Regulation pertaining to disciplinary & related procedures for academic staff

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1 Regulation pertaining to disciplinary & related procedures for academic staff Table of Contents 1. Application Introduction General Principles Investigation Informal guidance and advice Disciplinary procedure Disciplinary outcomes Disciplinary procedure appeals Disciplinary action against trade union representatives Criminal action Misconduct examples... 9 Regulation pertaining to disciplinary and related procedures. Page 1 of 10

2 1. Application 1,1 This Regulation is made pursuant the university s Ordinance Relating to Dismissal, Grievance Procedures and Related Matters for Academic Staff. 1.2 These procedures apply to academic employees with the title of Lecturer, Senior Lecturer, Reader and Professor and any other academic title as adopted by the university. 2. Introduction 2.1 It is the responsibility of Heads of Departments, line managers and supervisors to ensure that staff are aware of the standards of conduct expected of them. The purpose of these procedures is to enable managers to assist staff in maintaining the required standards of conduct and to ensure that in cases where staff have failed to do so, a fair and systematic process is followed to help them improve. Whilst action taken under these procedures is primarily intended to rectify problems, dismissal may be an outcome. 2.2 For the avoidance of any doubt for Clinical Lecturers, Clinical Senior Lecturers, Clinical Readers and Clinical Professors the responsibility for investigating and managing matters related to disciplinary and related issues will normally follow the lines of accountability as set out in their Contract of Employment and Job Description i.e. the university as the University Employer will lead on matters arising under the substantive contract and the Honorary NHS Employer will lead on matters arising under the honorary contract. 3. General Principles 3.1 The following general principles will be adhered to in the operation of the overall procedures: a) No formal disciplinary hearing will be convened without a reasonable investigation of the circumstances. b) During the course of an investigation or disciplinary hearing the investigating officer or Panel Chair may choose to redefine a disciplinary matter as one being which falls within the scope of another Regulation applicable to academic staff. In such circumstances the member of staff will be notified as soon as practical. c) The university at its sole discretion may appoint a person who is not a member of the university as an additional member of any Panel. In certain cases it may be considered appropriate for the Director of Human Resources or their designate to include a NHS Trust representative or other person as a member of a Panel convened under this procedure, particularly where there is a contractual relationship or working partnership with another organisation. Regulation pertaining to disciplinary and related procedures. Page 2 of 10

3 d) No member of staff will be dismissed for a first disciplinary offence unless it is considered to be gross misconduct. e) Only a Panel appointed by the President & Principal, the Senior Vice President (Operations), the Director of Human Resources, or their designated deputies 1, has the authority to dismiss an academic member of staff. 4. Investigation 4.1 It is important to carry out necessary investigations of potential disciplinary matters without unreasonable delay to establish the facts of the case. This may include an opportunity for the member of staff to be interviewed as part of the investigation. In addition, the member of staff may be invited to provide a written statement as a part of the investigation. 4.2 Following advice from the Human Resources Department, local management will appoint an appropriate manager to conduct the investigation (the investigating officer). 4.3 If there is an investigatory meeting this should not by itself result in any disciplinary action. 4.4 If it is decided by the investigating officer in consultation with Human Resources that there is a case to answer, the disciplinary procedure will be invoked (see Section 6: Disciplinary Procedure, below) Suspension 4.5 Where there is an allegation of misconduct, a decision will be taken by either the President & Principal, Provost/Senior Vice President(s), Senior Vice President (Operations) or Director of Human Resources or their designate in consultation with the appropriate Head of Department/Division/School/Executive Dean, whether to suspend the member of staff. 4.6 Suspension is not a disciplinary sanction but a means by which to facilitate a full investigation being carried out in order to determine whether a hearing is required. 4.7 Following the investigation, the suspension of the member of staff may continue pending the outcome of the disciplinary hearing. 4.8 If the decision is taken not to suspend the member of staff this does not imply that the conduct in question could not be considered as gross misconduct. 4.9 Where a decision is taken to suspend a member of staff this will be reviewed regularly by the university Where a member of staff has been suspended they may write to the Director of Human Resources or their nominee and request that the decision to suspend them be reviewed. 1 Human Resources Directors and Senior Human Resources People Partners Regulation pertaining to disciplinary and related procedures. Page 3 of 10

