STAFF DISCIPLINE, CONDUCT AND GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE

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1 STAFF DISCIPLINE, CONDUCT AND GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE 1. Introduction Disciplinary issues arise when problems of conduct or capability are identified by the employer and management seeks to address them through well recognised procedures. In contrast, grievances are raised by individuals bringing to management s attention concerns or complaints about their working environment, terms and conditions and workplace relationships. (See separate policy). Staff conduct and discipline Disciplinary rules and procedures are necessary for promoting orderly employment relations as well as fairness and consistency in the treatment of individuals. The Employment Rights Act 1996 and the Employment Act 2002 require employers to provide written information for employees about certain aspects of their disciplinary rules and procedures. Managers should know and be able to apply the rules and procedures they are required to follow. Disciplinary rules apply to issues such as misconduct, harassment or victimisation, misuse of school facilities including computer facilities, mobile telephones, poor timekeeping and unauthorised absences. This list is not exhaustive. At all times staff are expected to set a good example and conduct themselves in accordance with the values of the School. It is impossible to record all the various types of behaviour that may be deemed as misconduct or gross misconduct. Examples given in the attached appendix are indicative only and in no sense constitute an exhaustive list. Each instance will be judged on its merits. Depending on degree, therefore, an individual case may be an instance of misconduct or gross misconduct. 2. Procedure The aim of the procedure is to maintain a high standard of conduct and to encourage improvement where necessary. The procedure sets out the action that will be taken when disciplinary rules are breached, aiming to ensure fair treatment of the employee at all times. 1 Whenever possible workplace problems should be sorted out informally. When this is not possible or has proved to be unsatisfactory the following procedures must be followed.

2 Step 1 Written Statement a. The employer must ensure that a thorough investigation of all the relevant circumstances of the case has been carried out. b. The employer will prepare a written statement setting out what the employee is alleged to have done or failed to do and advise what disciplinary action may result. c. Details of the employee s conduct must be explained prior to the formal meeting to enable a considered response to be made. d. All supporting evidence must be made available to the employee. Step 2 Disciplinary Hearing a. Having allowed time for consideration of the issues raised the employer will convene a meeting at a reasonable time (no less than 7 working days notice) and at a convenient place where the issue(s) can be discussed. The employee must take all reasonable steps to attend. b. The employee must be advised of his/her right to be accompanied at the disciplinary hearing by a single companion who is a fellow employee or a full time official employed by a professional association or a trades union. c. After the meeting the employer will decide what action, if any, needs to be taken and advise the employee accordingly in writing. At the same time the employer must offer the employee the opportunity to appeal against the decision. Step 3 Appeal Hearing a. An employee has the right of appeal against any disciplinary action imposed, by way of a personal hearing before the Headmaster following a decision by the Bursar or before an Appeal Committee consisting of at least 3 Governors following a decision by the Headmaster. b. The right of appeal must be exercised in writing within one calendar month of the date when the employee was notified 2 3. Gross Misconduct of the disciplinary action to be taken. The employee shall be entitled to at least 7 days written notice of the date of the appeal. c. The same rules apply to this appeal meeting as to the disciplinary hearing. d. Following the appeal meeting the employer must inform the employee of the decision, making it clear the decision is final. If an employee is suspected of gross misconduct he/she will be liable to be suspended on full pay pending an investigation. Suspension should not be seen, in

3 itself, as a disciplinary act and neither should it prejudice the outcome of any disciplinary investigation or proceedings. 4. Disciplinary Action Having convened a disciplinary hearing and having heard all representations and reviewed the evidence the following disciplinary actions are open to the Headmaster/Bursar. a. Oral warning An oral warning may be given for a minor infringement and given in the presence of the line manager of the person being warned. b. Written Warning A written warning may be given by the Head/Bursar if the same or a related offence is repeated (q.v. Capability Policy 3.10) or the offence is deemed serious enough to merit a written rather than an oral warning. Details of the improvement or change required and the timescale allowed must be given to the employee. The employee should also be advised that if there is no satisfactory improvement or change a final written warning may be considered. c. Final written Warning A final written warning may be given by the Head/Bursar for further repetitions of the same or related offence or where the offence is sufficiently serious. Details of the complaint should be given with the warning together with notification that failure to improve or modify behaviour may lead to dismissal or some other action short of dismissal. d. In cases of gross misconduct or where following a previous written warning the employee s conduct fails to improve, the employee may be dismissed by the Headmaster following his consultation with the 3 Chairman of Governors or, in his absence, one of the Vice Chairmen. Notification of dismissal, confirmed in writing, should include the reason(s), the date on which the contract between the two parties is to be terminated, the period of notice (or pay in lieu of notice if applicable) and the right of appeal. The Head/Bursar reserve the right to give an oral, written or final written warning whatever the matter before them. Warnings will be removed from the records after the following periods provided there has been no further breach of discipline in the intervening period: Oral warning Written Warning 6 months 12 months

