1.0 Purpose and scope
This procedure is designed to help and encourage all employees to achieve and maintain standards of conduct, attendance, and job performance. This procedure applies to all employees. The aim is to ensure consistent disciplinary procedures for all in the organization.
Counseling will be offered, where appropriate, to resolve problems. No disciplinary action will be taken against an employee until the case has been fully investigated. At every stage in the procedure, the employee will be advised of the nature of the complaint against him or her and will be given the opportunity to state his or her case before any decision is made. The procedure may be implemented at any stage if the employee’s alleged misconduct warrants such action. The minimum three-step statutory procedures will be followed if an employee faces dismissal or certain kinds of action short of dismissal.
3.0 The Procedure
Stage 1 – improvement note: unsatisfactory performance
If performance does not meet acceptable standards the employee will normally be given an improvement note. This will set out the performance problem, the improvement that is required, the timescale, and any help that may be given. The individual will be advised that it constitutes the first stage of the formal procedure. A record of the improvement note will be kept for 6 months, but will then be considered spent – subject to achievement and sustainment of satisfactory performance.
Stage 2 – First warning: misconduct
If the conduct does not meet acceptable standards the employee will normally be given a written warning. This will set out the nature of the misconduct and the change in behavior required. The warning should also inform the employee that a final written warning may be considered if there is no sustained satisfactory improvement or change. A record of the warning should be kept, but it should be disregarded for disciplinary purposes after a specified period (eg, six months).
Stage 3: Final written warning
If the offense is sufficiently serious, or there is a failure to improve during the currency of a prior warning for the same type of offense, a final written warning may be given to the employee. This will give details of the complaint, the improvement required, and the timescale. It will also warn that failure to improve may lead to action under Stage 3 (dismissal or some other action short of dismissal), and will refer to the right of appeal. A copy of this written warning will be kept by the supervisor but will be disregarded for disciplinary purposes after 6 months subject to achievement and sustainment of satisfactory conduct or performance.
Stage 4 – dismissal or other sanction
If there is still a failure to improve the final step in the procedure may be dismissal or some other action short of dismissal such as demotion or disciplinary suspension or transfer (as allowed in the contract of employment). Dismissal decisions can only be taken by the appropriate senior manager, and the employee will be provided, as soon as reasonably practicable, with written reasons for dismissal, the date on which the employment will terminate, and the right of appeal. The decision to dismiss will be confirmed in writing. If some sanction short of dismissal is imposed, the employee will receive details of the complaint, will be warned that dismissal could result if there is no satisfactory improvement, and will be advised of the right of appeal. A copy of the written warning will be kept by the supervisor but will be disregarded for disciplinary purposes after 6 months subject to achievement and sustainment of satisfactory conduct or performance.
Statutory discipline and dismissal procedure
If an employee faces dismissal – or certain action short of dismissals such as loss of pay or demotion – the minimum statutory procedure will be followed. This involves:
Step one: a written note to the employee setting out the allegation and the basis for it
Step two: a meeting to consider and discuss the allegation
- Step three: a right of appeal including an appeal meeting.
The employee will be reminded of their right to be accompanied.
The following list provides examples of offenses that are normally regarded as gross misconduct:
- theft, fraud, deliberate falsification of records
- fighting, assault on another person
- deliberate damage to organizational property
- serious incapability through alcohol or being under the influence of illegal drugs
- serious negligence which causes unacceptable loss, damage, or injury
- a serious act of insubordination
- unauthorized entry to computer records.
If you are accused of an act of gross misconduct, you may be suspended from work on full pay, normally for no more than five working days, while the alleged offense is investigated. If on completion of the investigation and the full disciplinary procedure, the organization is satisfied that gross misconduct has occurred, the result will normally be summary dismissal without notice or payment in lieu of notice.
An employee who wishes to appeal against a disciplinary decision must do so within five working days. The senior manager will hear all appeals and his/her decision is final. At the appeal, any disciplinary penalty imposed will be reviewed.
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