Conducting and organising disciplinary investigations and hearings is a key component of companies confronting and addressing employee misconduct. An important aspect of such hearings and investigations in Romania is providing appropriate notice to employees.
This article delineates fundamental issues that an employer should keep in mind when conducting disciplinary investigations and hearings with a focus on what is, in practice, a reasonable amount of disciplinary notice.
Key considerations regarding disciplinary investigations and hearings
The Romanian Labour Code provides specific steps that employers must take when conducting a disciplinary investigation and taking appropriate disciplinary action.
As a matter of procedure, prior to applying any disciplinary sanction against an employee (except for a written warning), an employer must conduct a disciplinary investigation in accordance with the law and its internal regulations. This is to determine whether the employee’s conduct constitutes an offence that may require disciplinary actions or sanctions. Such investigation must be conducted by a disciplinary commission appointed by the employer and it usually consists of a disciplinary hearing in which the employee is allowed to present their defence.
It is important to keep in mind that failing to follow the legal and internal requirements and investigate properly can result in the annulment of any sanction given by the court. It should be noted that courts typically favour employees in litigation, so it is of critical importance to follow the relevant procedures. Furthermore, when the sanction applied is the dismissal of the employee, if the employee wins in court, the employer is often required to reinstate the employee and to pay all salaries/benefits from the date of dismissal.