Disciplinary Procedure

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1 Disciplinary Procedure The Trust strives to ensure equality of opportunity for all, both as a major employer and as a provider of health care. This procedural document has been equality impact assessed to ensure fairness and consistency for all those covered by it regardless of their individual differences and the results are shown in Annex A Policy Profile Policy Reference: HR.2.6 Version: 5 Author: Deputy Director of HR Executive sponsor: Director of HR and OD Target audience: All staff and line managers Date issued: 19 June 2014 Review date: 19 June 2017 Consultation Key individuals and committees consulted during drafting Approval Approval Committee: Policy Ratification Policy Date: Ratification Ratification Committee: Policy Ratification Policy Date: Staff Side Representatives Dates June 2014 Senior HR Representatives Dates June 2014 Dates Document History Version Date Review date Reason for change 2 1 October October June 2013 June June 2013 June June 2014 June 2016 Page 1 of 22

2 Contents Page Number Executive Summary Introduction Purpose Definitions Scope Roles and Responsibilities Role of the Investigating Officer Role of the Designated Officer Role of the Human Resources Directorate Role of the Trade Unions and Professional Organisations General Principles The right to be accompanied Suspension Stages of the disciplinary procedure Investigation Informal disciplinary action Informal Warning Formal Disciplinary Action First Formal Warning Final Formal Warning Termination of Employment Summary Dismissal Disciplinary hearing procedure Alternative Action Informing other bodies Criminal Offences Right of appeal Disciplinary action against trade union representatives Monitoring effectiveness and compliance Dissemination and implementation Dissemination: Implementation Associated documentation Introduction Examples of Action Normally Meriting a First or Final Formal Warning Examples of Action Meriting Summary Dismissal (Gross Misconduct) Conclusion Appendices A Equality Impact Assessment 14 B Policy Approval Checklist 15 C Disciplinary Rules 16 Page 2 of 22

3 Executive Summary This policy and procedure describes the action the Trust will take in the event of misconduct on the part of its employees. It identifies different levels of action the Trust may take in different circumstances, describes where formal and informal action may be appropriate, and in accordance with the principles of natural justice allows for rights of representation and appeal. The Disciplinary Process Conduct Issue arises Investigating Officer conducts an investigation Employee responds to allegations Designated Officer reviews investigation report and decides if a Hearing should take place Hearing takes place No further action Disciplinary Warning issued Employee informed of right of appeal Page 3 of 22

4 1 Introduction The Trust is committed to providing excellent healthcare to patients, and all employees have a responsibility to carry out their duties and responsibilities in line with the Trust Values and standards of behaviour. In the event that the conduct of an employee is unacceptable, the Trust will use the Disciplinary Procedure to take action over unsatisfactory conduct and wherever possible to give the employee an opportunity to improve. The Disciplinary Procedure has been produced to ensure that employees are treated fairly and consistently and with the clear objective of enabling employees to reach the standard required of them. It is the responsibility of managers to ensure that employees receive adequate induction, training, guidance and support to carry out their jobs to the required standard, and to ensure that any problems are brought to their attention at the earliest opportunity. Except in serious cases, any unsatisfactory conduct or work performance will normally be dealt with in the first instance by counselling and, if necessary, further training and/or supervised practice. Counselling, training or supervised practice are not disciplinary measures but rather positive action to help employees improve their performance. Arrangements of this kind may therefore also be made to help employees improve, even in cases where disciplinary action is taken. The Disciplinary Procedure will only be invoked in cases when it is decided that: further counselling or training will not bring about the improvement required or the alleged misconduct appears to warrant immediate disciplinary action. The procedure outlines the stages of the disciplinary procedure, the responsibilities of line managers and the right to be accompanied at formal hearings. The Trust is committed to enabling everyone in the Trust to achieve his or her full potential in an environment characterised by dignity and mutual respect. The Trust recognises the past effects of institutional discrimination and seeks to guarantee equality of opportunity for all. Equality of opportunity means an individual's diversity is viewed positively and, in recognising that everyone is different, valuing equally the unique contribution that individual experience, knowledge and skills can make. This policy will be operated in this spirit. 2 Purpose The purpose of this document is to set out the procedure that will be followed when an employee s conduct is not of the standard expected, and to set out clear roles and responsibilities for managers when using this procedure. 3 Definitions A disciplinary procedure is the means by which rules are observed and standards are maintained. A definition of capability matters include behavioural issues or lack of competence, including professional and clinical competence, and where there has been a clear failure by an employee to achieve a satisfactory standard of work through lack of knowledge, ability, or consistently poor performance then these matters will be described as capability Page 4 of 22

