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    CONDUCTING  A  DOMESTIC  ENQUIRY             Why  and  when  a  domestic  enquiry  is  necessary     A   domestic   inquiry   is   an   internal   hearing   held   by   an   employer   to   establish   whether   an   employee  is  guilty  of  misconduct  and  to  provide  an  opportunity   for  the  employee  to  state   his   case.   Misconduct   related   to   duty,   discipline   or   morality   could   either   be   a   minor   misconduct   or   a   major   one.     Preliminary   investigation   to   establish   this   would   need   to   be   carried   out   almost   immediately   on   receiving   the   complaint.   All   those   involved   need   to   be   interviewed   and   their   evidence   /   statements   recorded   in   writing.   For   a   minor   misconduct   an   employee   could   be   issued   a   warning   letter   while   for   a   major   misconduct   it   becomes   necessary  to  conduct  a  domestic  enquiry.     The   Industrial   Court,   under   the   provisions   of   The   Industrial   Relations   Act   1967,   does   not   merely   examine   whether   there   were   proper   grounds   for   the   employer   to   terminate   the   services   of   the   employee   but   also   examines   whether   the   process   by   which   the   employee   was  terminated  was  fair  or  unfair.     Hence   it   is   important   to   carry   out   the   domestic   enquiry   in   all   fairness   and   not   just   as   a   mere   formality.  It  is  important  to  ensure  that  the  basic  principles  of  natural  justice  are  observed.       (i)   That   the   employee   is   given   an   opportunity   to   know,   in   full,   the   charges   made   against  him.   (ii)   The   employee   has   reasonable   opportunity   of   defending   himself   against   the   charges.   (iii)   The   management   team   which   sits   as   the   Inquiry   Panel   should   be   unconnected   with  the  events  and  circumstances  surrounding  the  charge     The  Domestic  Enquiry  Process     1. Show  cause  notice   If  the  investigation  establishes  a  prima  facie  case  justifying  the  complaint  a  show   cause  /  charge  sheet  needs  to  be  issued.  This  calls  for  an  explanation  from  the   employee  and  clearly  sets  out  all  the  allegations  to  which  the  employee  is  requested   to  “show  cause”.  It  should  be  signed  by  HR  or  Head  of  the  Department.     Name  of  the  person  charged   Employee  number   Address   Date,  Time  &  Place  of  Occurrence     Narration  of  the  misconduct  alleged   Relevant  clause  and  specific  act  of  misconduct  under  the  standing  orders/   settlement.   Calling  for  an  explanation  within  a  stipulated  time  and  to  whom  the   response  is  to  be  submitted   If  the  charge  rests  on  a  written  report,  a  copy  of  that  report  to  be   enclosed.  

 

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 the  proceedings  would   need  to  be  recorded  and  a  copy  sent  to  him/her. Care  must  be  taken  that  the  period  of  suspension  and  the  amount  of  pay  the   employee  receives  during  the  period  of  suspension  are  in  accordance  with  the   provisions  of  the  Employment  Act  or  relevant  settlement  signed  with  the   employees.   5. Identify  the  members  of  the  panel  for  the  inquiry.       2   .     10. An  employee  could  be  accompanied  by  a  union  representative  but  cannot  insist  on   legal  representation.   7.  Once  the  enquiry  is  complete  the  findings  would  need  to  be  put  down  as  a  report   including  all  evidence  and  the  conclusion  on  the  charges.  This  is  to  be  sent  to  the   appropriate  authority  in  management  who  would  then  decide  on  the  punishment.  The  notice   should  give  details  of  the  date.  time  and  place  of  inquiry  and  should  state  that  the   employee  would  be  entitled  to  cross  examine  the  witnesses  and  could  also  bring   witnesses  and  documents  of  his  own.  Make  sure  they  are  definitely  managers  with  your  organization. Witnesses  can  be  cross-­‐examined  by  either  party  and  their  statements  would  be   recorded  in  a  similar  fashion  and  the  witnesses  would  need  to  sign  their  statements.     9. All  statements  given  in  the  inquiry  should  be  carefully  recorded  either  by  the  Panel   Member  or  an  individual  assigned  that  role.   4.  Ensure  that  they  have  not  been   directly  involved  in  the  case  and  are  of  a  certain  rank  /  grade  within  the   organization.  then  he  is  given  an  opportunity   to  explain  the  circumstances  and  the  inquiry  officer  will  then  ask  the  officer   presenting  the  case  to  state  the  facts  so  that  punishment  could  be  decided.     6.   3.   8. A  case  can  also  be  heard  if  the  employee  is  absent. Once  the  response  to  the  show  cause  is  received  and  if  you  are  not  satisfied  with  it   the  next  step  is  to  send  a  notice  of  the  domestic  inquiry  to  the  employee.       2.  They   should  have  an  understanding  of  how  a  domestic  enquiry  needs  to  be  carried  out.  The  notes  should  be  typed  out  and    a   copy  given  to  the  employee  at  the  end  of  each  hearing  and  signed  by  both  parties.  If  the  employee  admits  to  the  charge. At  the  beginning  of  the  inquiry  the  charge  must  be  read  out  to  him/her  once  again   and  explained.  However.   The  inquiry  officer/panel  does  not  decide  on  the  punishment.