DRET Grievance Policy

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1 DRET Grievance Policy Introduction The David Ross Education Trust (the Trust) is committed to developing and maintaining positive and transparent employee relations, which enable employees to raise matters relating to their employment, in the knowledge that every effort will be made to seek a speedy and effective resolution with managers. It is therefore expected that employees and managers will make every effort to resolve issues at the earliest opportunity and at the lowest level possible in order to remedy causes of concern and improve fu ture working relationships. The Trust is committed to creating a working environment whereby employees are free to raise concerns and grievances without fear of experiencing negative treatment for having done so. This policy should be invoked where an employee feels they have a concern arising from their employment that has not been addressed. Policy Version Date Approved by Date Released to Academies Next Review Date Trustees V June September 2016 January

2 1. Objectives 1.1 The purpose of this policy is to ensure there is a unified Trust approach to dealing with grievances, so that appropriate information is presented in a standard format, is easily accessed by all staff and the process for raising and managing grievances both informally and formally is clear to all. 2. Scope 2.1 Current Employees The provisions of this policy are available to all employees, except in circumstances where: They fail to comply with the relevant time limits stated in the procedure, unless the relevant manager agrees to a particular timescale being waived. They attempt, within 6 months of the completion of any action under the provisions of this policy, to raise a further grievance about the same, or a related, matter unless any action agreed by management to resolve the previous grievance has not been implemented. The policy, can, however, be invoked in respect of a new and unrelated grievance. 2.2 Former Employees Where an employee has left the Trust but wishes to raise a grievance, a modified procedure will apply. The ex-employee must set out the basis of the grievance in writing within 28 calendar days of leaving the Trust and send it to their former line manager. 3. Equality and Diversity Statement 3.1 It is the policy of the Trust to provide all employees with a fair and transparent process for raising concerns relating to their terms and conditions of employment, thereby promoting a culture of openness and fairness. This document takes into account current employment legislation. The Trust will monitor protected characteristics statement. 4. Definitions A grievance is a concern, problem or complaint that the employee raises with their employer that relates to their terms and conditions of employment. This can include: The nature or range of the employee s duties Working practices Organisational change Contractual terms and conditions of employment Working environment Management decisions Working relationships The operation of jointly agreed policies or procedures The following items are specifically excluded from this procedure: Conditions relating to the Pension Scheme, unless the Trust has failed to make payments Job Evaluation Results (a separate appeal process is in place) Whistle blowing and / or serious concerns relating to health and safety or pupil safety Where an employee feels they are being bullied or harassed, they should refer to the Trust s bullying and harassment policy. 2

3 5. Responsibilities 5.1 Line Manager Responsibilities To ensure that employees have access to the grievance policy. To adhere to the timescales within the grievance policy to ensure that the grievance is dealt with quickly, reasonably and as fairly as possible To ensure that the informal stage is used wherever possible before any formal action is taken. To involve the appropriate HR Advisor when a grievance has been raised. To treat all employees fairly by applying the policy consistently and ensuring that any personal information is kept in complete confidence. 5.2 Employee Responsibilities To read, understand and comply with the grievance policy. To try and deal with the grievance as near as possible to the point of origin and where appropriate first approach the manager in order to discuss the problem informally. To attend meetings as required. To submit informal and formal grievances in writing using the forms detailed in Appendix Human Resources Responsibilities To assist managers and employees in the fair and consistent application of the policy To provide advice to managers concerning individual issues To facilitate informal meetings on request To provide training to managers on the application of this policy To advise the manager in presenting the management case at a hearing where necessary To provide advice and guidance to the panel of a grievance hearing / appeal To record and monitor employee grievances and report on these with reference to equal opportunities data. 6. Right to be Accompanied 6.1 All employees are entitled to be accompanied at the formal and appeal stages of this policy by a work colleague or trade union representative. The Trust will make every effort to accommodate the availability of trade union representatives and work colleagues to accompany an employee to a formal grievance hearing; however, where the representative s availability would cause an unreasonable delay, then a date for the hearing will be confirmed whereby the employee will be provided with 7 days notice intended for them to make alternative arrangements to be accompanied. 6.2 If the employee fails to attend the formal grievance hearing without explanation, or if the employee is persistently unable to or unwilling to attend without good cause, then the hearing may be conducted in their absence and a decision made on the evidence available. 7. Use of Mediation In some cases with the agreement of the respective parties mediation may be used as an alternative to the formal processes detailed in this policy. 3