5 issues. These cases should be dealt with under the Capability Procedure or in the case of Medical and Dental staff under the Conduct and Capability Procedure for Medical and Dental Staff.. 4 Scope This policy applies to all directly employed staff working in any of the locations registered by St. George s Healthcare NHS Trust with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to provide regulated activities. Locations are not necessarily geographically based or determined. Therefore, the term locations does not just refer to Trust buildings; it is the term used by the CQC to describe the hub of operations for a service or range of services and so includes all activities being performed in the course of performing one s role. In the case of Medical and Dental Staff it should be read in conjunction with the Medical and Dental Staff Conduct and Capability Policy and Procedure. In all cases involving Medical and Dental staff where the alleged misconduct relates to matters of a professional nature, or where an investigation identifies issues of professional conduct, the investigator must obtain appropriate independent advice. An amended disciplinary procedure applies to those staff who work through the staff bank. This can be found in the SLA Bank Agreement Roles and Responsibilities 5.1 Role of the Investigating Officer A manager will be appointed as an investigating officer. The role of the investigating officer will be to carry out an investigation to establish the facts. The investigating officer will not be responsible for deciding that the matter should be referred to a formal disciplinary hearing, but can decide that an informal warning should be issued. 5.2 Role of the Designated Officer Responsibility for formal disciplinary action rests with Designated Officers. The Designated Officer will examine the investigation carried out by the investigating officer and decide whether or not the case should be considered at a formal disciplinary hearing. The Designated Officer is responsible for ensuring that the disciplinary hearing is conducted in accordance with this procedure and that the decision taken is fair and reasonable, taking account of all the circumstances. The list of designated officers is available from the Human Resources Department. This list will be updated from time to time, at a minimum annually, to reflect any changes in the management structure and the members of the Partnership Forum will be informed of any amendments when these occur. 5.3 Role of the Human Resources Directorate The Head of Department, Investigating Officer or Designated Officer may consult the appropriate Human Resources Advisor at any time when disciplinary action is being considered. When formal disciplinary action is being contemplated the Designated Officer must consult a Human Resources Advisor before taking action. A Human Resources Advisor will, where appropriate, attend investigatory meetings and will attend all Page 5 of 22

6 disciplinary hearings together with the manager concerned. Their role will be to help ensure consistency and fairness in accordance with the Trust's established standards. Where a formal disciplinary hearing is arranged, an Advisor to the Designated Officer will not have been involved in the investigation. 5.4 Role of the Trade Unions and Professional Organisations The Trust recognises the valuable role of trade unions and professional organisations in assisting employees at all stages of the procedure. The Trust encourages all employees to be represented at meetings in order to promote fairness and consistency of treatment across the Trust. It is the employee s responsibility to arrange such representation, and employees are encouraged to contact their representative as soon as possible in order to secure their attendance at a hearing. 6 General Principles Disciplinary action will be taken against an employee only after the case has been fully investigated. In cases of formal disciplinary action, the employee will be advised of the nature of the complaint against him or her and will be given the opportunity to respond to the allegations and state his or her case before any decision is made at a disciplinary hearing. Employees will be provided, where appropriate, with copies of evidence and relevant witness statements in advance of the disciplinary hearing. No employee will be dismissed for a first breach of discipline except in the case of gross misconduct, where summary dismissal (without notice or payment in lieu of notice) will be the normal form of disciplinary action. An employee will have the right to appeal against any formal disciplinary action. When a case involving Medical and Dental staff includes issues of professional conduct proceeds to a hearing under the Trust s Disciplinary Procedure, the panel must include a member who is medically qualified and who is not currently employed by the organisation. In cases involving other staff groups which include matters of professional conduct, the Designated Officer may seek advice from an advisor from that professional background. In all cases the decision as to what if any action should be taken rests solely with the Trust s Designated Officer hearing the case. 7 The right to be accompanied At any of the stages of the disciplinary procedure (as set out at sections below) an employee has the right to be accompanied by a trade union, professional organisation or work colleague employed by The Trust. Employees will be given at least 7 calendar days notice of meetings under this procedure at which they have the right to be accompanied. Employees may, if they wish, be accompanied at investigation meetings but these meetings will not normally be postponed due to the non-availability of a companion. Employees with a disability may require additional or alternative support at meetings, and all reasonable requests will be accommodated. Page 6 of 22