4 Final Written Warning 24 months Where employees are found to be failing to perform their duties to a satisfactory level, action may be taken in accordance with the School s Capability Policy. Grievance procedure The Governors of QEGS accept the need to have in place a procedure which enables staff to raise any concerns that they may have about practices, policies or treatment from other individuals at work or from the School and to produce a speedy resolution where genuine problems exist. It is designed to help all employees to take the appropriate action when they are experiencing difficulties in an atmosphere of trust and collaboration. Although it may not be possible to solve all problems to everyone s complete satisfaction, this policy forms an undertaking by the School that will deal as far as possible objectively and constructively with all employee grievances, and that everyone who decides to use the procedure may do so with confidence that their problem will be dealt with fairly and equitably. This grievance procedure is not a substitute for good day-to-day communication in the School where we encourage employees to discuss and resolve daily working issues in a supportive atmosphere. Many problems can be solved on an informal footing very satisfactorily if all employees are prepared to keep the channels of communication between themselves open and working well. This procedure is designed to deal with those issues that need to be approached on a more formal basis so that every route to a satisfactory solution can be explored and so that any decisions reached are binding and long lasting. This grievance procedure is entirely non-contractual and does not form part of an employee s contract of employment. Procedure On 6 April 2009 the statutory grievance procedure was abolished. The procedure was replaced by a new ACAS Code of Practice Disciplinary and Grievance Procedure (the Code). If you cannot settle your grievance informally, you should raise it formally. This procedure has been drawn up to establish the appropriate steps to be followed when pursuing and dealing with a formal grievance. Stage 1 In the event of your having a formal grievance relating to your employment, you should, in the first instance, put your grievance in writing and address it to your line manager. Where your grievance is against your line manager, your complaint should be addressed to a member of the Senior Management Team. In the case of an allegation against a member of SMT, the matter must be brought to the Headmaster and if the Headmaster is alleged to be bullying then to the Chairman of Governors.

5 This grievance procedure will not be invoked unless you raise your grievance in accordance with these requirements. A manager (who may not be your line manager) will then invite you to attend a grievance meeting to discuss your grievance and you have the right to be accompanied at this meeting by a trade union official or a fellow employee of your choice. Every effort will be made to convene the grievance meeting at a time which is convenient for you and your companion to attend. If this means that the meeting cannot be held within a reasonable period (usually within five working days of the original date set), we ask that you make arrangements with another companion who is available to attend. You must make every effort to attend the grievance meeting. At the meeting you will be permitted to explain your grievance and how you think it should be resolved. Following the meeting the School will endeavour to respond to your grievance as soon as possible and, in any case, within 5 working days of the grievance meeting. If it is not possible to respond within this time period, you will be given an explanation for the delay and be told when a response can be expected. You will be informed in writing of the School s decision on the grievance and notified of your right to appeal against that decision if you are not satisfied with it. Stage 2 In the event that you feel your grievance has not been satisfactorily resolved you may then appeal in writing to the Headmaster within 5 working days of the grievance decision. You should also set out the grounds for your appeal. If your original grievance was against the Headmaster, you may appeal to a panel of Governors appointed by the Board. On receipt of your appeal letter, a more senior manager or a Governor shall make arrangements to hear your grievance at an appeal meeting and at this meeting you may again, if you wish, be accompanied by a trade union official or fellow employee of your choice. You must make every effort to attend the grievance appeal meeting. Following the meeting, the person hearing your appeal will endeavour to respond to your grievance as soon as possible, and in any case, within five working days of the appeal hearing. If it is not possible to respond within this time period, you will be given an explanation for the delay and be told when a response can be expected. You will be informed in writing of the School s decision on the grievance. This is the final stage of the grievance procedure and the School s decision shall be final.

6 4 APPENDIX A Misconduct Examples of misconduct could be: a) Breaking any of the School s rules or instructions which may be issued from time to time. b) Failure to follow safe working practices. c) Involvement in major accidents with School property or a serious of minor accidents attributable to negligence. Failure to notify such accidents or damage. d) Misuse of School property, premises or equipment. e) Unauthorised removal or use of the School s property. f) Unreasonable absence or poor timekeeping, or failure to notify the School when absent in accordance with the school s Rules. g) Unsatisfactory personal hygiene or appearance. Gross Misconduct The following list of serious offences are examples of conduct regarded by the School as gross misconduct and summary dismissal could follow any such offence. The list is not exhaustive:

7 a) Acts or threats of physical violence or dangerous or intimidatory conduct. b) A criminal conviction. c) Being unfit for work due to the influence of alcohol or drugs. d) Falsification of work records, time sheets, self certification forms or any other documents including expense claims. e) Fighting, physical assault or dangerous horseplay. f) Fraud or any other offence committed against the School which would be a breach of the law of the land. 5 g) Gross insubordination or use of aggressive behaviour or excessive bad language on School premises. h) Offences or misconduct relating to drug or alcohol abuse, sexual conduct, abuse of children or conduct of a similar nature. i) Serious failure to follow safe working practices, thereby endangering others or self (including dangerous driving). j) Serious neglect of duty or breach of safety requirements likely to endanger the person or damage School property. k) Sexual or racial harassment, or any form of bullying including cyber bullying. l) Theft, dishonesty, fraud, pilferage or gross negligence that leads to School property being lost, damaged or destroyed. m) Unauthorised absence. n) Disclosure of confidential information. o) Wilful failure to carry out a reasonable direct instruction given by the Head or immediate superior. p) Wilful or serious damage to School property. q) Action(s) which may bring the School into disrepute Reviewed July 2014

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