STAFF DISCIPLINE CONDUCT AND GRIEVANCE POLICY

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1 Hampton Wick Infant & Nursery School STAFF DISCIPLINE CONDUCT AND GRIEVANCE POLICY This policy was adopted/updated: Dec 2009 This policy was reviewed: Jan 2014 This policy will be reviewed: Sep 2016 (or when required) Statutory policy Yes Source LA

2 SCHOOLS GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE (including claims of Discrimination, Harassment and Bullying) TO BE READ IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE GUIDANCE DOCUMENT If you require a copy of this leaflet in large print, Braille or audio format, please contact Human Resources October 2009 CONTENTS Page 1. Introduction 2 2. Before using the procedure 2 3. Step 1 - Statement of grievance 3 4. Step 2 - Grievance hearing 4 5. Step 3 - Appeal process Further guidance, grievance forms and template for management letters are on the Extranet Grievance Procedure - DRAFT p.2 of 7 Produced by HR on 26 July 2007

3 1. INTRODUCTION This policy is applicable to all school based staff. It covers all concerns which employees may have about their work or their relationships at work, including complaints of discrimination, harassment or bullying General principles The School encourages informal resolution of disputes in as many instances as possible (see 2. Before using the procedure). However, it is recognised that this may not always be possible. This grievance procedure provides a mechanism to deal with these issues as fairly, as quickly and as transparently as possible, in a three step process, as prescribed by law (see 3. Grievance statement, 4. Grievance hearing, and 5. Appeal process). In the case of discrimination, harassment or bullying complaints, employees should also use this Grievance Procedure. The School will not tolerate unlawful discrimination, harassment and bullying, and will take the appropriate action against such behaviour Timescales and confidentiality In order to deal with employees concerns fairly and quickly, it is important that all parties involved ensure that they meet the prescribed timescales. Grievances will normally only be considered where the grievance relates to an event/decision which occurred no more than three months prior to the grievance being raised. Grievances raised outside this timeframe will only be considered under the procedure in exceptional circumstances. It is the responsibility of all employees and management to maintain strict confidentiality of personal information when progressing school procedures. It is important during the grievance process that the appropriate level of confidentiality is maintained by all concerned Equality and diversity considerations Headteachers and line managers must be aware, when applying this procedure that they have a duty to ensure that no unlawful discriminatory practices occur. In particular, management must consider all requests for a reasonable adjustment in the workplace for any disabled employee. Exceptionally there may be cases where an employee may need support from an individual care worker during the grievance process. Further guidance is available on the Extranet in the Guide on Disability Issues in Employment, as well as in the Grievance guidance document. 2. BEFORE USING THE PROCEDURE 2.1. Initial action In the first instance, employees should always aim to raise any concerns or complaints with their headteacher or line manager in the informal context of day-to-day management and regular supervision hearings. In cases where an employee wishes to raise a matter involving the actions of their immediate manager, this should be raised initially with the next level of management. If the matter concerns the actions of the headteacher, this should be raised with the Chair of Governors. In cases where the grievance involves a disagreement between employees, the headteacher or line manager should set up an informal meeting between the employees concerned, as a means of resolving the matter without using the Grievance Procedure. Should the grievance be about discrimination/harassment or bullying, this may involve the line manager explaining the nature of the complaint to the alleged discriminator/harasser on their own. Grievance Procedure (inc ADHB) p.2 of 9 Produced by HR Oct 09

