In a recent case an employer was found to have conducted an unreasonable disciplinary process because it took into account District Court criminal proceedings when disciplining a staff member.

The Employment Relations Authority found that because the District Court had suppressed details of the criminal case, the employer could not rely on notes taken by one of its representatives at the hearing.

The Authority looked especially at the reasons for the Suppression Order, which included the effect of the criminal proceedings on the employee’s employment.

Because the District Court Judge made the order to protect the employee’s employment, it was inappropriate for the employer to take notes of the criminal proceedings into account during its disciplinary process.

The employer was also criticized for taking over four months to conclude its disciplinary investigation.

Where an employee’s actions are criminal, and also a breach of the employer’s code of conduct, it is important that employers address matters promptly and, if in doubt, take advice on what can and cannot be taken into account.