There are many reasons why employees may face disciplinary action. In some cases boredom or resentment causes people to act differently from normal. Other times, the detrimental act is more planned. Being invited to a disciplinary meeting is challenging but can be beneficial, providing the employer behaves fairly.
This is often the problem that employees face. They feel that they have been unfairly treated and reprimanded, often with no apparent avenue open to them. It is worth noting that if you feel unfairly treated you should contact a reputable unfair dismissal lawyer and discuss the situation. You don’t have to be fired to do this. In fact, the right lawyer can even help you to avoid job loss.
Of course, the law is complex and one area that can be difficult to understand is aggravating factors.
What Are Aggravating Factors?
When an employee is being disciplined all the facts in the case need to be reviewed. This includes whether the behaviour is typical for the person or whether they have been supported enough in their role.
Some factors will help the employee receive a favourable outcome, others lean toward an unfavourable outcome. Anything that makes the outcome harsher can be considered an aggravating factor.
For example, an employee that has been accused of misconduct multiple times and has worked for the company for many years should know better. Because of past experiences, the employer can refer to these as aggravating factors and impose a harsher punishment than may seem fair.
Dealing With Aggravating Factors
To an employee, it is likely to seem like unfair treatment. After all, if they have always received the same response for their minor misconducts then why is the employer suddenly being harsher?
In order to protest the issue, it is necessary to get a mediator. Their role is to assess the reasons for a specific punishment and evaluate each reason, specifically the role it played in deciding punishment. It can help to have an unfair dismissal lawyer argue your case and you’ll certainly need one if the issue has resulted in job loss.
It’s important to note that past experience is important. In the majority of cases a lack of improper behaviour before means only a low-level punishment should be issued.
Equally, the role of an employee makes a difference. The more responsibility they have the harsher the punishment is likely to be, simply because they should know better.
The Bottom Line
But, regardless of mitigating or aggravating factors, the punishment must be appropriate for the action. If an employer gets carried away and inflicts an excessively strict punishment then they can be held liable by the mediator or the court.
In this instance, the employee would be entitled to reinstatement in the workplace and compensation for the mental and physical effects of the ordeal.
It can be challenging to decide what is relevant to a disciplinary and how to deal with all the information fairly, that’s why it is always best to get expert assistance, regardless of whether you’re the employer or the employee.