4 8. Timeframe for Submitting Informal and Formal Grievances 8.1 In order for the employee s grievance to be appropriately considered it is expected that incidents that are the subject of a grievance will have occurred within the last 3 months. Similarly, if an employee has already raised a grievance and received a response to their concern, then the specifics of this will not normally be considered within any future grievance submissions unless there is significant and new evidence has been brought forward by the employee which has occurred in the last 6 months. 8.2 Employees are encouraged to seek advice from their TU Representative prior to completing Appendix 1 9. Stages of the grievance process 9.1 Informal process The Trust believes that most grievances can be resolved quickly and informally through open communication and discussion with a line manager. No employee shall be required to approach any person against whom they have a grievance if they feel uncomfortable doing so. The aim should always be to resolve grievances informally where possible. If the employee feels unable to speak to their line manager, for example, because the complaint concerns them, then the employee should speak informally to a more senior manager. If this does not resolve the issues, the employee should follow the formal procedure below. Employees may be assisted by a trade union representative or work colleague. 9.2 Formal Stage If the employee is not satisfied with the outcome of the informal stage then the employee is entitled to submit a formal grievance. This should be done in writing using Appendix 1 and submitted to their line manager of the person dealing with the grievance at the informal stage, with a copy also sent to Human Resources. 10. Submitting a Formal Grievance 10.1 The employee should provide as much detail as possible about their complaint using Appendix 1, including why they are dissatisfied with the outcome of the informal stage, and the outcome they would like to achieve from submitting a formal grievance. Under normal circumstances, the employee should submit their formal grievance to the manager of their line manager with a copy also sent to Human Resources However, if the complaint solely relates to the actions of the employee s line manager and they are uncomfortable approaching the manager of their line manager, then they should send a copy to the HR Department. 11. Preparing for the Formal Grievance Hearing 11.1 Following receipt of a formal grievance, the manager with support from Human Resources will need to set up a hearing normally within 14 working days of receipt of the grievance, unless a longer timescale is mutually agreed or it is considered necessary for a formal investigation to be commissioned. Upon receipt of the notification of employee grievance form, the line manager with support from the HR Department should consider which pathway would be appropriate in progressing the complaint to a formal gri evance hearing. 4

5 11.2 If it is considered that the line manager could respond directly to the concerns raised by the employee then the matter should escalate to the formal stage and a formal grievance hearing convened. If it is considered that an investigati on would be required in order to fully examine the circumstances of the concerns being raised then an investigation may be commissioned prior to the formal grievance hearing being convened. 12. Formal Grievance Requiring Investigation 12.1 On occasions, an employee will raise a concern that is not inappropriate to be considered raise at the informal stage. In such cases, the employee should submit their formal grievance to the manager of their line manager. Upon consideration of the grievance by the manager, the decision could be made to commission a formal investigation into the circumstances. The process for conducting the investigation will be as follows: The commissioning manager will draft terms of reference for the investigation (see Appendix 5) and write to the employee within two days of receipt to confirm that the investigation has been commissioned. An independent investigating officer will be assigned to complete the investigation with HR support. The investigation should commence as soon as possible after receipt of the formal grievance and where practicable, be completed as with minimum delay, normally within 8 working weeks They will be responsible for interviewing the employee and relevant witnesses as part of this process along with collating all relevant documentation appropriate to the case. Any witness statements gathered as part of the process should be signed and dated and use the pro forma attached as Appendix Where an employee does not provide a statement for an investigation but is subsequently interviewed, the agreed notes from the meeting will be used instead of the statement Information provided by witnesses will be used in connection with the grievance. As a result, employees connected with the investi gation should not discuss with each other issues related to the same, to avoid a breach of confidentiality By mutual agreement, investigation meetings may be recorded by the employee and / or the Trust. Where this occurs a transcript of the meeting wil l be provided to both parties; however, either party has the right to decline the request and where this occurs, hand written notes will be taken by HR and a typed version provided to the employee At the end of the investigation, the investigating offi cer will produce an investigation report for the commissioning manager, outlining the facts of the case and a chronology of the investigation (see Appendix 7 for the template report). The investigation report will be factual and will contain sufficient information for the commissioning manager to determine whether: To convene a formal grievance hearing to consider the facts of the case in more detail and to provide an opportunity for the employee to present their case in its entirety, or To meet formally with the employee to feedback on the findings and attempt negotiation of a mutually agreeable outcome if the employee accepts the negotiated outcome then details of this will be confirmed in writing to the employee and the formal grievance hearing will not be convened If the employee chooses not to accept the negotiated outcome proposed by the commissioning manager then the employee will be entitled to request a formal grievance hearing. 5