4 The decision of the Director of Human Resources or their nominee is final and the member of staff will be notified in writing of the outcome of the review Where a member of staff has been suspended the following process will occur: a) The member of staff will be given reasons for the suspension and this will be confirmed in writing by the Human Resources Department. b) For the period of suspension the member of staff will receive full pay in accordance with their contract of employment. During the period of suspension the member of staff must be available to work and readily contactable however they may be required not to attend the university s premises or have contact with staff, students or funding bodies Where a member of staff holds an honorary NHS contract and is suspended, the Human Resources Director of the relevant NHS Trust will be informed. 5. Informal guidance and advice 5.1 Where a manager has grounds for concern regarding a member of staff s conduct or there are minor misconduct issues, the matter will be dealt with by way of informal guidance and advice. Informal guidance and advice does not constitute formal disciplinary action. 5.2 Informal guidance and advice will be used to set the standards of conduct and to provide opportunities for improvement through the exploration of appropriate options. 5.3 Following informal guidance and advice, the standards of conduct which are required along with timescales for improvement and the process for monitoring whether the standards have been achieved and sustained will be confirmed in writing to the member of staff. The standards set will ultimately be monitored by the line manager and should be realistic, measurable and clear. 6. Disciplinary procedure 6.1 In the event of no improvement following informal guidance and advice and after a reasonable time-frame (see Section 5: Informal guidance and advice) or where the alleged misconduct is considered to be of a more serious nature, a decision to initiate the following disciplinary procedure, as a consequence of the investigation, will be taken in consultation with Human Resources: a) The investigating officer will refer the matter to the Director Human Resources, or their nominee. b) The Director of Human Resources or their nominee will appoint a Panel to convene a disciplinary hearing normally comprising at least two members of staff who have had no direct involvement in the matter. One member will be designated as the Chair and take charge of proceedings. Regulation pertaining to disciplinary and related procedures. Page 4 of 10

5 c) A member of staff who is required to attend a formal disciplinary hearing will be given a copy of these procedures as soon as possible when a complaint is formally received by the Human Resources Department and details in writing of the alleged misconduct at least 7 days in advance of the hearing. d) All witnesses may provide a written statement to the Human Resources Department. If they choose to do so it should be received no later than 3 working days before the scheduled date of the disciplinary hearing and these will be made available to all parties. e) A representative from Human Resources may be in attendance at formal disciplinary hearings. f) The investigating officer will normally present the management case. The investigating officer and the member of staff or their representative (see 6.3 to 6.9 below) shall have the right to question each other s witnesses and make verbal representations. Members of the Panel may question all parties. g) Panels may make any additional inquiries or request additional information about the case under consideration as they see fit. h) On conclusion of the verbal representations, the Panel will adjourn and will consider, on the balance of probability, whether the allegation(s) is substantiated and decide if action is necessary (see Section 7: Disciplinary outcomes). i) If disciplinary action is required, this will be confirmed to the member of staff in writing by the Panel Chair, together with information concerning the right of appeal as outlined in Section 8: Disciplinary procedure - appeals. j) Where the Panel reaches a finding of gross misconduct, the university can dismiss a member of staff without notice. 6.2 Following a disciplinary hearing, should the required improvement(s) not be achieved and/or sustained, the relevant manager in consultation with Human Resources will determine whether a further disciplinary hearing should be convened to consider whether further action under this procedure is required, e.g. a further formal warning, a final written warning or dismissal. The right to be accompanied 6.3 A member of staff who is subject to these proceedings will be advised of their right to be accompanied to a disciplinary hearing by a trade union representative or a work colleague. 6.4 If the trade union representative or a work colleague is not available at the time scheduled for a formal disciplinary hearing on the proposed date, the member of staff may suggest an alternative date within 5 working days after the day originally scheduled. This 5-day time limit may be extended by agreement with the person chairing the hearing. Regulation pertaining to disciplinary and related procedures. Page 5 of 10

