Disciplinary Matters Definitions


Threat of Disciplinary Action /Show Cause Response

To help distinguish what discipline documents you have been issued with and which template you should use from the below, we have provided definitions.

It should be noted that a threat of termination of employment does NOT equal a show-cause notice. 

Show Cause or a Notice to Show Cause: 

A show-cause notice is an intention by an employer to take disciplinary action (i.e termination) if you do not show cause as to why your employment should not be terminated in 14 days.

Show Causes will request that you explain why or ‘show cause’ as to why disciplinary action (including termination) should NOT be taken against you. 

The show cause will allow you to put forth a submission as to why your employment should not be terminated.

They should also mention that failure to comply with the above, will result in an immediate decision being made on your behalf as to the penalty you face (this can include termination).

Other Discipline Documents or Threat of Termination: 

Other discipline documents can still pose a threat of termination without being a ‘show cause’. Discipline documents that you have received may advise you that you are unable to return to work or that you have been ‘stood down’, with a looming threat of ‘potential termination’. 

Other discipline could also include prejudicial alteration to your employment such as:

  • Reduction in paypoint;
  • Reprimand
  • Formal warning(s)
  • Additional training;
  • Performance improvement plans or processes 

The key difference between the two is that a show cause notice will pose an immediate risk to the status of your employment (in the form of discipline or termination) if you do NOT respond. Other disciplinary documents do not require an immediate response.  

What to do if you have been stood down without pay

If you have been stood down without pay, you have not been terminated but have been asked not allowed to attend work and have been put on leave without pay.

This is different to other disciplinary action or a show cause notice, although these other notices may eventually follow a stand down without pay in time. If you have been engaging in the request for risk assessment and consultation process and have been stood down without pay, we believe that you are entitled to be paid.


Have you been directed to attend a meeting by your employer?

Read our FAQ's for directed workplace meetings here.