Disciplinary Procedure

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1 Approved by: Date of approval: November 2014 Originator: Helen Garfield, Chief Executive Officer Policy Area Human Resources Aim and Scope of Procedure The main aim of this procedure is to assist staff in circumstances where their work performance or general conduct falls below the recognised and acceptable standard. In these circumstances, utilisation of this procedure may, if successful, bring about an improvement so that the member of staff returns to their former level of performance or work. The procedure sets out a clear and agreed framework to enable disciplinary matters to be dealt with properly and fairly. Staff Responsibilities Chairman Directors/Chief Executive Officer Overall responsibility for ensuring that the is in place Responsible for ensuring that the is in line with BIS guidance for employers and current legislation. Responsible for ensuring that all staff are made aware of the as part of their induction. Responsible for the implementation of the. Ref: HR0004 Page 1 of 6 Revision due by: 11/17

2 DISCIPLINARY PROCEDURE Principles Breaches of rules will be investigated before any disciplinary action is taken. The extent of the investigation will depend on the circumstances of each case, with a view to achieving a balance between minimising delay and undue concern with a need to ensure that all relevant information is considered before a final decision is made. A hearing will usually take place prior to any formal warning given, although this may not always be possible. Reasonable timescales will be adhered to for any investigation or hearing, wherever possible, unless there are extenuating circumstances or where an extension is required. The timing and location of meetings will be reasonable and meetings will be conducted in a manner that allows both parties to explain their respective cases appropriately. Employees are expected to use their best efforts to attend hearings when requested to do so. If the employee is unable to attend a meeting he/she should explain this immediately to the CEO or Directors. At every stage of the procedure employees will be advised of the precise nature of the complaint against them and be given the opportunity to state their case before any decision is made. Legal representation from external parties for the employee at disciplinary hearings is not permitted; the disciplinary procedure/appeal is an internal process. A trade union representative or Hospice employee is permitted to attend. The Hospice may choose to commence the disciplinary process at any stage, depending on the severity of the case. Employees will be notified of their right to be accompanied at disciplinary hearings. Employees have the right of appeal against any disciplinary penalty imposed. There is no authority to sanction dismissal below CEO or Director Level. Ref: HR0004 Page 2 of 6 Revision due by: 11/17

3 The Process The various stages of the disciplinary procedure are set out below. Not all stages will be applicable in all of the circumstances but each case will be considered on its own merits. 1. Meetings The Line Manager may meet with the employee to explain the allegations in the first instance and explain the basis of any investigation to be carried out. Where appropriate, an investigatory meeting will be held with the employee so that an initial assessment of the situation can be ascertained. Where an investigation is deemed appropriate, the issues will be investigated by an appropriate manager or senior manager to ensure impartiality and reduce any potential conflicts of interest. 2. Investigation The purpose of any investigation is to determine whether an employee is in breach of the acceptable standards of conduct, performance, behaviour or attitude. Where appropriate, the investigating manager will interview the employee and any other relevant parties in order to gather the facts, and where necessary and appropriate, to produce a management report. Another member of staff where possible, may be present to act as a note taker during the investigation meeting. The employee has a right to be accompanied at this meeting either by a Trade Union representative or a hospice employee. Any investigation should be fully documented and include any written statements which may have been obtained from witnesses where necessary. All the information gathered should be treated as confidential. The facts gathered from the investigation will be used to establish whether there are grounds to arrange a disciplinary hearing and if there is at what level it should be instigated. It will also allow for any mitigating circumstances to be taken into account. If the disciplinary hearing is not called there may be a need for formal counselling and advice to rectify any behaviour or performance concerns. If there are sufficient grounds to warrant a disciplinary hearing the employee will receive written notification of the need to attend a hearing, a copy of this procedure and the evidence against them. Ref: HR0004 Page 3 of 6 Revision due by: 11/17

