Disciplinary and Grievance Policy

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1 United Biscuits UK Ltd Disciplinary and Grievance Policy June 2015

2 Contents 1. Introduction Disciplinary Policy Aims of Policy Responsibilities Legal Framework within the UK Examples Of Misconduct Job Performance Investigation Suspension Written Statement Disciplinary Meeting Right of Accompaniment Appeal Dismissal Appeal Overlap of Grievance and Disciplinary Procedures Gross Misconduct Disciplinary Sanctions Informal Counselling First Written Warning Second Written Warning Final Written Warning Dismissal Summary Dismissal Other Penalties Grievance Policy Aims of Policy Responsibilities Individual Grievances - Informal Discussion Individual Grievances Formal Grievance Procedure Appeal Collective Grievance Additional Policy Information Further Information Disciplinary and Grievance Policy Page 2 of 11 June 2015

3 1. Introduction This policy outlines the Company procedures for managing cases where conduct is in breach of Company regulations and do not reach the required standard and the Company procedures for managing cases where employees raise a Grievance connected to work. 2. Disciplinary Policy 2.1. Aims of Policy To assist with managing and improving any instances where conduct and behaviour are in breach of Company rules and regulations. To ensure that employees are aware of Company rules and regulations whilst they are on Company premises, or conducting Company business away from Company premises, or whilst attending Company related social events both on and off Company premises. Offer guidance to employees and Managers on examples of gross misconduct and suitable action whilst acting equitably. To fulfil the Company s commitment towards the fair and consistent settlement of disciplinary issues and reflects current legal obligations and provisions Responsibilities It is the responsibility of the HR function and Line Managers to ensure that appropriate communication processes are established so that all employees are aware of and understand the Company rules and procedures for handling Disciplinary matters. It is the responsibility of each employee for his or her own conduct and behaviour whilst Line Managers are responsible for the fair and consistent implementation of the procedure and any investigation required Legal Framework within the UK The ACAS Code of Practice 1 Disciplinary & Grievance 2009 sets out the basic practical guidance for employers, employees and the representatives and sets out principles for handling Disciplinary and Grievance situations in the work place Examples Of Misconduct A first instance of any issue below would not normally constitute grounds for termination of employment. However, whilst the list below is not exhaustive it covers a range of offences which if occur more than once or in conjunction with other offences could result in grounds for dismissal. Poor time keeping Behaviour which is upsetting or disruptive to others Unauthorised use of Company assets including phones/pc and internet Failure to comply with Company Site rules and Regulations Minor breach in Health & Safety Regulations 2.5. Job Performance Issues relating to unsatisfactory job performance resulting from a lack of aptitude will be Disciplinary and Grievance Policy Page 3 of 11 June 2015

4 dealt with through the Performance Improvement Policy. This policy aims to address job performance issues through providing a clear and consistent process for managing unsatisfactory performance Investigation Where a complaint is raised against an employee, the appropriate Line Manager will usually carry out an investigation providing that Line Manager will not be taking part in the hearing. The Company shall determine who is an appropriately trained person to carry out the role of the investigating officer (the "Investigating Officer"). The employee must cooperate fully and promptly in any investigation. The employee will have the right to be accompanied by a trade union representative, a trade union official or work colleague ( companion ). During the investigation the Company will provide the employee with any relevant information relating to the investigation ensuring that the employee is informed of the nature of the alleged complaint. On completion of the investigation, the Investigating Officer will recommend whether a disciplinary meeting should be convened or some other steps taken in relation to the situation Suspension An employee will only be suspended (on full salary) where the incident and process of investigation require it. Any Line Manager can authorise suspension on full pay if he/she has reason to believe an act of Gross Misconduct has occurred. Any such suspension should be as short as possible and should not be for more than 4 weeks unless there are exceptional circumstances. Where there are exceptional circumstances the employee will be informed in writing and will be provided with an indicative time-line for the investigation to be concluded. Any such period of suspension is not a punishment or considered as disciplinary action against the employee, nor does it imply that any decision has been taken about that employee's case Written Statement The Company will issue a written statement to the employee setting out sufficient information about the alleged misconduct and possible consequences to enable the employee to prepare to answer the case at a disciplinary meeting. The statement will also set out the employee s statutory right to representation and will invite the employee to attend a meeting to discuss the matter with details of the time and place of the meeting. The employee will also be provided with copies of any written evidence including witness statements Disciplinary Meeting At the disciplinary meeting the Company will explain the complaint against the employee and go through any evidence gathered. Once an employee has been advised of the nature of the complaint against him or her, he/she will be given reasonable opportunity at a disciplinary meeting to consider his or her response to the allegations or complaint, as well as the opportunity to state his or her case before any decision is made. An employee invited to attend a disciplinary meeting will be given a reasonable opportunity to ask questions, present evidence and call relevant witnesses. The employee will be given an opportunity to raise points about information provided by any witness. Disciplinary and Grievance Policy Page 4 of 11 June 2015