7 In disciplinary hearings the companion will be allowed to make representations on behalf of the employee, question the investigating officer on how the investigation was conducted, ask questions of any witnesses called to the hearing and sum up the employee s case on their behalf. The companion does not have the right to answer questions on the employee s behalf. 8 Suspension In serious cases an individual may be suspended pending further enquiries into the problem or incident. Suspension is not in itself a disciplinary measure but allows an investigation to be carried out without the employee being present in the workplace. The appropriate Human Resources Advisor will be consulted whenever possible before an employee is suspended. Normally suspension will only be carried out by a Designated Officer. In the absence of the Designated Officer, if the most senior person available cannot contact such a Designated Officer, then that person may assume the power of suspension. The action must be reported to the appropriate Designated Officer as soon as possible to obtain approval and confirmation that a suspension was appropriate. Circumstances in which a Designated Officer may suspend an employee from duty may include the following: The continued presence of an employee is not in the best interests of patients, the Trust, other employees or the service generally. Alternatively, it may not be in the interests of the employee. On the evidence available and in the opinion of the Designated Officer the incident was so serious that summary dismissal could result and further enquiries are needed. Criminal charges have been brought against the employee and there is evidence of suspected criminal activity, which is connected with or may affect the employee's performance or suitability for continued employment. The reason for suspension will be confirmed in writing by the Designated Officer. Every effort will be made to minimise the period of suspension but sufficient time will be necessary to allow full enquiries to be carried out. The suspension will normally be reviewed after 4 weeks, and kept under review at intervals of no more than 4 weeks thereafter. During the period of suspension the employee must not enter the Trust premises unless they require medical attention in which case they should inform the manager they will be attending a medical appointment, except in the case of an emergency. The employee should not discuss this matter with any of their colleagues without the express permission of their manager. It is recognised that there may be situations when the employee may need to speak to one of their colleagues as part of the preparation for the hearing, for example, when that person will be called by the employee as a witness at the hearing. Suspensions will normally be on full pay except in circumstances when the employee is in breach of a statutory requirement, for example, they cannot prove they have the right to work in the U.K. or their professional registration has lapsed, been suspended, or removed. In the event of an employee being suspected of criminal activity or any other activity that is connected with or may affect their performance or suitability for continued employment, suspension will normally be on no pay. Page 7 of 22

8 9 Stages of the disciplinary procedure The stages of disciplinary action are set out below. These will normally be taken sequentially but action may start at any stage, subject to the seriousness of the case. The procedure allows for stages of disciplinary action other than termination of employment to be used on more than one occasion depending on the particular circumstances of the case. The stages are as follows: Informal Stage: Formal Stages: - Informal warning - First Formal warning - Final Formal warning - Termination of employment 10 Investigation The investigating officer will carry out an investigation as soon as possible in order to establish the facts of the case. This may require obtaining witness statements. The employee will be given 7 calendar days notice of the date of the investigation meeting and may if they wish be accompanied at the meeting but the meeting will not normally be postponed due to the non-availability of a companion. At this meeting, the employee will be given an opportunity to explain his/her position. The investigating officer s report of the investigation should give the designated officer sufficient information to make a decision on the next course of action. The Designated Officer will make the final decision as to whether or not the case should be considered at a formal disciplinary hearing. The employee will be informed of the Designated Officer s decision as soon as possible. If at any stage during the investigation the investigating officer finds that there is no case to answer, the employee should be informed immediately. If an employee raises a grievance against the application of the disciplinary process then that may be investigated concurrently or may be raised at any disciplinary hearing. Any grievances will not stop the disciplinary process. 11 Informal disciplinary action The aim of informal disciplinary action will be to bring about the required improvement in the employee's conduct without the need for formal disciplinary action. The informal stages will normally be dealt with by the immediate line manager and the informal warning may be issued immediately after the meeting to discuss the issue provided the employee has been given the opportunity to be accompanied at the meeting. 12 Informal Warning For a first breach, an informal warning may be given. The employee will be told that any further misconduct may result in formal disciplinary action. The warning will be recorded on the employee s personal file and a copy of the warning and the Disciplinary Procedure will be sent to the employee. Page 8 of 22