4 Any hearing held to resolve issues informally should only involve those concerned and, if it is felt it would be helpful, mediation may be an option. The employee can speak to HR Advice or their trade union official, If the employee remains dissatisfied after initial action has been exhausted, they may then proceed to Step 1 of this Grievance Procedure When the grievance procedure should not be used: If the grievance is of a collective nature, i.e. if it is raised by a recognised trade union or a workplace representative on behalf of two or more employees. The Grievance Procedure is intended as a reconciliation process to deal with the grievance of individual employees. As a means to seek vindication or revenge, or to discriminate. Where the School has taken (or has indicated that it is considering taking) disciplinary action against the complainant. If the complainant is unhappy about any disciplinary action, the disciplinary appeal process should be used (however, if the complainant has an unrelated grievance, the disciplinary procedure and grievance procedure can run concurrently). 3. STATEMENT OF GRIEVANCE STEP 1 Where it has not been possible to resolve an employee s concerns informally they may ask for their issue(s) to be considered formally as follows: The employee should set out their grievance in writing using Template Form GF 1, or another type of accessible format, where appropriate, for disabled employees (see and guidance on specific support for disabled employees). They can seek advice from management, HR Advice or a trade union official if assistance is required. Where applicable, the form should include: o Clear, specific allegations against named individual/s, o Dates, times and names of witnesses (when these are known), o Statements from witnesses, if any, o Factual description of events and direct quotes if remembered, o o o A brief description of the context of each incident, If the complaint is one of discrimination, harassment or bullying, an indication of how the incident made the complainant feel and why s/he considers the behaviour amounts to harassment or bullying (if this is unclear), Any other supporting documentation. This will complete the information submitted by the employee making a grievance. Any information submitted thereafter will not be considered. The employee should send the completed and signed form and all accompanying information to their line manager or to the headteacher (when the employee s grievance is against the actions of their manager) or to the Chair of Governors (when the employee s grievance concerns the actions of the headteacher). The manager in receipt of the completed Grievance Complaint form will be referred to as the Grievance Manager in the rest of this policy, for clarity. The Grievance Manager is responsible for managing the process. As part of this, monitoring is an essential requirement. A chronology should be kept using Template Form GF 2. If the complaint relates to a discriminatory, harassment or bullying incident then Template Form GF 4 must be completed. See the guidance document for guidance and forms related to notification of the relevant parties, record keeping and monitoring. When dealing with a discrimination/harassment/bullying complaint, all managers and officers involved must remember to act with sensitivity to the complaint at all times. The purpose is Grievance Procedure (inc ADHB) p.3 of 9 Produced by HR Oct 09

5 to establish the facts and provide a suitable solution, but not to challenge the victim s perception. 4. GRIEVANCE HEARING STEP Right to be accompanied Employees have a statutory right to be accompanied by a colleague from within the school or trade union official (hereafter called a companion for clarity) at grievance hearings. This includes all parties involved in the grievance process. The following provisions apply: If the companion is unable to attend on the proposed hearing date, the employee can suggest another date provided this is reasonable and is no more than 5 working days (working days being Monday to Friday) after the original date. Reasonable time off work will be permitted for the employee to consult with the companion but must be authorised in advance by the employee s manager. It is good practice to allow companions to participate as fully as possible in the hearing, as detailed below. A companion may: A companion may not: Put the employee s case, Answer questions on the employee s behalf, Sum up that case, Address the hearing if the employee does Respond on the employee s behalf to not want this, any view expressed at the hearing, Act in a way that prevents the Council from Confer with the employee. explaining its case or prevents anyone else at the hearing from contributing. In exceptional cases an employee s disability may require attendance of a support worker or relative to assist during grievance hearings. Where this is the case, this additional companion s role is purely a support one (eg sign language interpreting, etc) and does not include the rights listed above. Requests for such a companion to attend must be made to the Chair of the grievance panel, in advance, in all cases. The Grievance Manager must receive, no later than 3 working days before the date set for the hearing the name and status of any companion(s). The hearing must be conducted at a reasonable location and time, with particular attention to the needs of any disabled person attending the hearing Prior to the hearing The Grievance Manager must write to the employee (Template Letter GML 1 - in appropriate accessible format, if required for disabled employees) within 5 working days of receiving the Grievance Complaint form, to invite the employee to attend a hearing to discuss the grievance. The Grievance Manager should arrange for the hearing to take place as soon as reasonably practicable but in any event within 4 weeks of the date of the invite, unless there are exceptional circumstances justifying a longer period. The Grievance Manager s decision is final. If the grievance is about the actions of another employee or manager, that person should be provided with a copy of the Grievance Procedure, a copy of the completed Grievance Complaint form and any supporting documentation, and be asked to make a written response (including any witness statements or with any witness statements of their own) within 10 working days of receipt. The responding employee/manager should also be advised that they might wish to discuss the grievance with a work colleague or a trade union official before responding. Grievance Procedure (inc ADHB) p.4 of 9 Produced by HR Oct 09

