Disciplinary policy and procedures

Purpose

The purpose of these procedures is to ensure the safe and effective operation of our organisation and the fair and equal treatment of all employees.

Good management will communicate its expectations effectively to employees and, in turn, listen to their needs and expectations. We seek an environment of mutual co-operation and understanding in meeting the aims and mission of Lara Nichols. Informal means of discussion, communication and counselling will be used to resolve issues wherever possible.

Where they cannot be resolved by these means then Lara Nichols, at its discretion, may involve a third party. This will be someone who can be seen as independent and may come from outside our organisation.

Where more serious conflict arises between the expectations of employer and employee these procedures are designed to resolve issues in a fair and equitable manner. Where Lara Nichols feels they have a complaint against you the disciplinary procedure will be invoked. Behaviour that could give rise to such a complaint is outlined in the section on misconduct. If you feel you have a complaint against Lara Nichols you should raise a grievance. The method of doing so is outlined in the section on grievance procedure.

These procedures apply to all employees of Lara Nichols whether they are part-time or full-time, permanent or temporary employees. However, if during the first three months of service or any probationary period (which may be extended), you fail to achieve satisfactory levels of behaviour or performance Lara Nichols may, at its discretion, omit some of the stages in this procedure, however there will always be at least one formal disciplinary meeting prior to any dismissal.

There is no requirement within our procedures for a grievance procedure to be concluded before a disciplinary procedure can be commenced.

General principles

This procedure does not form part of your contract of employment.

No disciplinary action, will be taken against you until any necessary investigations have been carried out to establish the facts. In some extreme cases, where gross misconduct is suspected for example, you might be suspended pending the outcome of investigations. Such suspension would be with pay, a neutral act and not an assumption of guilt. Where practicable, different people will carry out the investigation and disciplinary hearing.

All stages of the procedure will be implemented without undue delay.

At every stage in the procedure you will be informed in writing of the nature of the complaint against you and will be given the opportunity to state your case before any decisions are made.

Following a decision, you will be informed in writing of any disciplinary action to be taken (or if not, that such action is not being taken) and the reason for action, indicating the specific areas of improvement required within, where appropriate, a specific period.

You will not be dismissed for a first breach of discipline except in the case of gross misconduct (see the relevant section) when the penalty will be dismissal without notice and without payment in lieu of notice.

A work colleague, certified Trade Union Representative or employed Trade Union Official may accompany you during any disciplinary meeting and you will probably find this helpful.

The procedure may be implemented at any stage if your alleged misconduct warrants such action. Further warnings for misconduct may be applied even if the further misconduct is of a different nature to the previous misconduct.

You have the right to appeal against any disciplinary action imposed.

Procedure

You will be advised of the date for any disciplinary meeting. You will be given at least 24 hours notice, unless we mutually agree that we should have an earlier meeting. We will tell you in writing what you are alleged to have done and provide you with details of the evidence available to us. We will also notify you of the possible consequences.

At such a meeting we will present the allegations against you. You will have an opportunity to set out your case and to answer any allegations. You may offer any mitigating circumstances that might be taken into account. This will be done before any decision is made.

In complex cases where it is relevant to call witnesses we will give you advance notice or, if you wish to call witnesses you should give us advance notice.

These points apply at all stages of the procedure.

Those taking the meeting will adjourn it to consider their decision. If it is decided that no action is to be taken, the matter will be closed.

Stage 1 – Written warning

If it is decided that your conduct or performance is unsatisfactory you may be given a WRITTEN WARNING. This will give the details of the complaint, the improvements required and the timescale for the improvement, depending on the nature of the offence. You will be informed that this is the 1st stage of the formal disciplinary procedure and the consequences should the required improvement not be made. You will be informed of your right to appeal. A copy of the written warning will be kept on your personnel file, but it will be spent for disciplinary purposes after 6 months subject to satisfactory conduct and performance. However, should there be any recurrence of the offence or commission of a subsequent but different offence whilst the note remains on your file, then stage 2 of the disciplinary procedure may be invoked.

Stage 2 – Final written warning

If there is still failure to improve and your conduct or performance is still unsatisfactory, or there is any other breach of discipline there will be a further meeting (if the misconduct is sufficiently serious to warrant only one written warning but insufficiently serious to justify dismissal this will be a first meeting). Depending on the outcome of the meeting you may be given a FINAL WRITTEN WARNING. This will give details of the complaint, and the improvement required. It will warn you that dismissal may result if there is no satisfactory improvement (within a specified period, if appropriate). You will also be informed of your right to appeal. A copy of this final written warning will be kept on your personnel file for one year. However, should there be any recurrence of the offence or commission of a subsequent but different offence whilst the note remains on your file, then stage 3 of the disciplinary procedure may be invoked.

Stage 3 – Dismissal

If your conduct or performance is still unsatisfactory and you still fail to reach the prescribed standards, or there is any other breach of discipline, there will be a further meeting. DISMISSAL will normally result. You will be provided, as soon as reasonably practicable with the date on which your employment will terminate and informed of your right of appeal.

Appeal

You have the right to appeal against any disciplinary penalty imposed. You should appeal to the Managing Director in writing, within 5 working days, stating the grounds for your appeal. You may feel that the penalty imposed is too harsh or that you were not given opportunity to explain a particular aspect of your case.

At our discretion we may involve a mediator from either within Lara Nichols or potentially from outside. Their remit will be to try to resolve the problem to your satisfaction and the satisfaction of Lara Nichols.

If mediation does not succeed then you will be invited to an appeal meeting and may be accompanied by a work colleague, certified Trade Union Representative or employed Trade Union Official. As far as is possible in a small organisation, such an appeal will be fair and impartial. Although new evidence will be considered if it is relevant, an appeal is not necessarily a re-hearing. After the appeal hearing you will be informed of the final decision.

Gross misconduct – dismissal without notice

Gross misconduct is an offence of such a serious nature that your employment contract can be regarded as breached.

If gross misconduct is alleged, you may, at the discretion of Lara Nichols be suspended on full pay for five days pending completion of an investigation.

If you cannot attend a disciplinary hearing because of some reason outside the control of Lara Nichols then continuing suspension beyond five days will be without pay, unless it is due to your sickness.

If it is established, after investigation, that there has been an act of gross misconduct, you may be dismissed summarily, with no notice or pay in lieu of notice. We will only make a decision to dismiss following an appropriate meeting with you.

Circumstances that may give rise to an allegation of gross misconduct are described in the section Gross misconduct.

In the event of summary dismissal, you will be deemed to be no longer in employment from the date of the decision.

We will set out in writing the alleged misconduct that has led to the dismissal and your right to appeal against the dismissal. We will send this to you.

If you do wish to appeal you must inform the Managing Director, in writing, within 5 working days stating the grounds for your appeal.

In such cases you will be invited to attend a meeting. You must make all reasonable attempts to attend the meeting.

Should an appeal be lodged which subsequently overturns the initial dismissal, reinstatement will occur with appropriate back-pay to the date of the initial decision. Under such circumstances continuous service will be maintained.

Every attempt is made to hear appeals within five working days from the date of the written appeal being lodged, or as soon thereafter as is practical.

We will inform you of the final decision in writing.

 

This policy was last reviewed in October 2017