9 An informal warning will cease to have effect after six months, and will not be taken into consideration when determining further disciplinary action against an employee after this time. 13 Formal Disciplinary Action If after an informal warning has been issued the employee s conduct or performance does not reach an acceptable standard, formal disciplinary action may be taken. Alternatively, if an offence is sufficiently serious the case may be considered at a formal disciplinary hearing after an investigation has been carried out. 14 First Formal Warning If there is no improvement in conduct or work performance after an informal warning has been issued, or in more serious cases following appropriate investigations and a formal disciplinary hearing, a first formal warning may be issued. A first formal warning will cease to have effect after 12 months and will not be taken into consideration when determining further disciplinary action against an employee after this time. 15 Final Formal Warning If the employee fails to meet the required standards of work or conduct following the issue of a first formal warning, or in the event of more serious issues, a final formal warning may be given. A final formal warning will cease to have effect after 12 months and will not be taken into consideration when determining further disciplinary action against an employee after this time. 16 Termination of Employment Failure to meet the required standards of work or conduct following the issue of a final formal warning will result in termination of employment. 17 Summary Dismissal Summary dismissal will only be used in exceptional circumstances for extremely serious cases treated as gross misconduct. Summary dismissal will take effect from the time of the Designated Officer's decision, and payment will cease immediately. Payment in lieu will be made for any annual leave entitlement up to the time of dismissal. No period of notice or payment in lieu of notice will be given. Page 9 of 22

10 18 Disciplinary hearing procedure The procedure to be followed for a formal disciplinary hearing will be as follows: The Designated Officer will inform the employee in writing of the purpose of the hearing and the issues to be discussed. The letter will state the employee's right to state his/her case; to call witnesses at a disciplinary hearing, and to be accompanied. Any relevant written statements should also normally be made available to the employee prior to the hearing. At least 7 calendar days' notice of the arrangements will be given and the hearing should be held as soon as possible. Both sides will be given an opportunity to call and question witnesses. Employees will be informed in advance that witnesses will be called. The Designated Officer may adjourn the hearing at any point during the proceedings. The employee or his/her representative may also request an adjournment at any point during the proceedings and this request will not be refused unreasonably. Having investigated the matter and questioned all concerned, the Designated Officer may then adjourn before deciding whether disciplinary action should be taken. If formal disciplinary action is taken, this will be confirmed in writing to the employee concerned within seven calendar days by the Designated Officer and a copy made available for the employee s companion. The letter will confirm: The disciplinary action to be taken The nature of the offence(s)/problem(s) The reason for the disciplinary action In the case of a warning, that repetition of the offence or any other misconduct will lead to further disciplinary action. In the case of a final formal warning that further misconduct may lead to dismissal. The employee's right of appeal and that any appeal must be made in writing within 21 calendar days of the date of the letter confirming the warning 19 Alternative Action If an employee has reached the point where the next stage of disciplinary action would normally be termination of employment, the Designated Officer may, at his/ her discretion, consider alternative action. In deciding whether alternative action may be appropriate, mitigating circumstances, including length of service and previous employment history, will be taken into account. The Designated Officer should also take account of the employee's views before making a decision about any suitable alternative action. Alternative action may include demotion, or transfer or such other action as the Designated Officer deems appropriate in all the circumstances of the case. If the employee does not accept alternative action then their employment will be terminated. 20 Informing other bodies The Trust has a responsibility to report any incidence of alleged professional misconduct to the appropriate professional body who may investigate the case. Where misconduct Page 10 of 22

