of disagreement and incorrect interference and influence by the union, the case should be taken to a tribunal or labour court. 20. In the state of Tamil Nadu, a worker found guilty of misconduct should be given a Final Show Cause Notice, after the report of the internal inquiry. 21. Disciplinary action may, depending on the gravity of the issue, be warning, suspension for a maximum period of 4 days or dismissal. 22. When the worker in question is an office bearer of the union, the relevant provisions of the Industrial Disputes Act should be referred to and adhered.