6 13. Formal Grievance Hearing 13.1 The grievance hearing will be heard in accordance with the process outlined in Appendix 3. Present at the hearing will be: The commissioning manager (provided they are not the employee against whom the grievance is made) supported by a representative from Human Resources The employee making the grievance supported by their representative 13.2 The Commissioning Manager will consider and decide on the following points: Whether the grievance was appropriately investigated Whether or not the organisational policies, procedures and practices were correctly and fairly applied Whether the grievance should be upheld The commissioning manager should respond in writing to the employee s grievance, making sure that all points within the grievance are answered within 5 days and give details on how to appeal if the employee still feels their grievance has not been satisfactorily dealt with. If the employee wishes to appeal he/she should submit his appeal to the Head of HR in writing within 14 working days of receipt of the written decision. The appeal letter must include details regarding why the outcome to the formal stage was unacceptable and the outcome the employee is seeking. 14. Appeal Stage 14.1 This is the end of the internal process. If an employee wishes to a ppeal the decision made at the formal stage hearing then they should complete the appealing a grievance form which can be found in Appendix 2 and then send this to the Head of HR. The Head of HR will then delegate responsibility for the appeal hearing to be set up and all parties to be notified of the date, time and location. The appeal hearing should normally be heard within 4 working weeks of the letter of the appeal being received whereby the hearing will be heard in accordance with the process outlined in Appendix The panel will consist of three Senior Staff which may include; the Chief Executive, Director or Principal/Head Teacher, Governor or Trustee, supported by a member of Human Resources, who will advise the panel on the application of procedures and current legislation, which is pertinent to the case Before any appeal hearing the following documents should be sent to Human Resources at least seven working days before the hearing date. The HR representative will then arrange for copies to be circulated to both sides involved in the appeal as well as the members of the appeal panel. No material, which did not form part of the evidence at the formal hearing will be introduced at an appeal hearing unless by joint agreement of the parties concerned Present at the hearing will be: A panel of three people, as outlined above, advised by a representative from Human Resources Department. The employee making the grievance supported by their representative or work colleague as appropriate The manager who heard the grievance at the formal stage 14.5 It is the responsibility of the appeal panel to hear all the evidence available, to question any parties for clarification of facts and to arrive at a decision based on the information provided. 6

7 14.6 The appeal hearing will not normally constitute a re-hearing of the case except where the grounds for appeal relate solely to non-fulfilment of actions agreed as an outcome from the original grievance hearing. If the employee wishes to request a full re-hearing then this must be requested at the time the appeal is submitted The appeal panel should respond in writing to the employee s grievance within 5 working days and give details of the decision / outcome of the appeal hearing The decision of the appeal panel will be final, and therefore the final stage of the grievance procedure. 15. Status Quo 15.1 The working arrangements at the time of the grievance is raised will be maintained during the process or until the matter is resolved. Management reserves the right to vary this provision where it is considered that the maintenance of the status quo might be detrimental to the health, safety and welfare of pupils, employees or members of the public. 16. Collective Disputes Procedure 16.1 The term collective dispute is used to describe matters which affect a group of employees and which involve national and/or local negotiations on issues relating to the introduction and application of terms and conditions of service. Only recognised trade union representatives may use this procedure. A request from a local trade union representative to use the collective disp utes procedure should be supported by their Regional Trade Union Officer. It is recognised that more than one union and therefore representative, may be involved in a particular dispute. In any dispute, both the Trust and its recognised trade unions agree to negotiate in good faith with a view to reaching agreement Matters of dispute must be referred to the Head of HR. Appropriate action at this point may then include meetings with the trade union(s) concerned. This may involve input from members of the Trust s Leadership team and/or Trust Board as required. In the event of a failure to agree, the parties will consider whether external conciliation and/or arbitration is appropriate The dispute may be referred to ACAS for arbitration by mutual agreement only. Either side may refer matters for conciliation. However, where it is agreed that an outside body is to be involved, its role must be clearly defined beforehand. 17. Retracting a Grievance 17.1 The Trust will seek to make every effort to resolve concerns raised by employees in a manner that is both fair and transparent. Should an employee wish to withdraw a grievance that they have submitted then they will need to complete Appendix 4 and submit this to the manager responsible for responding to their grievance with a copy sent to Human Resources The Trust would welcome the opportunity to meet with the employee to discuss the reasons for the withdrawal of their grievance, and this meeting would most likely be chaired by the manager responsible for responding to the grievance. The employee will be entitled to be accompanied at this meeting by a colleague or trade union representative, and the manager may request that a representative from Human Resources is also in attendance. 7