11 relates to children or vulnerable adults the Trust will inform the Disclosure and Barring Service. Such reports will be the responsibility of the Designated Officer who can obtain specialist advice where necessary. Where the allegations involve fraud, the Trust s NHS Counter Fraud Specialist will be informed. Where criminal activity is alleged, the Trust has a responsibility to inform the police. 21 Criminal Offences The fact that an employee has been arrested, cautioned, charged, remanded in custody or convicted of a criminal offence outside of employment will not be regarded as an automatic reason for dismissal or other disciplinary action. However employees have a duty to notify their manager if they have been arrested, cautioned, charged, remanded in custody or convicted of a criminal offence and this will be considered. The main consideration in determining whether disciplinary action should be taken is whether the circumstances and the alleged offence render the individual unsuitable for his/her type of work. Conviction of a criminal offence may result in dismissal. Appropriate action will not normally need to await the outcome of the criminal proceedings and will depend on the facts of the case available to the Trust at the time. If the allegations result in the employee being suspended from duty suspension will normally be on no pay (see section 8). 22 Right of appeal An employee has the right of appeal against any formal disciplinary action. The outcome letter will identify the officer to whom the appeal should be addressed. The employee will also be sent a copy of the Appeal Procedure. An appeal must be lodged in writing within 21 calendar days of the date of the outcome letter. The appeal hearing will be held in accordance with the procedure set out in the Appeals Procedure. 23 Disciplinary action against trade union representatives The same disciplinary standards apply to Trade Union representatives as to all other employees. However because of the particular responsibilities of Trade Union representatives no disciplinary action beyond an informal warning should be taken until the matter has been discussed, with the employee s agreement, with a Full Time Officer, or a Senior Representative has been informed and given reasonable opportunity to represent the Trade Union representative at a disciplinary hearing. 24 Monitoring effectiveness and compliance Responsibility for monitoring the operation rests with the Director of Human Resources and Organisational Development on behalf of the Trust Board. The Director of Human Resources and Organisational Development will monitor the formal warnings issued under this policy on an annual basis to ensure that the procedure is being applied consistently Page 11 of 22

12 . 4.6 PRG (11)68a and fairly and will submit a report to the board. Trust s Partnership Forum. The report will also be submitted to the The table following outlines the process for monitoring compliance with this document. 25 Dissemination and implementation 25.1 Dissemination: To ensure that this policy is disseminated across the Trust this policy will replace the former policy on the intranet and be supported by a communications campaign Implementation Training will be provided by the Human Resources Department to line managers on the application of this policy. Page 12 of 22

13 Monitoring compliance and effectiveness table Element/ Activity being monitored Disciplinary action taken Lead/role Deputy Director of Human Resources Methodology to be used for monitoring All cases are recorded on the HR database by key demographics to check whether staff from particular groups are disproportionately issued with disciplinary warnings. Frequency of monitoring and Reporting arrangements The reports will be submitted to the HR and Workforce Committee on a six-monthly basis. The report will identify if trends have been identified and the steps being taken to address any concerns. The report will also be submitted to the Partnership Forum on an annual basis. The lead or committee is expected to read and interrogate the report to identify deficiencies in the system and act upon them. Acting on recommendations and Leads In the event of actions being required, the Divisional Director of Operations or Corporate Director will be responsible ensuring that actions are completed. Required actions will be identified and completed in a specified timeframe. Consider stating this responsibility in committee terms of reference. Change in practice and lessons to be shared Required changes to practice will be identified and actioned within a specific timeframe. A lead member of the team will be identified to take each change forward where appropriate. Lessons will be shared with all the relevant stakeholders. Page 13 of 22

14 26 Associated documentation Disciplinary Rules (attached) Appeals Procedure Capability Procedure Sickness Absence Management Policy and Procedure Counter Fraud Policy and Procedure Page 14 of 22