6 A copy of any written response to the completed Grievance Complaint form must be provided to the employee raising the grievance no later than 5 working days before the date set for the grievance hearing. It is recommended that an independent note taker is appointed by the school. If an appeal is requested, the notes will be used by the panel at an appeal hearing. The decision maker at the hearing should also retain their summary notes as a record of the grievance hearing Conduct of the hearing The Grievance Manager, who is the decision maker, is responsible for the conduct of the grievance hearing and will open the hearing by explaining the format, which should include: Confirmation that the use of the Grievance Procedure is appropriate in the circumstances and that those present have a copy. The three possible options at the end of the hearing, which are: 1 The grievance is agreed and a remedy is decided on. 2 The grievance is agreed in part and a remedy is determined in respect of that part of the grievance, whilst the remaining part is not considered any further. The grievance is not agreed. 3 Examination of the details of the grievance and consideration of any witness statements. Consideration of a written (or other acceptable accessible format see guidance) response/evidence from any other employee named in the written grievance. The opportunity for the Grievance Manager to question the employee. Consideration of what the employee believes would be a satisfactory resolution. The Grievance Manager may decide to postpone the proceedings whilst s/he seeks clarification from any witness(es) or from the responding employee/manager of matters referred to in their witness statement or response Outcome of the hearing After the hearing, the Grievance Manager will consider the case and reach a decision. This will reflect the circumstances of the case and, in the case of a discrimination/harassment/ bullying claim, may include remedial action against the alleged harasser, ranging from training to formal disciplinary action. A decision should normally be made and communicated to the employee within 5 working days of the hearing unless the Grievance Manager and employee both agree to set an alternative deadline or there are exceptional circumstances which prevent a decision being provided within this timeframe. The Grievance Manager must inform the employee in writing (Template Letter GML 2) or in another appropriate format, if required for disabled employees) of their response in relation to the grievance and remind them of the right of appeal against the decision if they are not satisfied with it. A record of the grievance hearing must be prepared after the hearing and a confidential copy retained by Human Resources. The Grievance Manager must also notify the HR Business Manager for Schools. Grievance Procedure (inc ADHB) p.5 of 9 Produced by HR Oct 09

7 5. APPEAL PROCESS STEP 3 If the decision made is to dismiss the grievance, and the employee continues to be dissatisfied, they should: Submit a written appeal request to the Chair of Governors using Template Form GF 3 within 5 working days of notification of the outcome of the Grievance Hearing Ask that the grievance be considered at an appeal hearing, stating the reasons why they are appealing against the decision Appeal acknowledgement and forming the Appeal Panel The Chair of Governors will send a written acknowledgement (Template Letter GML 3) or in another appropriate accessible format, as requested) within 5 working days of receipt of appeal, confirming that the appeal will be considered at an appeal hearing. The Chair of Governors will consult with the HR Business Manager for Schools. This appeal will be considered by a panel of at least three governors who have had no prior involvement in the case. HR advice will be provided to the panel as appropriate. The appeal panel must appoint a note taker, arrange for a suitable room which must be free from interruptions and provide necessary requirements for disabled attendees Before the appeal hearing The appeal hearing must take place no later than 4 weeks from the date of the written request from the employee to have the grievance heard in appeal. The details of the hearing and copies of any relevant documentation will be notified to the employee and panel members not less than 5 working days prior to the date of the hearing (Template Letter GML 4). Employees will also be reminded of their right to be accompanied by a colleague from within the school or a trade union official. If the companion is unable to attend on the proposed hearing date the employee can suggest another date provided this is reasonable and is no more than 5 working days after the original date. NB: In cases of postponement of the appeal hearing (or of non attendance of the employee), the same provisions apply as for the grievance hearing (see xx). If an appeal has been rescheduled and the employee fails to either attend, send a representative on their behalf or make a written submission, the appeal panel will be entitled to conclude that the employee has decided not to proceed, and no further action will be taken The Appeal hearing takes place as follows: The panel hears a submission from each side; It takes account of the grounds of appeal and management response; It reviews the record of the grievance hearing and the outcome letter from the original hearing; The panel can seek clarification if required. If new evidence is introduced at this stage, the appeal panel will decide whether or not to allow such information to be considered Appeal decision The three possible options at the end of the hearing are: Grievance Procedure (inc ADHB) p.6 of 9 Produced by HR Oct 09

8 1 2 3 The grievance is agreed and a remedy is decided on. The grievance is agreed in part and a remedy is determined in respect of that part of the grievance, whilst the remaining part is not considered any further. The grievance is not agreed. The Chair of the Appeal Panel will, within 5 working days of the appeal hearing, unless there is agreement to set an alternative deadline, notify the employee of the decision, as well as its rationale, in writing using Template Letter GML 5 (or other accessible format as necessary). Decisions at this stage will be final. Grievance Procedure (inc ADHB) p.7 of 9 Produced by HR Oct 09

9 3. If unsuccessful, line manager and staff member to speak with Headteacher Line manager to work with parent and staff member(s) to try and resolve Speak to the line manager Staff member to contact their Union to seek advice if appropriate. HJP to meet with parent to discuss issue and next steps with an aim to resolve Member of staff can also meet separately with named Governor; Staff Union member can also attend If matter remains unresolved, staff member needs to follow Step 2 of The Grievance Policy Grievance Procedure (inc ADHB) p.2 of 9 Produced by HR Oct 09 If unsuccessful, Headteacher to meet with a Governor from Pay & Personnel, discuss matter and a named Governor to meet with parent to try and resolve issue

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