8 17.3 Upon receipt of the retraction notice, the employee will be invited to a meeting within 21 working days to discuss the reasons for not wanting to progress their complaint. In such cases, the Trust will respect the employee s right to withdraw their complai nt and any ongoing investigations into the circumstances of their complaint will cease The Trust takes seriously its responsibility to ensure all employees are treated fairly and with respect, and therefore even if the grievance process is stopped, the Trust will follow up on any issues brought to its attention where appropriate to do so in order to meet its duty of care to its employees 18. Evaluation Measures Monitoring and Audit 18.1 The HR department will log and monitor and report all grievances including outcomes / appeals and ensure that any cases are dealt with as per the policy. This policy is expected to be reviewed within three years (or earlier to reflect any legislative changes) but if this is deemed unnecessary the policy will remain in force until such time as it is reviewed. 8

9 Appendix 1 PRIVATE & CONFIDENTIAL - NOTIFICATION OF EMPLOYEE GRIEVANCE This form is intended for use by any employee of the organisation who wants to raise an informal or formal grievance about the behaviour of a colleague, their manager or any other workplace issue. Employees should bear in mind before using this form that they can request that a matter be dealt with in an informal manner by an appropriate manager. Where the employee requests that the complaint be dealt with informally, the appropriate person will discuss the matter with the employee, with a view to resolving the matter without recourse to a formal procedure. Type of Grievance (delete as applicable) Employee s Name Informal Formal Employee s Job Title Employee s Department and Site Employee s Line Manager Trade Union/Representative s Name Contact Number for Employee Summary of Grievance Please set out the details of your grievance (providing as much detail as possible, particularly dates, times, locations and the identities of those involved). You may attach additional sheets if required. Individuals involved in the alleged incident/complaint Please provide the names and contact details of any people involved in your grievance, including witnesses and how they relate to your grievance. 9

10 Outcome Requested Please set out how you would like to see your grievance dealt with, and what you believe a reasonable outcome to be. Signature Date Received by Date Received 10

11 Appendix 2 PRIVATE & CONFIDENTIAL APPEALING AN EMPLOYEE GRIEVANCE DECISION This form is intended for use by an employee who wants to appeal a decision made by the organisation regarding a formal grievance raised by him/her. This form should be completed and delivered to Head of HR within 14 working days of receipt of the written decision. The Trust aims to arrange a formal grievance appeal hearing with you within 21 working days of receipt of your grievance appeal form. Formal Grievance Appeal Employee s Name Employee s Job Title Employee s Department and Site/Academy Employee s Line Manager Trade Union/Representative s Name Contact Number for Employee Date of Original Grievance Date you were given decision that you are appealing against Summary of Appeal Please set out the grounds of your appeal (providing as much detail as possible, including any grounds for considering the grievance procedure to have been flawed, misinterpretation or lack of evidence and why you consider the outcome to have been erroneous in those circumstances). You may attach additional sheets if required. Individuals Involved in the Appeal Please provide the names and contact details of any people involved in your appeal, including witnesses you wish to call during the appeal Outcome Requested 11

12 Please set out how you would like to see your grievance dealt with, and what you believe a reasonable outcome to be. Signature Date Received by Date Received 12

13 Appendix 3 FORMAT OF GRIEVANCE HEARING / APPEAL HEARING 1. A member of the Human Resources Department will keep a written record of the proceedings 2. Employee and/or representative presents the employee s case, state how they think it should be settled and may call any witnesses 3. Other parties present may question employee and witnesses 4. The presenting manager presents the report and calls any witnesses 5. Other parties present may question presenting manager and witnesses 6. The employee and/or representative may sum up his/her case 7. The presenting manager may sum up his/her case 8. Employee and Management sides adjourn for the panel to discuss the outcome 9. If an outcome can be made that day, the management and employee sides should be recalled to be informed of the decision and resolution if applicable 10. If an outcome cannot be reached that day or further information is required before a decision can be taken, inform the management and employee sides that they will be informed in writing of the decision at the earliest opportunity but within a maximum of 5 working days. 13

