Where we are considering disciplinary action against an employee or considering dismissing an employee for a reason not related to a disciplinary issue (e.g. redundancy or capability), this procedure will apply to ensure that we comply with our statutory obligations.
It is hoped that most issues in the workplace can be resolved informally. In the first instance of minor misconduct or an issue arising, your line manager will usually meet with you to explain the improvement that is required. If, however the required improvement is not forthcoming or if the issue is serious enough to warrant it, the formal disciplinary procedure set out below will be invoked.
It is our aim that our rules and procedures should encourage improvement in the conduct of individuals, where they are failing to meet the standards, and not seen as a means of punishment. It is hoped in the event of disciplinary sanctions less than dismissal being issued, that the employee will take the warning on board and will demonstrate the required improvement in conduct or performance.
We reserve the right to engage the services of a third party to provide assistance with or to chair any meeting convened in accordance with this policy.
Standard disciplinary and dismissal procedure
In relation to disciplinary matters, in most cases it will be necessary for an investigation to be carried out into the circumstances that have led to an employee falling under suspicion of having committed a disciplinary offence. Evidence will be gathered as part of the investigatory process. If there is insufficient evidence upon which to proceed or if it can be established that there is no case to answer, no disciplinary process will take place. On some occasions, temporary suspension on full pay may be necessary in order that an uninterrupted investigation can take place. This is not to be regarded as disciplinary action or a penalty of any kind.
The following procedure will apply in the event that we initiate disciplinary proceedings against you or contemplate dismissing you for a reason not related to a disciplinary matter.
Step 1 – statement of grounds for action and invitation to meeting
You will receive a letter inviting you to a hearing and specifying the matters to be considered at the meeting. You will receive copies of the evidence to be relied upon at the hearing.
Step 2 – the meeting and outcome
The meeting will be scheduled to allow you a reasonable length of time to consider any allegations and evidence. You are required to take all reasonable steps to attend the meeting. The meeting will take place before action is taken. You will have the opportunity to respond to any allegations, challenge evidence and put forward your defence or anything that you would like to be considered prior to a decision being taken.
You have the right to be accompanied at the meeting by a work colleague or accredited trade union representative where you make a reasonable request to be so accompanied. If you wish to be accompanied at the meeting you should let the chair of the meeting know in advance the identity of the person you wish to have accompanying you together with details of the position held by them in order that your request to be accompanied by that person may be considered.
Following the meeting, you will receive written confirmation of the outcome of the hearing.
Step 3 – appeal
If you disagree with the outcome of the hearing, you have the right to appeal against it. Appeals should be in writing and addressed to the person identified in the letter confirming the outcome of the disciplinary hearing. The written notification of appeal should set out the basis for the appeal in as much detail as possible.
You will be invited to an appeal meeting to discuss your appeal and you must take all reasonable steps to attend. If the action taken at the hearing was to dismiss you, the appeal hearing need not take place before the dismissal takes effect.
You have the right to be accompanied at the appeal meeting by a work colleague or accredited trade union representative where you make a reasonable request to be so accompanied. If you wish to be accompanied at the meeting you should let the chair of the meeting know in advance the identity of the person you wish to have accompanying, you together with details of the position held by them in order that your request to be accompanied by that person may be considered.
After the appeal hearing, you will be informed of the outcome in writing and the procedure will then be at an end.
Modified dismissal procedure
This procedure applies where an employee is dismissed without notice by reason of his/her conduct and we are entitled in the circumstances to dismiss the employee without the need to hold a disciplinary hearing.
Step 1 – statement of grounds for action
We will set out in writing: –
the misconduct that has led to the dismissal
the basis for believing the employee was guilty of the alleged misconduct
the employee’s right of appeal against the dismissal
Step 2 – appeal
If an employee wishes to appeal, he/she must submit an appeal in writing setting out the basis for the appeal. We will then invite the employee to an appeal meeting and advise the employee of his/her right to be accompanied at the meeting. The employee must take all reasonable steps to attend the meeting.
After the appeal meeting, the employee will be advised of the outcome of the appeal in writing and then the procedure will be at an end.
Levels of disciplinary sanction
Very minor cases of misconduct will be dealt with informally, with the objective of improving your conduct. Where the matter is more serious, or where you have failed to improve your conduct, formal action will be taken as described below.
There are four levels of disciplinary sanction. Other than in cases of gross misconduct, you will not normally be dismissed for a first offence. We reserve the right to impose sanctions at any level, or to skip levels, depending on the circumstances of the case.
Level 1 – Verbal warning
A verbal warning will remain live on your personnel file for a period of 6 months
Level 2 – Written warning.
A written warning will remain live on your personnel file for a period of 12 months
Level 3 – Final written warning
A final written warning will remain live on your personnel file for a period of 12 months
Level 4 – Dismissal or other sanction
Recording of meetings
Meetings conducted with you during your employment (e.g. an informal discussion, disciplinary, grievance, appraisal meeting) must not be recorded without prior permission, which will not be given unless there are exceptional circumstances. Where there is a degree of formality regarding the meeting, a note will be taken and you will be entitled to review and comment upon the notes.