Set of rules regulating the exercise of disciplinary power within the establishment. Disciplinary power lies with the employer and its formulation is contained in the works rules .
The disciplinary sanctions which may be imposed by the employer are defined by law: oral or written reprimand, formal warning, fine and compulsory suspension from work (Article 1(3), Legislative Decree 3789/1957). These sanctions are imposed only for disciplinary offences, i.e. acts of commission or omission by the employee which disrupt order, discipline and peace in the establishment and generally affect its operation. The nature of such offences and the corresponding sanctions must be laid down in the works rules in accordance with the fundamental principle nullum crimen, nulla poena sine lege (conduct does not constitute a crime, and no punishment may be imposed, unless the law so prescribes).
In addition, the disciplinary procedure is also governed by the following basic principles:
(a) the sanction must be proportionate to the seriousness of the offence;
(b) retroactive application is not permitted;
(c) disciplinary action may be taken only once for a given instance of an offence;
(d) employees who are accused of a disciplinary offence must be invited to defend themselves orally or in writing before the sanction is imposed; and
(e) the disciplinary procedure must be set in motion within a reasonable interval from the occurrence of the offence. The works rules may stipulate a time limit for this.
Disciplinary decisions must be supported by stated reasons and include all the actual circumstances which constitute the offence (time when the offence was committed, description of the offence, culpability of the perpetrator, etc.). The employer's disciplinary power is subject to control by the civil courts. This judicial control includes verification of the lawfulness of the disciplinary power in general as provided for in the works rules (e.g. lawfulness of offences, sanctions, procedure, bodies, etc.) and examination of the substantive fairness of particular disciplinary decisions (e.g. fair assessment of the actual circumstances, fair ranking of the circumstances within the disciplinary provisions, and so on).
Please note: the European industrial relations glossaries were compiled between 1991 and 2003 and are not updated. For current material see the European industrial relations dictionary.