5 Following the disciplinary meeting, the Company will decide whether or not disciplinary or other action is justified and the Company will confirm its decision to the employee in writing. Whilst the Company aim to settle any disciplinary matter at the lowest appropriate level, the disciplinary procedure may be implemented at any stage if the employee s alleged misconduct warrants such action Right of Accompaniment At all Disciplinary Meetings, the employee will have the right to be accompanied by a trade union representative, a trade union official or work colleague ( companion ) The employee must take all reasonable steps to attend a scheduled disciplinary meeting and inform the Company of the identity of their companion. It is the employee s responsibility to ensure his/her attendance and that of his/her companion The time and location of the meeting will be reasonable The employee and their trade union official or work colleague will be given reasonable time to review evidence relating to the disciplinary hearing If an employee or his/her companion is unable to attend the proposed hearing, an alternative meeting within 7 calendar days (so far as possible) of the original hearing date will be proposed; in such circumstances, an employee must ensure that the Company is informed in writing that he/she or his/her companion is unable to attend a scheduled meeting sufficiently in advance (e.g. minimum of 24 / 48 hours in advance of that hearing) The role of the companion is to support the employee and he/she has the statutory right to address the hearing, to put and sum up the employee's case, ask (but not answer) questions on behalf of the employee, respond on behalf of the employee to any views expressed at the meeting and confer privately with them The companion will be given reasonable time off to attend the hearing, familiarise himself/herself with the case and confer with the employee before and after the hearing Where disciplinary action is being considered against an employee who is a Shop Steward they will have the right to be accompanied by the Site Senior Shop Steward. Where disciplinary action is being considered against the Site Senior Shop Steward they will have the right to be accompanied by a Trade Union official Appeal An employee wishing to appeal against a disciplinary decision should inform their line manager in writing, stating clearly the grounds for appeal, within 7 calendar days of the original disciplinary decision being advised to the employee in writing i.e. within 7 days of them receiving their outcome letter. Appeals in respect of written warnings and final written warnings will be heard by the next level of line management from the manager responsible for the decision under appeal (who will be someone not previously involved in the case). Such appeals will be heard within 7 calendar days of receipt of the appeal letter, where practicable. Employees have the same right of accompaniment at an appeal hearing as set out above in respect of disciplinary meeting. Disciplinary and Grievance Policy Page 5 of 11 June 2015

