If someone has made a complaint against you at work, the best thing to do is to stay calm and ask for full details of the complaint.

Take your time to consider the complaint before you respond either verbally or in writing.

It is considered best practice if the complaint is of a minor nature, to deal with it informally but this is often not what employers choose to do.

The organisation you work for should have a disciplinary policy and procedure. Make sure you read it and familiarise yourself with the content.

If the complaint is of a more serious nature you can be suspended whilst the complaint is investigated.

You should be invited to an investigation interview with the investigating officer. It is important that you have been given details of the complaint and have been given time to consider the complaint. A trade union representative or work colleague should be allowed to attend the interview with you. If anything new is alleged or presented you should be given time to consider what has been raised.

Minutes should be taken of the meeting and sent to you to agree. If the minutes do not accurately reflect the meeting then inform the investigating officer and detail what you believe to be incorrectly recorded.

At the conclusion of the investigation the investigating officer should write a report and you should be given a copy.

On the basis of the report a decision will be made about whether the matter should progress to a disciplinary hearing.

If the matter does progress you will be invited to attend a disciplinary hearing where management will present their case and you will be asked to present your case. Again you should be allowed a Trade Union representative or work colleague to attend with you.

You will be given the opportunity to question witnesses and you will be questioned.

It is often helpful to put your case in writing.  Many employers now allow legal representation at this stage in proceedings, especially if the allegations are serious. You should consider asking the organisation to allow you legal representation at this stage.

At the end of the disciplinary process, a decision will be made about the allegations against you. If found proved a decision will be made as to whether they amount to gross misconduct and what action will be taken.

There are a range of actions an employer can take from no action, to a first warning, a final warning, some other disciplinary action or dismissal.

You will be given the right to appeal any decision. This is not a fresh hearing but to consider whether the action taken was reasonable.

If the allegations are serious in nature your employer may refer the matter to the GMC.

Top Tips:

  • When a complaint is made try not to take it personally;
  • Prepare thoroughly for the investigation interview and disciplinary hearing;
  • Ask for legal advice from a specialist.

If you are facing an allegation at work, we can help. We understand the complexities of working as a doctor
We can help prepare for an investigation interview, disciplinary hearing or appeal.

Stephen McCaffrey

I am a GMC Defence Barrister who has represented large number of medical professionals before their regulatory bodies in either first instance proceedings or appeals.  I can help with all matters relating to GMC Fitness to Practise Referrals issues including:

  • GMC fitness to practise referrals
  • GMC fitness to practise hearings
  • Appeals against a MPTS Tribunal determination
  • MPTS Interim Order hearings
  • Appeals against a MPTS Interim Orders Tribunal determination
  • Preparing your case before the Case Examiners
  • Help with the decision of the Case Examiners
  • Help with voluntary removal
  • Registration advice
  • Appeal against refusal of registration
  • Restoration to the Register
  • Investigation and disciplinary hearings at work
  • Criminal investigation and proceedings
  • Police cautions
  • DBS [Disclosure and Barring Service] issues


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