4 3. Suspension Suspension can be considered where there is a risk the employee, by being at work, may interfere with the investigation, or if there is a risk to the Hospice s property, other employees health and safety, where there is a risk to themselves, or where relationships have broken down or for any other reason deemed appropriate by the Hospice. Any periods of suspension pending a disciplinary hearing will normally be on full pay. Whilst suspended, employees must not attend the Hospice premises, and should make themselves available should the Hospice need to contact them by letter or phone or should they ask an employee to return to work. If an employee becomes unavailable for work during the period of suspension (for example by being sick or away on holiday), then the suspension will end until they are again available for work (should the investigation not be completed by this time). The pay for that period, if any, will reflect the reason for absence. Where the investigating manager believes that, either prior to the investigation or following the investigation, suspension is an appropriate course of action, they should contact CEO or Directors for further advice. Suspension is not taken lightly and will only occur with prior approval from the CEO or Directors. The CEO or Directors role at this stage will be to assess the reasonableness. 4. Hearing A hearing for all breaches of the rules will be convened as soon as is reasonably practicable and before any decision is made. No warnings should be given to employees without a formal hearing. The manager will notify the individual of the hearing date and details of the allegation(s) in writing. The employee will also be notified of their right to be accompanied and/or represented at the hearing. In addition, the employee will be provided with a copy of the facts gained from the investigation (i.e. management report where applicable) within a reasonable period of time prior to the date of the hearing. If the disciplinary date is not convenient for the employee, they should contact their Line Manager as soon as possible. There is no statutory right to request a postponement from the date originally set for the disciplinary hearing and such requests will only be considered in exceptional circumstances. A subsequent date will be arranged and if the employee fails to attend, the hearing will continue in their absence. Furthermore, a disciplinary hearing may take place in the absence of the employee in certain circumstances where in the opinion of the chair of the hearing, there is no alternative but to proceed in this way. Ref: HR0004 Page 4 of 6 Revision due by: 11/17

5 Hearings are usually chaired by the CEO, a Director or a member of the senior management team. Hearings convened to consider acts which could potentially amount to gross misconduct of the rules should normally be chaired by the CEO or one of the Directors. A notetaker will usually be present. Where the CEO, Directors or manager has carried out the investigation, every effort will be made so that they do not chair the disciplinary hearing. However, in some circumstances this may not be practically possible and thus one person may perform the investigation and chair the disciplinary hearing. The employee will be notified in writing of their right to be represented at the hearing. The employee must inform the Hospice of the name of any representative before the hearing. The representative can be a current hospice employee or a Trade Union Representative/Official who is certified to attend disciplinary hearings. The Hospice reserves the right to seek evidence of certification. Each case will be considered on its own merits and in consultation with the CEO or Directors. The purpose of the hearing is to explore the allegations of misconduct or gross misconduct. The employee will be given the opportunity to respond to the allegations against him/her. In reaching the decision the panel will take into account the conduct, performance, attitude, employment history, and other mitigating factors presented by the employee. The outcome of the disciplinary hearing will be confirmed in writing to the employee. The letter will state the employee s right to appeal and any improvements required and include the associated timescales. 5. Disciplinary Outcomes This section sets out the sanctions that will normally be applied if the Hospice finds, following the appropriate formal procedure, that an employee has committed an act of misconduct or gross misconduct. The range of possible outcomes below is a guide and the Hospice may vary this procedure. The Hospice reserves the right to omit any stage if it considers that is appropriate to the individual circumstances. Case not proven Written Warning - stays active on the employee file for 9 months Final Warning - stays active on the employee file for a minimum of 12 months Demotion - permanent Dismissal After the above time periods have expired, and in the absence of any further disciplinary issues arising during these time periods, the disciplinary warnings will normally be disregarded in respect of any future disciplinary matters. During the active time the employee s performance/conduct will be monitored and the Hospice reserves the right Ref: HR0004 Page 5 of 6 Revision due by: 11/17

6 to extend the period if there has not been a significant improvement in the performance/conduct. 6. Demotion As an alternative to the dismissal, CEO or Director may consider demotion, which would involve a reallocation of duties on a salary commensurate with the post, as an appropriate sanction. 7. Appeal Employees have the right to appeal against the decision of a disciplinary hearing. The notice of appeal should be addressed to the Chief Executive or where the CEO has held the disciplinary it should be addressed to the Chair of Trustees c/o The Hospice.. and should outline the reason(s) why the employee is appealing against the outcome of the disciplinary hearing and the likely resolution they are seeking. The appeal will normally be chaired by the CEO or one of the trustees appointed by the Chair of Trustees. The appeal hearing will be held where possible within 10 working days of the receipt of the appeal letter but this may change depending upon circumstances. The employee is entitled to representation at the appeal The representative can be a current hospice employee or a Trade Union Representative/Official who is certified to attend disciplinary hearings. The Hospice reserves the right to seek evidence of certification. A notetaker will usually be present. The decision taken by the chair of the appeal is final 8. The role of the Representative A representative may explain the employee s case, respond to any views expressed at the hearing and summarise the employee s views in relation to the proposed dismissal or disciplinary action, as relevant. A representative may not answer questions on the employee s behalf. 9. Records Records from the proceedings and outcomes of all disciplinary investigations and hearings must be forwarded to the Finance Department on completion of the procedure. References: BIS Guidance for employers Acas Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures Ref: HR0004 Page 6 of 6 Revision due by: 11/17

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