6 6.5 The member of staff should notify the Human Resources Department no later than 3 working days ahead of the scheduled disciplinary hearing of the name of their trade union representative or work colleague should they choose to be represented / accompanied. 6.6 It is the responsibility of the member of staff to provide all details of the scheduled hearing and any of the relevant documentation to their trade union representative or work colleague. 6.7 The trade union representative or work colleague will be able to address the hearing. 6.8 The trade union representative or work colleague will be given reasonable opportunity to confer privately with the member of staff during the hearing. 6.9 The trade union representative or work colleague is not permitted to answer questions on the member of staff's behalf, address the hearing if the member of staff indicates that they do not wish the trade union representative or work colleague to do so, or use their position in a way that prevents the university from explaining its case or any other person (including the member of staff) making his or her contribution. 7. Disciplinary outcomes 7.1 Following the hearing, if the allegation(s) is not substantiated the member of staff will be advised of this in writing within 10 working days of the hearing and no further action will be taken. 7.2 Recommendations for action short of dismissal will be made in consultation with Human Resources. If the allegation(s) is substantiated, the action(s) determined will be confirmed to the member of staff in writing and will include a statement as to the improvement in conduct required; the period of time allowed to demonstrate improvement (which may be immediate); where appropriate, the support to be offered to the member of staff to assist attainment of the required improvement; and the consequences and procedure to be followed should no improvement be forthcoming. 7.3 Action arising from a disciplinary hearing will be confirmed in writing within 10 working days of the hearing and may be: a) Informal guidance and advice relating to misconduct. The purpose, timescales and review periods should be specified. (Informal guidance and advice does not count as formal disciplinary action however a record will be retained and a copy sent to the member of staff.) b) Written Warning relating to misconduct. To be issued in the case of more serious offences or where there is an accumulation of minor offences. c) Final Written Warning relating to misconduct. To be issued in those cases where misconduct is considered to be insufficiently serious to justify dismissal but sufficiently serious to warrant only one warning, or where there has been an inadequate response to previous warnings. Regulation pertaining to disciplinary and related procedures. Page 6 of 10

7 d) Dismissal. Some conduct will be sufficiently serious to warrant dismissal for a first offence. In other cases dismissal will be appropriate where there have been earlier warnings to which the member of staff has not made an adequate response. e) Supplementary sanctions. Supplementary sanctions are actions which may be appropriate depending on the specific circumstances of the case. They may include: (i) Delayed Incremental Progression could be considered where any form of written warning has been issued. (ii) Demotion (with a reduction in pay) and/or transfer can be offered to and accepted by the member of staff as an alternative to dismissal in view of mitigating circumstances. 7.4 A written record of the formal disciplinary outcome will be kept on the member of staff s file. 7.5 The written record will be disregarded, subject to continued satisfactory conduct and performance up to the time limit of the warning. The duration shall be for no more than two years for a First Formal Warning and up to five years for Final Formal Warnings. 8. Disciplinary procedure appeals 8.1 Members of staff who are subject to formal disciplinary action taken under Section 6 Disciplinary Procedure will have the right of appeal as follows: Appeal procedure 8.2 A member of staff who wishes to appeal against any formal disciplinary action including dismissal must submit a notice of the appeal in writing, including one or more grounds of the appeal set out below together with any supporting documentation, to the Director of Human Resources within ten working days of receipt of the written notice of the disciplinary action. The appeal notice may subsequently be amended with the permission of the Chair of the Panel. (See 8.9 for information about Panel formation and composition). 8.3 If the member of staff wishes to produce new evidence not available at the previous hearing this must be sent to the Director of Human Resources no less than two working days prior to the date of the appeal. 8.4 The university may provide new evidence not available at previous hearings. This must be sent to the Director of Human Resources and the member of staff no less than two working days before the date of the appeal. 8.5 The time limits set out in (8.3) and (8.4) may be reduced by the Chair provided that the appeal can be dealt with fairly to both parties. 8.6 An appeal will not take the form of a re-hearing of the evidence (unless the Panel determines, in its absolute discretion, that this is necessary to fairly dispose of the appeal) and witnesses may be called only with the Chair of the Panel's permission. The appeal hearing will consider the grounds for appeal and will review the information presented in Regulation pertaining to disciplinary and related procedures. Page 7 of 10