15 Appendix A 1. EQUALITY AND IMPACT ASSESSMENT FORM INITIAL SCREENING Service/Function/Policy Directorate / Department Disciplinary Procedure Human Resources Assessor(s) 1.1 Who is responsible for this service / function / policy? Human Resources New or Existing Service or Policy? Date of Assessment J McCullough Existing October Describe the purpose of the service / function / policy? Who is it intended to benefit? What are the intended outcomes? In the event that the conduct of an employee is unacceptable, the Trust will use the Disciplinary Procedure to take action over unsatisfactory conduct and wherever possible to give the em ployee an opportunity to improve. 1.3 Are there any associated objectives? E.g. National Service Frameworks, National Targets, Legislation, Trust strategic objectives The Disciplinary Procedure has been produced to ensure that employees are treated fairly and consistently and with the clear objective of enabling employees to reach the standard required of them. The procedure has been screened for relevance to diversity. 1.4 What factors contribute or detract from achieving intended outcomes? 1.5 Does the service / policy / function / have a positive or negative impact in terms of race, disability, gender, sexual orientation, age, religion or belief and Human Rights? Details: [see Screening Assessment Guidance] There is a risk that the policy may be invoked disproportionately to some staff groups. 1.6 If yes, please describe current or planned activities to address the impact. The Trust s Partnership Forum is the forum within which any differential impact will be discussed and remedial action agreed. 1.7 Is there any scope for new measures which would promote equality? The policy clearly states the Trust s intention to apply it fairly. Managers are trained in diversity awareness to ensure they operate the policy in a non-discriminatory manner. HR Managers coach line managers on how to operate the procedure. 1.8 :What are your monitoring arrangements for this policy/ service Responsibility for monitoring the operation rests with the Director of Human Resources and Organisational Development on behalf of the Trust Board. The Director of Human Resources and Organisational Development will monitor the formal warnings issued under this policy on an annual basis to ensure that the procedure is being applied consistently and fairly and will submit a report to the board. The report will also be submitted to the Trust s Partnership Forum 1.9 Equality Impact Rating [low, medium, high]- see guidance notes 3.1 above 2.0. Please give you reasons for this rating If you have rated the policy, service or function as having a high impact for any of these equality dimensions, it is necessary to carry out a detailed assessment and then complete section 2 of this form Review date of policy: 2015 Page 15 of 22

16 Appendix B 1 Checklist for the Approval of the "[Insert name of Policy]" To be completed by the Corporate Affairs Manager or Corporate Administrator /No/ Title of document being reviewed: Unsure Comments Title Is the title clear and unambiguous? Is it clear whether the main document is a policy rather than guidelines or procedures? Rationale 2 Are reasons for development of the document stated? Development Process 3 Are people involved in the development identified? Is there evidence of consultation with stakeholders and users? Content Are the objectives and aims defined? 4 Is target population as mentioned in Scope clear? Are the intended outcomes described? Are the statements clear and unambiguous? Evidence Base Is the type of evidence required to support the 5 document identified explicitly? Are the references cited in full? Are all supporting documents referenced? Consultation 6 Where appropriate, e.g. HR Policies, has the Partnership Forum been consulted on the document? Approval and Ratification Has the table of control information been completed 7 on the front cover of the Policy? Has an Equality Impact Assessment been completed? Is the EIA is an appendix to this policy? Dissemination and Implementation Does the plan include the necessary training and 8 support to ensure compliance? Is there a plan to review or audit compliance with the document? Review Date 9 Is the frequency of review identified? Overall Responsibility for the Document 10 Is it clear who will be responsible for co-coordinating the dissemination, implementation and review of the document? Approval by the Policy Approval Group: Signature of the Chair of the Policy Approval Group: Date: NA NA NA Page 16 of 22

