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Employee Discipline & Domestic Enquiry

What is Discipline?
Discipline means orderliness, obedience, and maintenance of proper subordination among employees and a check or a restraint on the liberty of individual. Discipline implies a state of order in an organization.

Discipline isAppreciation of the hierarchical superiorsubordinate- relationship. Adherence to established norms and regulations. Correction of improper conduct. A force leading to the observance of rules and regulations. An attitude of the mind. A product of culture and environment.

Negative Discipline
It involves force or an outward influence. It is the traditional aspect of discipline and is identified with ensuring that subordinates adhere strictly to rules, and punishment is meted out in the event of disobedience or indiscipline. It is the fear of punishment that works as a deterrent in the mind of the subordinate.

Positive Discipline
Comply with the rules not from the fear of punishment, but from the desire to cooperate in achieving the common goal. Willingness to comply is most important. Promotes emotional satisfaction instead of emotional conflict. Reduces need for formal authority. Help achieve both individual needs of the subordinates and organizational goals. Motivate subordinate to work with zeal and assumes a certain degree of self discipline.


Indiscipline refers to the absence of discipline. Non conformity to formal and informal rules and regulations. Affect the morale, involvement and motivation of subordinates. Leads to chaos, confusion and reduces the efficiency of the organization. Leads to strikes, go slows and absenteeism, resulting in loss of production, profits and wages.

The Process of Holding Domestic Enquiry

Issue and service of a charge-sheet calling upon the employee to submit an explanation. Consideration of the explanation. Giving notice of an enquiry into the charges in case of unsatisfactory explanation. Suspension with or without pay, pending an enquiry (if needed). Enquiry into the chargei) deciding as to who would conduct ii) deciding as how to proceed iii) deciding about the order of examining witnesses. Recording of findings by the enquiry officer. Punishment-decision. Communication of punishment.

Issue of Charge-sheet

The charge sheet should be properly worded. Date, time and place of commission and other relevant details should be given while stating the offence. The wording of the charges should be in consonance with the wording of the standing orders of a firm. The proposed punishment may be mentioned. It should call upon the worker to submit an explanation in writing within a specified time or date. The charge-sheet should be issued under the signature of the disciplinary authority and not of the enquiry officer. The charge sheet should be properly served and there should be strict proof of issue and delivery.

Consideration of the explanation. The workman receiving the charge-sheet may Submit his explanation admitting the charge and ask for leniency. Submit his explanation refusing the chargesheet. Apply for an extension of time for submitting an explanation. Fail to submit an explanation, as a result, the employer may follow further proceedings of enquiry.

Notice of an enquiry

The enquiry should normally be held within a reasonable time of receiving the explanation. Proper and sufficient notice should be given indicating the date, time and venue of the enquiry and name of the enquiry officer.

Suspension with or without pay, pending an enquiry Where the nature of misconduct is grave and serious and if it is in the interest of the security and safety and maintenance of good order and discipline in the establishment, the worker may be suspended with or without pay till disciplinary proceedings are completed.

Conduct of the Enquiry

Appointment of the enquiry officer Request for Adjournment Nominee of the accused workman Interpreter Order of examination of witness Ex parte enquiry

Findings of the enquiry officer

By applying his mind to all the facts that emerged at the enquiry, the enquiry officer should decide whether the charges made are valid or not along with reasons for his findings. He may or may not recommend punishment. As far as possible he should refrain from awarding punishment and leave it to the decision of the appropriate authority.

Awarding of punishment

This is management task and punishment awarded should be based on the findings of the enquiry and the past record of the employee. The gravity of the misconduct should be taken into account.

Communication of punishment The letter communicating the punishment should contain Reference to the letter of charge issued to the employee. Reference to the enquiry. Reference to the findings of the enquiry. Decision whether to punish or not. Date from which the punishment is to be effective.