Disciplinary and Grievance Procedure
Purpose And Scope
The Disciplinary Procedure is designed to help and encourage all individuals to achieve and maintain standards of conduct, attendance and job performance and set out the manager’s framework for dealing with disciplinary matters. The same procedure applies to all individuals and the aim is to ensure consistent and fair treatment for all.
The Grievance Procedure enables all to bring to management’s attention any grievance relating to their engagement and to try to resolve such matters satisfactorily. Grievance proceedings will, so far as is reasonably practicable, be kept confidential.
No disciplinary action will be taken until the matter at issue has been fully investigated.
The individual will not normally be dismissed for a first breach of discipline except in the case of gross misconduct or very serious breach of discipline when the sanction will be dismissal without notice.
The individual will have the right to appeal against any disciplinary sanction imposed.
So far as applicable to a particular circumstance, the following requirements apply to the Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures.
Each step and action under the Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures must be taken without unreasonable delay.
Right to be accompanied
The individual has the right to be accompanied at any disciplinary or grievance meeting by a fellow professional or trade union representative who may make representations on their behalf provided the individual expressly authorises this at the beginning of the relevant meeting. However, the individual’s companion will not be able to answer questions put to the individual during the course of the meeting. This right applies to all stages of the disciplinary and grievance process including appeals. This right does not apply to investigatory meetings as these are held solely to establish the facts of the case and are not disciplinary meetings.
Timing and location of meetings must be reasonable. Meetings must be conducted in a manner that enables both management and the individual to explain their case.
Management will endeavour to ensure that the meeting is in a private location and that there are no interruptions.
The length of time between the written notification and the meeting should be long enough to allow the individual to prepare for the meeting. The individual must take all reasonable steps to attend the meeting and if they or their companion cannot attend on the date suggested they must notify the manager and propose an alternative date for the meeting to be held at the earliest practical opportunity.
No meeting will take place unless the complainant has informed the other party in writing of the cause of the complaint and the other party has had the opportunity to consider a response to the complaint.
During the disciplinary or grievance process the management will keep written records which may include: the nature of the complaint or the grievance raised; a copy of the written complaint or grievance; the individual‘s defence; the manager’s response; findings made; any action taken or sanction imposed and the reasons for it; any grievances raised during a disciplinary process; whether there was an appeal and if so the outcome; any subsequent developments.
Such records will be kept on a confidential basis so far as is reasonably practicable and in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998.
Potential Disciplinary Sanctions
If conduct or performance does not meet acceptable standards the individual may be given a formal verbal warning. A note of the verbal warning will be kept on the individual’s personnel file but will usually be disregarded for disciplinary purposes after three months subject to satisfactory conduct and performance.
If the misconduct or poor performance is more serious, a formal written warning may be given to the individual. This will give details of the complaint, the improvement or change in behaviour required and the timescale allowed for this, and state that a final written warning may be considered if there is no sustained satisfactory improvement or change. A copy of this written warning will be kept on the individual’s personnel file but will usually be disregarded for disciplinary purposes after six months subject to satisfactory conduct and performance.
Final Written Warning
If the offence is serious or there is a failure to improve performance or conduct during the currency of a prior warning, a final written warning may be given to the individual. This will give details of the complaint, the improvement required and the timescale. It will also warn that failure to improve may lead to dismissal.
Non-renewal of bookings Or Other Sanction
In certain circumstances, for example a failure to improve conduct or performance where a previous warning has been given or where there is an act of gross misconduct or a serious failure to perform, the disciplinary sanction, given there is no employment relationship between the individual. the Company, would be non-renewal of contract and an end to future bookings. If some sanction short of this measure is imposed, the Individual will receive details of the complaint, and will be warned that future bookings could be jeopardised as a result if there is no satisfactory improvement.
Misconduct is when an individual’s inappropriate behaviour or action breaks workplace rules. Some misconduct examples include:
Bullying, harassment, refusing to do work (“insubordination”), being absent without leave or “AWOL”)
The following list provides examples of offences which are normally regarded as gross misconduct. This list is not exhaustive and other serious misconduct may also lead to summary dismissal:
Theft, fraud, dishonesty, fighting, assault, violence, unauthorised possession of property belonging to the manager, damage to the manager’s property, incapacity to provide contracted services due to being under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs, serious negligence which causes unacceptable loss, damage or injury, misuse of confidential information, conviction for a criminal offence arising from or relating to the individual’s work for the manager, conduct whether inside or outside contracted hours which may bring the manager’s reputation into disrepute, serious or persistent neglect of duties or any material breach or non-observance of those duties – in particular refusal to follow reasonable instructions.
If the individual is accused of an act of gross misconduct, the individual may be suspended from bookings while the manager investigates the alleged offence. If, on completion of the investigation and the Disciplinary Procedure, the manager is satisfied that gross misconduct has occurred, the result will normally be that the individual will no longer be engaged by the Company.
Following a disciplinary meeting, before making the decision on what disciplinary sanction it should impose, the manager will take into account the individual’s disciplinary and general engagement records, length of service and the explanation given by the Individual at the disciplinary meeting.
Before implementing any of the formal sanctions set out above, including after a review of the Individual’s’s conduct or performance, the Disciplinary Procedure set out below will normally be followed.
Where a potential disciplinary matter arises, the manager will endeavour to make necessary investigations to establish the facts promptly. Having carried out such preliminary investigations the manager will decide whether to take no further action or deal with the matter informally or arrange for the matter to be handled on a formal basis. The manager may choose to hold an investigatory meeting (as opposed to a disciplinary meeting) with the Individual solely to establish the facts of the case.
In instances which the manager considers to be particularly serious (e.g. in cases involving alleged gross misconduct, where relationships have broken down or there is a risk to the
manager’s responsibilities to third parties or the ’s property), the individual’s contract may be suspended temporarily whilst an unhindered investigation is carried out. Any precautionary suspension of this kind will be reviewed as soon as possible and will not normally exceed more than a single booking. Any suspension on this basis should not be considered as a disciplinary sanction or an indication of prejudgement of the matter.
If the manager decides to take formal action, the following procedure will be
Statement of Grounds for Action and Invitation To Meeting
The Manager will prepare a written statement setting out the individual’s alleged conduct or capability or poor performance, or other circumstances, which may result in a disciplinary sanction (including dismissal) being imposed. The statement will be sent to the individual who will be invited to attend a meeting to discuss the matter. The statement will contain sufficient detail and any relevant accompanying evidence to enable the individual to prepare for the meeting.
The complaint will be fully explained to the Individual at the meeting and the manager will go through the evidence that has been gathered. The Individual can make representations and explain their view of the situation and answer any allegations that have been made. The Individual will be allowed to ask questions and present evidence. If appropriate the Individual can call witnesses and will be given an opportunity to raise points about any information provided by witnesses. No disciplinary sanction will be imposed until the meeting has taken place.
Notification Of Decision
After the meeting the Individual will be informed of the manager’s decision. This will be communicated to the Individual in writing within 10 working days of the meeting and the Individual will be notified of their right to appeal against the decision if they are not satisfied with it. If the decision taken is dismissal the Individual will also be provided with written reasons for dismissal. If it is not possible for the manager to respond with their decision within 10 working days the manager will give an explanation to the Individual for the delay and inform them when a response can be expected.
The Individual has the right to appeal against any disciplinary sanction imposed on them. If they are an Equity member they may refer the matter to the union for review.
Informal Resolution of Grievances
The management recognises that misunderstandings or grievances may sometimes occur.
It is most important that these grievances are brought out into the open and resolved as fairly, consistently and speedily as possible. In most cases this can be done on an entirely informal basis.