Disciplinary and Grievance policy
This policy aims to allow matters to be dealt with as speedily as possible but not at the expense of conducting a fair and proper procedure in each case.
1. At a disciplinary meeting, you will be told of the complaint and given the opportunity to state your case.
2. You have the right to be accompanied by a work colleague or a trade union representative at a disciplinary meeting.
1. Minor breaches of standards will usually be dealt with informally between you and your line manager by way of a private conversation (“an informal warning”)
2. If the Centre manager believes that you have committed a serious breach of standard or you have failed to improve following an informal warning, the Centre manager will carry out an investigation, as far as reasonably practicable in all the circumstances, before deciding whether to initiate disciplinary proceedings.
3. If the Centre manager believes that there is evidence that the alleged breach of standards has taken place, you will be asked to attend a disciplinary meeting.
4. Following the disciplinary meeting, all the evidence will be considered carefully. If the person conducting the hearing considers that your work or conduct justifies you being disciplined the Centre manager will impose one of the following disciplinary penalties on you, depending on the seriousness of the offence:
a. formal verbal warning
b. first written warning
c. final written warning
d. dismissal on notice
e. dismissal without notice.
Role of Companion / Trade Union Representative
The role of a companion or trade union representative whom you ask to join you at a disciplinary meeting is:
1. To assist you in stating your case but not to represent you in your absence or answer questions on your behalf
2. To be satisfied that the meeting is being conducted fairly
3. To request an adjournment when he/she believes it is necessary
4. To take notes, at your request
5. To be a witness in case of any subsequent disagreement as to what transpired at the meeting.
1. The extent of the investigation will depend on the nature of the breach and the information already available to the Centre manager.
2. The Centre manager may decide that it is necessary to suspend you pending investigation into the alleged breach.
3. Such suspension will be on full pay and will be for as short duration as possible, depending on all the circumstances.
4. You have the right to be accompanied by a companion or trade union representative (in accordance with The Employment Relations Act 1999).
5. The purpose of the interview will be to attempt to clarify the facts surrounding an alleged breach of standard.
Use of Findings
6. If these investigations lead to a disciplinary meeting, it will be open to you to challenge the accuracy of any information obtained.
7. You will be invited to explain your side of the story and refute the evidence of any witnesses at the disciplinary meeting.
1. In normal circumstances and if time allows you will be notified in writing of:
• The time and place of the meeting
• Who is to conduct the meeting and who else may be present (at all disciplinary meetings a member of the Board will either conduct the meeting or be present at it)
• The nature of the alleged breach(es) of standards
• The right to be accompanied at the meeting by a companion or trade union representative
2. The Centre manager will give you as much notice of the disciplinary meeting as is reasonable in the circumstances in order to allow you sufficient time to prepare your case.
3. If the Centre manager intends to rely on documents the Centre manager will endeavour to provide these prior to the meeting. The Centre manager will limit access to such documentation if this is necessary in order to preserve confidentiality for other employees.
4. You may ask that the meeting be postponed. Such request must be in writing with an explanation as to why the Centre manager should postpone the meeting. The Centre manager may grant or refuse a postponement at its absolute discretion but will not act unreasonably.
5. Conduct of the meeting
6. The Centre manager will usually arrange for a note of the meeting to be taken.
7. The Centre manager will state the allegations against you.
8. You will then have the chance to explain your side of the story, call any witnesses to support your case and ask any relevant questions.
9. The Centre manager may then call witnesses or simply rely on its findings.
10. If the Centre manager produces documents at the meeting you will be given the opportunity to read and consider them.
11. You may ask to cross-examine the Centre manager’s witnesses if any. The Centre manager may refuse such a request if there are any reasonable grounds for doing so.
12. The meeting may be adjourned if the Centre manager considers that further investigation is required before reaching a decision.
13. The disciplinary meeting will be reconvened on reasonable notice after the further investigations have been carried out.
14. You will be provided with a copy of any new statements or documents upon which the Centre manager intends to rely. Again, you will be given the opportunity to explain your case.
15. Once all the evidence has been heard, the meeting will usually be adjourned to allow the person conducting the meeting sufficient time to consider all the evidence. The length of adjournment will therefore depend on each case.
Communication of decision
16. You will usually be informed orally of the Centre manager’s decision.
17. You will also be given the reason for the decision and told the type of disciplinary penalty which is to be imposed.
18. The Centre manager may also discuss with you what improvements it expects from you, how your progress will be assessed and what other action needs to be taken, for example, training.
19. The Centre manager’s decision will be confirmed in writing to you and a copy will be kept on your personnel file.
Range of Disciplinary Penalties
Formal Verbal Warning
A formal verbal warning will normally be given to you by the Centre manager for the purpose of bringing a disciplinary matter to your notice with a view to clarification and improvement. The formal verbal warning will be recorded on your personnel file and will normally be kept on your file for up to six months.