6 2.12. Dismissal Appeal Appeals against dismissal will be considered and heard by a senior manager (this must be someone other than the person who took the decision to dismiss) and where appropriate, may include the Factory General Manager / head of department, function or business unit. In addition the employee may request that an appropriate Senior Manager who is independent to their site / function or business unit hear their appeal against dismissal - where this is the case the employee must make this request in their letter of appeal. A member of the HR Department will be present at all appeals in respect of a decision to dismiss. At an Appeal Hearing, any disciplinary penalty imposed will be reviewed, but will not be increased. Employees will be informed in writing of the results of the appeal hearing as soon as reasonably practicable. Any decision in respect of an appeal will be final. Where a dismissal has occurred, any outstanding monies owed to the employee will be paid upon completion of the appeal process, or where the opportunity to appeal has been exhausted. An employee who appeals against a disciplinary decision cannot invoke the Grievance procedure in relation to the same issues that formed the subject of the disciplinary meeting so as to have his or her case heard again Overlap of Grievance and Disciplinary Procedures Where an employee raises a grievance during a disciplinary process the disciplinary process may be temporarily suspended in order to deal with the grievance. Where the grievance and disciplinary cases are related they may be dealt with concurrently. Please refer to the Grievance Policy for further guidance on Grievance handling Gross Misconduct The following list, which is not exhaustive, provides examples of offences that could be regarded as gross misconduct and would normally lead to summary dismissal unless there are genuine mitigating circumstances that may be taken into account: Theft, fraud, deliberate falsification of records Fighting, assault or threatened assault / behaviour harassment, or bullying on another person Deliberate damage to Company property, any act of vandalism Conviction for a criminal offence which is likely to affect the reputation/ interest of the Company /employees Incapability through alcohol, consumption of Alcohol on site, or having in possession alcohol whilst on site Incapability through drugs / substances or being in possession of illegal drugs / substances whilst on site Serious negligence, which causes unacceptable loss, damage or injury Smoking on Company premises other than in authorised areas Walking off the job or leaving the Company premises without prior permission or authority Disciplinary and Grievance Policy Page 6 of 11 June 2015

7 Serious act of insubordination or failure to comply with a reasonable request from a Line Manager or Supervisor Bullying and harassment, including on the grounds of sex, race, disability, religion or belief, sexual orientation or age Gross breach of Company hygiene or Health & Safety regulations Unauthorised entry to computer records and improper use of or Internet services Unauthorised possession of Company property Gross abuse of Company property Wilful disclosure of any confidential information relating to the Company s business to a 3 rd party, unless it is a protected disclosure under the Public Interest Disclosure Act Demanding/accepting/offering financial or other inducements to/from employees or 3 rd parties Conduct that violates decency or morality Gambling on Company property Please note that for the purposes of the above list, the definitions of Alcohol and Drugs are as set out below: Alcohol: specifically means any ethyl-alcohol product, which, if consumed, has the capacity to induce intoxication. Drugs: extends to all controlled drugs contained in the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 and specifically includes: opiates, including heroin; hallucinogens, including marijuana; cocaine; any prescription drug, including amphetamines and barbiturates, which is not obtained and used under a lawfully issued prescription or which is not authorised by the Company Employee Health & Wellbeing Departments, and any over the counter medicine or any other Substance including solvents which are deliberately misused so as to impair the individual. The above list is not intended to be exhaustive. For further information regarding the Company s policy and associated processes relating to Drugs and Alcohol, including the process for for cause testing please refer to the Substance Abuse Policy. If, following completion of the investigation and disciplinary meeting, the Company is satisfied that gross misconduct has occurred, the result may be summary dismissal without notice or payment in lieu of notice Disciplinary Sanctions Informal Counselling Very minor breaches of conduct or unsatisfactory behaviour will be dealt with by the employee s immediate manager/supervisor through an informal counselling meeting. Details may be recorded, and the employee will be informed of the steps to be taken to improve conduct or behaviour and how this will be monitored and the consequences of failing to improve within a specified time period. The Informal Counselling will remain current for a period of 3 months after which time it will be discarded for issues relating to conduct or behaviour. However, in exceptional circumstances relating to issues such as bullying, harassment and discrimination the Informal Counselling may remain current for a longer period of time. Where this is the case the employee will be informed of this in writing. Disciplinary and Grievance Policy Page 7 of 11 June 2015