8 relation to the grounds for appeal. The information will consist of documents which were previously submitted to the disciplinary hearing, the notes of the hearing and the decision letter from the hearing. The review may include consideration of any new information. 8.7 The appellant may request in writing to call witnesses in support of their appeal in the event of new evidence having come to light that was not available at the original hearing. This request should contain the name of each witness and details of the new information they may be able to provide. The appellant should send the request to the Director of Human Resources no less than 3 working days before the scheduled date of the appeal. 8.8 The grounds for appeal may be one or more of the following: a) against the finding of the original disciplinary Panel (the verdict); b) the severity of the sanction applied; c) new evidence having come to light that was not available at the original hearing; or d) the disciplinary procedure not having been applied correctly. 8.9 Once this is received the following procedure will apply: a) The appeal will be heard by a Panel convened by the Director of Human Resources or his/her nominee. The Panel will comprise one or more members of staff who have not been directly involved in the case. One member of the Panel will be designated as Chair and take charge of the proceedings. A representative from Human Resources will normally be in attendance at an appeal. b) The Panel will invite the appellant (or trade union representative or work colleague) to make a statement in the presence of the university representative(s) in support of the appeal. The university representative(s) shall respond to the appellant s statement of appeal. c) In the event of witnesses being allowed, both parties shall have the opportunity to question witnesses. The members of the Panel may ask questions of all parties. d) The university representative(s) and appellant (or trade union representative or work colleague) shall have an opportunity to summarise their case and then withdraw from the hearing After considering the matter the Panel will decide its course of action, which may, in the case of an appeal against disciplinary action excluding dismissal, be to: (a) allow the appeal and expunge the warning and any supplementary action; (b) modify the warning or its duration or any supplementary action; (c) dismiss the appeal and confirm the warning or any supplementary action; or (d) recommend guidance and advice; 8.11 Or where the appeal is against dismissal: (a) Uphold the decision to dismiss. (b) Allow the appeal against dismissal and substitute an alternative penalty or recommend guidance and advice. (c) Allow the appeal The decision will be confirmed to the member of staff in writing within 10 working days following the appeal. The decision of the appeal hearing will be final and there will be no further avenue for appeal within the university. Regulation pertaining to disciplinary and related procedures. Page 8 of 10

9 8.13 Should an appeal against dismissal be allowed, the appellant will receive salary payment at the appropriate level as if they had not been dismissed. 9. Disciplinary action against trade union representatives 9.1 The same standards of conduct are required of staff who are local trade union representatives and the same procedure will be applied equally to those members of staff. However, on any occasion where it is proposed to take formal disciplinary action against a member of staff known to be a local trade union representative, the Director of Human Resources or their nominee should be informed in order that the appropriate full time union official and Senior Local Representative of the relevant union may be notified of the circumstances. 10. Criminal action 10.1 A criminal offence which is committed outside of employment may lead to dismissal if it is considered to have a bearing on the work which the member of staff undertakes for the university. 11. Misconduct examples 11.1 Gross misconduct The following list is not intended to be exhaustive but is intended to highlight examples of the type of actions likely to be regarded by the university as gross misconduct: Theft or fraud Physical violence Serious bullying or harassment Deliberate and serious damage to property Serious misuse of an organisation s property or name Deliberately accessing internet sites containing indecent, pornographic, offensive or obscene material Serious insubordination Unlawful discrimination or harassment Conduct connected with the Institution or otherwise bringing the organisation into serious disrepute Serious incapability at work brought on by alcohol or illegal drugs Causing loss, damage or injury through serious negligence A serious breach of health and safety rules A serious breach of confidence Serious research misconduct Regulation pertaining to disciplinary and related procedures. Page 9 of 10

10 A serious failure to comply with the university s Financial Regulations The repeated and/or wilful failure to undertake appropriate UK Visas and Immigration compliance checks to ascertain the right of an individual to work in the UK Misconduct Below are some examples of misconduct which may ultimately lead to dismissal if, following application of the procedure, improvement is not forthcoming. Examples of misconduct may also be classed as gross misconduct depending on the severity of the alleged offence. The following list is not intended to be exhaustive but is intended to highlight examples of the type of actions likely to be regarded by the university as misconduct. Unsatisfactory time keeping Unsatisfactory attendance record Refusal to carry out a reasonable instruction Disrupting the work of others Breach of a specified condition of employment, or published university rule, regulation or code Conduct connected with the Institution or otherwise bringing the organisation into disrepute Minor research misconduct Bullying or harassment A minor failure to comply with the university s Financial Regulations The failure to undertake appropriate UK Visas and Immigration compliance checks to ascertain the right of an individual to work in the UK. Regulation pertaining to disciplinary and related procedures. Page 10 of 10

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