First Written Warning
Where your conduct fails to be of the required standard without satisfactory explanation, usually following a formal verbal warning but also where the nature of the offence or conduct warrants it, a first written warning will be administered which will be recorded on your personnel file and in a letter to you. The warning will specify a period of time, up to twelve months, within which your performance must improve and during which time the warning will be kept on your personnel file. The warning will be disregarded after that period provided there has been no further case for complaint in the interim.
Final Written Warning
Where your conduct has been continually unsatisfactory without a satisfactory explanation, usually where you have received a first written warning but also where the nature of the offence or conduct warrants it, you will receive a final written warning. The warning will specify a period of time within which your performance must improve otherwise you risk being dismissed. At the end of the period, your conduct will be reviewed. Depending on whether your conduct or performance has been satisfactory the warning will lapse. The Centre manager may decide that the warning should remain on your personnel file. If so it will usually remain for 24 months but could remain for a longer period or indefinitely if appropriate in the circumstances.
You may be dismissed where your performance is wholly unsatisfactory and usually this will occur when there has been no improvement after you have received reasonable warnings as appropriate or where you have committed an act of serious misconduct that makes continued employment with the Centre manager impossible.
Dismissal will be with or without notice depending on the circumstances.
Dismissal without Notice
1. Gross misconduct is of such a nature that the Centre manager is justified in taking the view that the relationship between you and the Centre manager has irretrievably broken down as a result of your conduct. In such circumstances the Centre manager is entitled to dismiss you without notice, irrespective of whether you have been disciplined before.
2. You should note that if you are dismissed for gross misconduct you will forfeit the right to any pay in lieu of notice and accrued holiday pay (if any).
3. The following are examples of gross misconduct offences, which may render you liable to dismissal without notice. This list is not exhaustive.
• Fighting, physical assault or horseplay
• Under the influence of alcohol or drugs (non-medical supplied) during working hours
• Gross insubordination or the use of aggressive behaviour or excessive bad language on Company premises or areas of work.
• Theft, wilful damage or negligence, which leads to damage to property belonging to the Company, its customers, suppliers or other associates.
• Fraud or falsification of records
• Breach of safety rules and/or actions which seriously endanger the health and/or safety of another person whilst at work or on Company property
• Divulging to any persons any confidential information relating to the Company’s activities.
• Sexual or racial harassment
• Actions resulting in a conviction of a criminal offence (other than driving)
4. If you disagree with the action taken and/or the disciplinary penalty imposed by the Centre manager, in relation to both conduct and performance, you have a right to appeal within 2 working days of the disciplinary hearing.
5. The appeal must be made in writing and addressed to the Principal of the Company.
6. The appeal will normally be heard by a person who will not have had any previous involvement in the original decision.
7. A formal meeting to hear the appeal will normally be held within 7 working days of receipt of the appeal, subject to the work commitments of the person hearing the appeal, and the employee will be given at least 48 hours’ notice of the time and the place of the hearing.
8. The Centre manager will notify you of the procedure, which will be adopted. The appeal will either be a complete re-hearing or a review of the evidence, which was given at the disciplinary meeting, whichever the Centre manager considers appropriate.
9. You are entitled to be accompanied by a companion or trade union representative.
10. The person conducting the appeal may deal with the matter as he/she thinks fit. This may involve him/her reducing, increasing or overturning the disciplinary penalty imposed.
11. If a decision to dismiss is confirmed, the date of termination will be the original date of dismissal not the date of the appeal decision.
13. The outcome of the hearing will usually be relayed to you orally. You will be notified as soon as possible, having regard to the need for the person hearing the appeal to give proper consideration to his/her decision, and shall be confirmed subsequently in writing.
14. The decision will be final.
The Company recognises that from time to time you may wish to seek redress for grievances relating to your employment. In this respect, the Company’s policy is to encourage free communication between you and the Centre manager and the Board to ensure that questions and problems arising during the course of employment can be aired and, where possible, resolved quickly and to the satisfaction of all concerned. To this end, the following procedure should be adopted where you have a grievance arising from your employment, except where the matter constitutes an appeal against a disciplinary decision which should be taken up in accordance with the Company’s separate disciplinary appeals procedure.
1. You should initially raise the matter in writing/orally with the Centre manager, who will record details of the grievance. This should be done in confidence. After due consideration the Centre manager will give a decision, if possible within five working days of the matter being raised.
2. Should you remain dissatisfied with the decision you may discuss the matter with one or two members of the Board who will obtain the Centre manager’s record of the grievance, will record any additional information and will reconsider the matter. A decision will be given if possible within five working days of the date of referral.
3. At any stage in this procedure, you may be accompanied by a workplace colleague of your choice.