8 Where the matter is more serious or where the employee has failed to improve his/her conduct or behaviour, formal action may be taken, as detailed below First Written Warning Where conduct or behaviour does not meet acceptable standards the employee may be given a First Written Warning by the appropriate Line Manager or Supervisor. If an offence of a different nature occurs whilst the warning for the first offence is still live, the decision whether to impose a higher disciplinary sanction will depend on the specific circumstances of the case. Details of the complaint, the improvement required, the timescale for such improvement and a review date will be provided to the employee, with confirmation that a Second Written Warning will be considered if there is no sustained satisfactory improvement. Confirmation in writing will be given to the employee and a copy will be kept on the employee s personnel file. The warning will remain live for 3 months after which time it would be deemed spent and be disregarded for future disciplinary purposes. At all Disciplinary Meetings, the employee will have the right to be accompanied by a trade union representative, a trade union official or work colleague ( companion ). The employee concerned will also be advised of his/her right of Appeal and details of the appeal process Second Written Warning In more serious cases of misconduct - or if a further offence occurs or the employee continues to fail to meet acceptable standards of conduct the employee may be given a Second Written Warning by the appropriate Line Manager or Supervisor. If an offence of a different nature occurs whilst the warning for the second offence is still live, the decision whether to impose a higher a higher disciplinary sanction will depend on the specific circumstances of the case. Details of the complaint, the improvement required, the timescale for such improvement and a review date will be provided to the employee, with confirmation that a Final Written Warning will be considered if there is no sustained satisfactory improvement. The warning will remain live for 6 months after which time it will be deemed spent and be disregarded for future disciplinary purposes. At all Disciplinary Meetings, the employee will have the right to be accompanied by a trade union representative, a trade union official or work colleague ( companion ) The employee concerned will also be advised of his/her right of Appeal and details of the appeal process Final Written Warning If there is still a failure to improve conduct or behaviour or the misconduct is sufficiently serious to warrant a Final Written Warning, but insufficiently serious to justify dismissal, a Final Written Warning may be given to the employee (following a disciplinary meeting). Disciplinary and Grievance Policy Page 8 of 11 June 2015

9 This will provide details of the complaint and improvement required, the timescale and review date, and will warn that if there is no sustained satisfactory improvement then further disciplinary action could result in the employee s employment being terminated. A copy of the final written warning will be placed on the employee s personnel file. The warning will remain live for 9 months after which time it will be deemed spent and be disregarded for future disciplinary purposes. At all Disciplinary Meetings, the employee will have the right to be accompanied by a trade union representative, a trade union official or work colleague ( companion ). The employee concerned will also be advised of his/her right of Appeal and details of the appeal process Dismissal If the conduct or behaviour is still unsatisfactory and the employee still fails to reach the prescribed standards or the employee commits an act of gross misconduct, Dismissal may result following a full disciplinary process i.e. investigation and a full disciplinary meeting. The appropriate department Senior Manager will chair dismissal hearings. In the event of dismissal, the employee will be provided with a written statement informing of the reasons for dismissal, the date on which employment will terminate, the appropriate notice period and details of the appeal process. Other than in cases of gross misconduct, the employee may be given pay in lieu of his/her contractual notice if the dismissal is immediate Summary Dismissal Where an employee s misconduct is so serious it is considered to be gross misconduct, an employee may be dismissed summarily following a full disciplinary process i.e. investigation, and a full disciplinary meeting. This means that employment will be terminated with immediate effect and no period of notice or pay in lieu of notice will be given. The employee concerned will also be advised of his/her right of Appeal and details of the appeal process Other Penalties Demotion may be considered as an alternative to dismissal for acts of gross misconduct or repeated acts of misconduct. The occasions when these will be used as an alternative to dismissal will be rare, but this will depend on the circumstances of the case. If these penalties are considered, the employee will be informed of the possibility of their use in advance of the hearing. The above penalties are not exhaustive, and other penalties may be considered, as appropriate. The employee concerned will also be advised of his/her right of Appeal and details of the appeal process. Disciplinary and Grievance Policy Page 9 of 11 June 2015