17 Disciplinary Rules 1. Introduction 1.1 The aim of these Disciplinary Rules is to set standards of conduct at work and make clear to employees what is expected of them. In accordance with the ACAS Code of Practice on Disciplinary Practices and Procedures in Employment: (see below) "Disciplinary rules and procedures are necessary for providing fairness and order in the treatment of individuals and in the conduct of industrial relations. They also assist an organisation to operate effectively. Rules set standards of conduct at work; procedure helps to ensure that the standards are adhered to and also provides a fair method of dealing with alleged failures to observe them." 1.2 Disciplinary rules cannot cover all eventualities that may arise, as the needs will vary according to particular circumstances such as the work location, working conditions and type of work. Although it is important that managers ensure that staff are aware of local rules and procedures it is also essential that employees familiarise themselves with those rules. 2. Our Values All employees of the Trust are expected to behave in a way that reflects the Trust s values of being excellent, kind, responsible and respectful. All staff must familiarize themselves with the Trust s values, and the behaviours which underpin those values so that we can attain our mission of excellence in clinical care, research, education and employment. These behaviours are reflected in the disciplinary rules below. Any behaviour that is contrary to the Trust s values will be challenged and dealt with under the Trust s disciplinary procedure. 3. Scope 3.1 These Disciplinary Rules apply to all Trust employees, and aim to provide guidance on how various types of conduct are to be treated so that each individual is aware of the consequences of unsatisfactory conduct and/or substandard performance. Breaches of disciplinary rules will normally lead to disciplinary action but the stage of the procedure at which disciplinary action will begin will vary depending on: - the seriousness and nature of the offence - the employee's previous record - mitigating circumstances - in some instances the nature of the job Page 17 of 22

18 3.2 These disciplinary rules indicate when the formal stages of the disciplinary procedure will normally be invoked where it has been decided that: - further counselling or training will not bring about the improvement required - informal disciplinary action has not brought about the required improvement in the employee's work or conduct - the alleged misconduct appears to warrant immediate formal disciplinary action, including dismissal The examples of types of conduct that will normally merit formal disciplinary action being taken against an individual are split into two broad categories as follows: - Examples of actions normally meriting a first or final formal warning - Examples of actions likely to be deemed as gross misconduct and lead to dismissal - It is important to note that in some cases, incidents that would normally merit a first or final formal warning could be deemed as gross misconduct depending on the circumstances. 4. Examples of Action Normally Meriting a First or Final Formal Warning 4.1 The examples of conduct below will normally merit either a First Formal Warning or a Final Formal Warning depending on the circumstances. In the case of a First Formal Warning, further related misconduct will normally lead to further disciplinary action including a Final Formal Warning or dismissal. In the case of a Final Formal Warning, further incidents of misconduct will normally lead to dismissal. As already mentioned in Paragraph 3.3, however, this conduct could be deemed as gross misconduct in some instances, depending on the circumstances. 5. General Conduct This section describes some general areas of conduct that will be regarded as unsatisfactory and may result in disciplinary action the level of which, from informal to summary dismissal, will be determined by the seriousness of the offence and the circumstances at the time. 5.1 Failure to follow a reasonable instruction. 5.2 Failure to inform your line manager or an appropriate senior officer of any arrest, caution, charge or prosecution for a criminal offence in accordance with the Trust's Disciplinary Procedure, and in line with the NHS Employment Checks Standards. This information will be treated as confidential. 5.3 Abuse of authority in relation to a subordinate, patient/client or a member of the public. Page 18 of 22

19 5.4 Rudeness towards or conduct likely to cause offence to a patient/client, member of the public, a fellow employee, bearing in mind the nature of the job and work situation. 5.5 Failure to comply with acceptable standards of dress, appearance or personal hygiene. 5.6 Conduct contrary to the Trust's interests whether: - Committed at work; - Committed outside working hours but relevant to the duties of the employee's post and/or status of the Trust or likely to affect the Trust s reputation or bring the Trust into disrepute. 6. Sickness Absence Notification 6.1 Failure to notify the manager of the reason for absence from duty by the time specified by the Head of Department on the first day/shift of absence. 6.2 Failure to provide self-certification and/or medical certification in accordance with the Trust's Sickness Absence Management Policy and Procedure. 7. Absence and Timekeeping _ Unauthorised absence from duty including non-attendance at an approved training course _ Persistent unauthorised absence _ Continuous lateness _ Failure to comply with annual leave procedures 8. Neglect of Duty Deliberate failure to discharge responsibility and maintain the accepted standards in accordance with statutory requirements, professional standards of conduct and/or the Trust's policies and procedures. Negligent or inadequate standards of work 9. Health & Safety & Fire - Failure to wear the appropriate protective clothing and / or personal protective equipment provided by the Trust for particular duties - Failure to comply with the accident reporting procedures - Failure to comply with the incident reporting procedures - Failure to follow safety instructions, policies or procedures - Failure to comply with the Trust's Codes of Practice and statutory legislation on hygiene e.g. food hygiene requirements - Failure to respond to fire alarms - Preventing Trust from complying with legislation, e.g. breach of fire regulations - Smoking on Trust Premises Page 19 of 22