14 Appendix 4 GRIEVANCE RETRACTION NOTICE Employee s Name Employee s Job Title Employee s Department and Site Employee s Line Manager Trade Union/Representative s Name Contact Number for Employee Grievance Type Informal / Formal Date Grievance Submitted Main Cause of Grievance Dear. Please accept this retraction notice as formal confirmation of my intention not to progress the grievance I have submitted with the details above. I acknowledge that by submitting this retraction notice the Trust will not progress with investigating or acting upon the details of my grievance and that all investigations into my grievance will end with immediate effect. Signature Date Received by Date Received 14

15 Appendix 5 INVESTIGATION OUTLINE TERMS OF REFERENCE Name Contact No Investigating Officer HR Support to Investigating Officer Background Issues to be investigated Standards If found, whether the above allegations contravene the following documents / policies: Process To interview/obtain statements from key individuals. To review relevant documents and policies Outcome To produce a report for consideration by (name). Report content to include findings, conclusions and recommendations. Deadline for investigation Terms of Reference Completed by: Date: 15

16 Appendix 6 GUIDELINES FOR WRITING A STATEMENT There are circumstances where you may be called upon to provide a written statement. This will occur when there has been an incident or grievance that needs to be investigated. Statements should be of a factual nature and include a description of the events surrounding the incident or grievance. These guidelines aim to provide you with some simple advice on preparing a statement, which has been requested for an investigation into an untoward event or grievance that has occurred during the course of your employment. There is also a template attached following the guidance, which you may print off and use to write a statement. Assume that the reader of your statement knows nothing of the facts of the case, if appropriate. The statement will thus form a story, which will tell the investigating officer the circumstances of the incident as you remember them Use good quality A4 paper. Do not use scraps of paper, pages from notepads or the backs of documents designed for other purposes Statements should ideally be typed but if this is not possible, you must write clearly and in black ink Number the pages. If you use more than one page, ensure the pages are securely fastened together Begin the statement with your name and job title see template that follows Be clear about the times you were on and off duty on the days in question and about what you saw and heard. Put events in the order in which they happened, giving precise dates and times (using am/pm or the 24 hour clock) State the location at the time of the incident and name any other witnesses who were present. When referring to other people in your statement give their full names and job titles Use your own words. Please note that staff are entitled to seek support from their Trade Union Representative if they wish when writing a statement and should be given enough time to do so Keep to the facts and avoid giving opinions or assumptions. Only include facts or conversations you have actually witnessed or taken part in. Do not include things that other people told you happened or conversations reported to you Write your statement in simple terms and avoid using jargon or abbreviations. Your statement should be written in the first person. Any alterations to your statement should be made by drawi ng a single line through the words you wish to change. This should then be initialled The final paragraph of your statement should read: This statement is true to the best of my knowledge and belief 16

17 Your statement should be signed and dated. You should also print your full name and job title Keep a copy for your own records Number pages and paragraphs for ease of reference. 17

18 Statement Pro Forma Appendix 6 Name:... Job Title:... Date and Time of Incident:... Location of Incident (Academy dept):... Other Witnesses that were present: This section should be used to explain the facts of the incident but avoid giving opinions or assumptions. Only include facts or conversations you have actually witnessed or taken part in. Do not include things that other people told you happened or conversations reported to you. Write your statement in simple terms and avoid using jargon or abbreviations Continue on another page if necessary This statement is true to the best of my knowledge and belief. Name:... Signature:... Date:... 18

19 Appendix 7 TEMPLATE REPORT PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL INVESTIGATION REPORT NAME OF REPORT Investigating Officer Name Investigating Officer Job Title HR Advisor Name: HR Advisor Job Title: Date of Report: Headings: 1. Introduction Explain why the investigation was requested and the background to the case. 2. Details of Grievance and Complaint Raised State the specific elements of the complaint being investigated. 3. Methodology Explain who was interviewed as part of the investigation and any other documentation that has been reviewed. 4. Management Response This should include a summary of the key findings and facts of the case, taking care to ensure that each element of the grievance is appropriately responded to. It is important for investigating officer to separate fact from comment and personal perceptions. It may be appropriate to refer to appendices such as notes of meetings with employees, extracts from policies here. 5. Conclusion A summary statement of the report specifically detailing whether the findings of the investigation support or do not support the specifics of the grievance. 19

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