10 3. Grievance Policy 3.1. Aims of Policy To ensure that employee Grievances are managed promptly and treated fairly and consistently at the lowest level possible within the Company. Anyone wishing to use the Grievance procedure can do so freely and without prejudice to his or her position within the Company Responsibilities It is the responsibility of Line Managers to ensure that appropriate communication processes are established so that all employees are aware of the Companies Grievance procedures In the first instance an employee should raise any Grievance informally by discussing the Grievance issue with a Line Manager The employee must set out the nature of the Grievance in writing If a complaint is upheld the Company will take the required action to achieve an improvement in the conduct of the perpetrator or in the circumstances that form the subject of the Grievance 3.3. Individual Grievances - Informal Discussion It is hoped that any problems or difficulties faced at work can be easily resolved on an informal basis during the day-to-day contact with the Line Manager or, with another member of management. If an employee s grievance cannot be resolved in an informal way, the following formal procedure will apply: 3.4. Individual Grievances Formal Grievance Procedure The employee must set out their Grievance in writing ( Statement of Grievance ) without unreasonable delay and submit to their Line Manager unless the Grievance is relating to the Line Manager where by this would be sent to the site HRBP. All complaints will be dealt with confidentially and no action will be taken against any employee without first investigating the basis for any allegations. The employee will be invited to attend a Grievance Meeting in order to discuss their Grievance and record the details of the issue. The Grievance meeting should aim to be scheduled within 7 calendar days of receiving the Grievance in writing and where practical a member of the HR department will be present. As per the Disciplinary Policy the employee is entitled to the Right of Accompaniment. The manager conducting the grievance hearing will aim to confirm in writing his/her decision regarding the grievance, within 7 calendar days of the meeting or as soon as is reasonably practicable, thereafter. Where appropriate, this will also set out what action the Company intends to take to resolve the grievance. If after investigation, it is found that the instigation of the complaint was made in bad faith (e.g. intentionally malicious), the employee raising the complaint may be subject to disciplinary action. Disciplinary and Grievance Policy Page 10 of 11 June 2015

11 3.5. Appeal If the employee feels their grievance has not been satisfactorily resolved or if the employee is dissatisfied with the outcome, he/she may appeal, setting out the grounds for their appeal, in writing to the next level of management or their site, function or business unit HR Business Partner, within 7 calendar days of receiving the decision. The manager will arrange to hear the grievance at a meeting within 7 calendar days, or as soon as is reasonably practicable, thereafter. The time and place of the meeting will be notified to the employee in advance. Following the hearing the manager will respond in writing within 7 calendar days, or as soon as is reasonably practicable, thereafter. If more time is required the employee will be given an explanation for the delay and will be advised when a response can be expected. This is the final stage of the Individual Grievance Procedure. The decision given at this stage will be final Collective Grievance Grievances raised on behalf of more than one employee will also follow the Individual Grievance Procedure in the first instance, with the final stage being heard by the Factory General Manager, or equivalent. In the event of agreement not being reached at site level, the matter will be referred to the Manufacturing or relevant functional HR Business Partner who will, in consultation with the relevant Trade Union Regional Officer, determine the appropriate steps to be taken. Any matter unresolved at this level will be referred to the UK Manufacturing or Functional Director (who will consult with the appropriate National Officer and HR Director/ Company Management) in order to consider what further steps should be taken within the Company. 4. Additional Policy Information For issues relating to illegal acts or corporate malpractice, please refer to the Whistle blowing policy and procedures. 5. Further Information i. Equal Opportunities ii. Dignity at work iii. Time-off iv. Whistle blowing v. Data Protection vi. Manager s Guidance Notes vii. Employee Information Sheets viii. Attendance Management Policy ix. Performance Improvement Policy x. Substance Abuse Policy Disciplinary and Grievance Policy Page 11 of 11 June 2015

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