Professional Staff Disciplinary Procedures


All professional staff members at the University.


To provide the disciplinary procedures for professional staff.


1. Human resources must be contacted in the first instance.

2. The law requires that there be good grounds to discipline and/or dismiss and that it is carried out in a procedurally fair manner.

3. The principles of natural justice require the following:

a. identification of unacceptable conduct/performance and advice of such to the staff member

b. an opportunity for the staff member to explain the alleged conduct/performance

c. an opportunity within a specified time frame for the staff member to correct the conduct/performance, with the assistance and support of the employer (except in the case of serious misconduct or after a final written warning)

d. that the employer act fairly toward the staff member

Informal meeting and outcome

4. Where there is conduct or performance that is of concern to a manager, the manager is encouraged to raise these concerns in the context of an informal meeting wherever that is appropriate. The manager may wish to seek the advice of human resources (HR) prior to such a meeting.

5. Normally such a meeting is held between the manager and the staff member alone, however either or both the manager and the staff member may adjourn such a meeting and seek the assistance of human resources and/or a union representative respectively.

6. The outcome of any informal meeting with a staff member may include any justifiable outcome, including one or more of the following according to the circumstances:

  • training
  • counselling
  • an instruction to improve conduct or performance

7. An informal meeting does not constitute a disciplinary meeting under the terms of this procedure though any important requirements should be provided clearly by the manager to the staff member in writing.

Disciplinary meeting outcome

8. Where the conduct/performance is sufficiently serious or repeated, then a disciplinary meeting may be warranted. The outcome of any disciplinary meeting may include any justifiable outcome, including one or more of the following according to the circumstances:

  • training
  • counselling
  • an instruction to improve conduct or performance
  • a formal warning
  • a final written warning
  • dismissal

9. In certain circumstances, demotion, redeployment or other alternatives may be considered. Where a warning or dismissal is being considered, the following guidelines must be taken into account:

Formal warning

A formal warning may be warranted in situations of any:

  • unsatisfactory performance or
  • misconduct (other than serious misconduct)

Final written warning

A final written warning may be warranted in situations of any:

  • misconduct that follows a formal warning
  • unsatisfactory performance after a formal warning
  • serious misconduct that might justify dismissal, but where a "second chance" is warranted


Dismissal may be warranted in situations of any:

  • misconduct that follows a final written warning
  • continued unsatisfactory performance following a final written warning
  • serious misconduct

10. As an alternative to dismissal, the employer may consider:

  • demotion
  • redeployment
  • such other action as may be appropriate in the circumstances

Disciplinary meetings procedures

11. The following principles shall be observed in the case of any meeting that may result in a warning or dismissal for cause.

12. Prior to any disciplinary meeting:

  • the employer must investigate the facts. The procedure for investigating facts may include an “Informal Meeting” in accordance with the procedure above. The employer will then consider the facts
  • where the employer then considers that there is a need to proceed to a disciplinary meeting, those procedures will be initiated
  • the staff member will be advised of the brief reason(s) for the meeting, and of the right to seek representation at any disciplinary meeting

13. At any disciplinary meeting:

  • a human resources representative should be present
  • the employee must be advised of the misconduct and/or unsatisfactory performance
  • the employee must be provided with an opportunity to explain the behaviour/performance
  • time should be given for adjournment(s) so that the employee and representative have time to consider his/her response to the allegations
  • the meeting should be conducted in a non-threatening manner

14. After a disciplinary meeting:

  • the employer shall fully consider the explanations of the staff member before determining what action, if any, is appropriate in the circumstances
  • if the employer considers that a formal warning or final written warning is warranted, then this shall be recorded in writing and provided to the staff member. There must be a request for an improvement in conduct and/or performance. The staff member must be advised that, if performance or conduct does not improve a further warning and/or termination of employment may be possible. A copy of any warning should be noted on the staff member’s file and the staff member should be advised of this. Appropriate training and support shall be provided
  • if dismissal is warranted, then the notification of dismissal and the reasons for dismissal shall be provided in writing to the staff member
  • the manager who will make any decision in relation to any disciplinary meeting will listen to and consider the explanation of the staff member. Before making any such decision, the manager must discuss the matter with an HR practitioner

Review of any disciplinary outcome

15. The outcome of a disciplinary matter may be reviewed under the following principles:

  • the staff member or the University may initiate a review the outcome of a disciplinary matter through Human Resources
  • a requested review normally would take place between 3 months and 12 months after the disciplinary matter, but may take place at another agreed time
  • the University will take into account any submission of the staff member before making a decision on the review outcome

16. The decision of the University as a result of the review may include:

  • rescinding the warning and remove the documentation from the personal file
  • holding all related material in a confidential envelope on the personal file
  • no further action
  • such other action as may be appropriate in the circumstances

17. While a formal warning or final written warning may be removed from the file, if related misconduct/performance reoccurs, the University may consider whether the conduct/performance warrants a final written warning or dismissal.


The following definitions apply to this document:

Misconduct means

  • the failure of a staff member in their employment to maintain proper standards of integrity, conduct or concern for the public interest or the well-being of the students or other staff members of the University; or
  • the failure of an staff member to comply with policies, procedures or directions of the University, academic head or other persons in authority at the University; or
  • the failure to maintain adequate standards of performance

Serious misconduct means misconduct which is so serious that it may warrant summary dismissal and may include but is not limited to, sexual harassment, assault, theft, fraud, misappropriation, deliberate or repeated disregard of health and safety standards, wilful disobedience, deliberate or repeated misconduct, failure to disclose a conflict of interest, breach of the University’s policy against harassment, behaviour which leads to significant loss of trust and confidence.

Staff member refers to an individual employed by the University on a full or part time basis.

University means the University of Auckland and includes all subsidiaries.

Key relevant documents

Document management and control

Owner: Director, Human Resources
Content manager: Associate Director, HR Advisory
Approved by: Vice-Chancellor
Approval date: 15 October 2014
Review date: 01 March 2025