20 10. Examples of Action Meriting Summary Dismissal (Gross Misconduct) 10.1 Some offences may if substantiated be treated as gross misconduct and in such cases summary dismissal (dismissal without notice) is the normal form of disciplinary action Gross misconduct is defined as misconduct of such a nature that the Trust is justified in no longer tolerating the continued presence at work of the employee who commits such an offence. Gross misconduct can include acts committed outside working hours as well as those committed at work The following are examples of offences which are likely to be deemed as gross misconduct and lead to dismissal without any previous formal or informal warnings having been given: - Discrimination against an employee of the Trust or a patient/client or member of the public on grounds of their age, disability, race (ethnicity), nationality, ethnic or national origin, gender, religion or belief; sex (gender) sexual orientation, marital or civil partnership status, pregnancy and maternity status, domestic circumstances, social and employment status, HIV status, gender reassignment, political affiliation or trade union membership. - Improper use of an official position for private gain or for some other person including soliciting or accepting bribes or action contrary to the Trust s Standard of Business Conduct of Standing Financial Instructions. - Canvassing members of the Trust or any Officers of the Trust, failure to declare a relationship with an employee of the Trust or providing any false information in support of an application for a post within the Trust. - Failure to notify your manager or disclose an arrest, charge, caution, remand in custody or conviction for a criminal offence (all posts are exempt from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1984). - Failure to disclose investigation or fitness to practice proceedings by a professional or regulatory body - Failure to secure and keep secure (in paper or electronic format) confidential information relating to the business of the Trust, its patients, its employees or the public or any other person not entitled to access the information. - Unauthorised access or disclosure of or use of confidential information relating to the business of the Trust, its employees or the public with whom it has dealings, including disclosing confidential information concerning patients/clients. This includes disclosing such information on chat rooms, websites and social networking sites. Page 20 of 22

21 - Dangerous or reckless behaviour involving risk or injury to other people or to oneself. - Intimidating, fighting with or physical assault on patients/clients, other employees or members of the public, including maltreatment or neglect of persons in the care of the Trust. - Harassment or bullying behaviour towards a colleague, patient or member of the public. - Behaviour likely to offend decency including sexual offences and/or sexual misconduct at work or outside work. - Deliberate breach of financial regulations and the Trust's Standing Financial Instructions, including falsification of time sheets, claim forms, etc. - Theft or misappropriation of, or malicious damage to, Trust property. - Fraud - Knowingly providing or obtaining NHS treatment for those not entitled to it - Working illegally - Drug offences whether committed at work or outside of work - Drinking offences (see Alcohol Policy). - Undertaking private work (including, but not limited to, bank or agency work) during periods of sick leave from the Trust including periods outside contracted hours. This may also apply to unpaid work depending on the circumstances. _ Engaging in work paid or unpaid, including self employment, during off duty hours when such employment conflicts with, or is detrimental to, the interests of the Trust or in any way weakens public confidence in the conduct of the Trust's business, in line with the Trust s Standard of Business Conduct Policy. - Working consecutive back- to-back shifts. - Sleeping on duty. - Extended unauthorised absence where no or little contact has been made with the manager - Unauthorised use of any of the Trust's workforce, equipment, materials and/or facilities for private, non-trust or improper purposes. This includes, but is not limited to, inappropriate use of the Trust s computer and information network including inappropriate use of the internet and systems such as accessing, displaying or storing offensive images or sending s likely to cause offence or bring the Trust into disrepute. Page 21 of 22

22 - Inappropriate use of social networking sites. This includes but is not limited to posting inappropriate comments about colleagues and patients, using such sites to bully or intimidate colleagues, pursuing personal relationships with patients or service users, distributing sexually explicit material, any unlawful use of such sites, any behaviour that is likely to bring the Trust into disrepute 11. Conclusion It is hoped that these Disciplinary Rules will assist in setting standards of conduct at work to ensure that employees know what is expected of them. Page 22 of 22

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