18. GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE

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1 18. GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE Our policy is to encourage free communication between all employees to ensure that questions and problems arising during the course of employment can be aired and, where possible, resolved quickly to the satisfaction of all concerned. There may be occasions when you believe that you have a grievance against some aspect of your employment with the Museum. A grievance is defined as a complaint by any member of the staff about action which the Museum has taken or is contemplating taking in relation to him/her. A grievance may be brought by either a single individual or a group of people. The following list indicates the types of issues that might give rise to a grievance (this list is not exhaustive): bullying, harassment or victimisation;* equal opportunities; health and safety at work; new working practices or policies; organisational change; terms and conditions of employment; work relationships; working environment. *Complaints directly relating to unfair treatment, e.g. bullying and harassment, will be dealt with, in the first instance, under the Harassment and Bullying Policy. Advice should be sought from the Personnel Department. There are certain issues which will not be considered under the Grievance Procedure. These include: cases that are vexatious; complaints which should be addressed, from the outset, by the Museum s Disciplinary Procedure; complaints relating directly to re-grading/promotion (these matters will be dealt with under the appropriate appeals mechanisms). Where appropriate every effort should be made to resolve grievances informally and as near to their source as possible. For example, if the grievance is between colleagues it may be appropriate for them to discuss the issue together or with their immediate Line Manager. If you are uncertain how to proceed, advice can be sought from the Personnel Department or your Trade Union representative. However a formal complaint may be raised from the outset at the complainant s request. Section 2 Page 1

2 Where, following informal discussions, it has not been possible to resolve a complaint/grievance to your satisfaction, the formal procedure outlined below should be followed: Step 1 Written Grievance You must set out, in writing, the nature of your grievance, clearly stating the basis of the complaint, and address this to the appropriate Line Manager as indicated below: Line Manager if your grievance concerns about any workplace issue; Head of the Department if the grievance concerns your immediate Line Manager; Appropriate Divisional Director if the grievance concerns the Head of Department. Director General if the grievance relates to a Divisional Director. You should send a copy of this letter to the Personnel Department and retain a copy for your own records. Step 2 Grievance Meeting The Personnel Department will acknowledge, in writing, receipt of your grievance letter and invite you to a meeting to discuss your grievance. Where a grievance is against another member of staff within the Museum, you will be invited to the meeting to discuss the issue and put forward your case (depending on the nature of the case, it may be more appropriate to meet with each party separately to discuss the complaint). The letter will inform you of the date, time and location of the meeting, and of the composition of the panel that will hear your grievance. The letter will also advise you that you have the right to be accompanied at the meeting (see below). The meeting will take place as soon as is reasonably practicable, normally within 5 working days of your written grievance having been received, or as soon as possible thereafter. Where it is not reasonably practicable to hear your grievance within 5 working days, you will be provided with an explanation for the delay. You will be given 5 working days notice of the meeting. For the purpose of this procedure, a working day is defined as a weekday (Monday-Friday) excluding public holidays and additional days when the Museum is closed. Both parties should take all reasonable steps to attend the meeting on the date/time stated. If, for genuine reasons, either party or their accompanying person cannot attend on the proposed date, an alternative date may be suggested. This date must be acceptable to all parties involved and should be within 5 working days of the original date (this time limit may be extended by mutual agreement). Section 2 Page 2

3 Both sides have the right to be accompanied at the grievance meeting by a colleague or a Trade Union representative. The accompanying person may confer with you during the meeting and, at your request, may address the panel and sum up the case. They are not, however, entitled to answer questions on your behalf. Neither side nor the Museum will have legal representation. The Personnel Department should be notified of the name, address and status of the accompanying person, and of any special requirements that you or your accompanying person may have, at least 3 working days prior to the meeting. The individual against whom the grievance has been brought has the right to make a written submission to the meeting. This must be submitted to Personnel Department at least 2 working days prior to the meeting and will be circulated to all parties and panel members. The Museum will carry out all reasonable investigations and may take its own witness statements, as necessary. If appropriate, both parties may call witnesses to provide evidence at the meeting. Names of any witnesses to be called must be made available to Personnel Department at least 2 working days prior to the meeting. It is your responsibility to ensure that all witnesses are advised of the date, time and venue of the meeting. Details of witnesses shall be made available to both parties. Both parties involved will be provided with copies of any relevant paperwork. Grievance Meeting Panel The panel will normally consist of your Line Manager, another (senior) manager and a member of the Personnel Department to advise. Conduct of the Grievance Meeting Any manager responsible for chairing such a meeting will receive a written brief from the Personnel Department regarding the conduct of the grievance meeting. Grievance Decision On the basis of the discussion and the evidence provided, the Chair will decide how best to deal with the grievance. The Chair has the authority to: - uphold the grievance; - partially uphold the grievance; - reject the grievance. Section 2 Page 3

4 Where the decision is made to uphold the complaint (wholly or partially), the Chair will seek to offer constructive solutions to the problems, the implementation of which it may monitor/review for a period. In cases relating to staff conduct/behaviour, if the ruling of the Chair is not adhered to by those involved, the matter may then be referred to the Disciplinary Procedure. Where the Chair has made the decision to reject the complaint, he/she may still make recommendations for resolving the difficulties identified during the meeting. Each party to the grievance, i.e. you and the member of staff against whom the grievance has been brought (if relevant), will be notified, in writing, of the decision and any associated action/recommendations within 10 working days of the meeting having taken place. This written notification will advise you of the right to appeal against the decision. Step 3 Right of Appeal You have the right to an appeal if you are not satisfied with the outcome of the meeting. Appeal Procedure A request for an appeal hearing must be lodged, in writing, within 5 working days of your being notified of the decision. This appeal should explain, fully, the grounds of the appeal and why you are not satisfied with the decision taken. Your letter should be addressed to the Director Corporate Services Division. You should also retain a copy of this letter. You will then be invited to a meeting in order that your appeal can be discussed. The appeal meeting will normally be held within 10 working days of the written appeal being lodged. You have the right to be accompanied by a colleague or Trade Union representative at the appeal meeting. The accompanying person may confer with you during the hearing and, at your request, may address the meeting and sum up the case. He/She is not, however, entitled to answer questions on your behalf. Neither you nor the Museum will have legal representation. The Personnel Department should be notified within 2 working days of the hearing, of the name, address and status of the accompanying person (if relevant) and any witnesses you may wish to call, together with notification of special requirements. It is your responsibility to inform witnesses of the date, venue and time of the hearing. All sides will be provided with the material presented at the original grievance meeting. Section 2 Page 4

5 Appeal Panel The Director Corporate Services Division will be responsible for appointing an appropriate appeal panel. Members of the appeal panel should have had no previous involvement in any stage of the grievance. A representative from Personnel Department will be in attendance. Conduct of the Appeal Hearing Any Line Manager responsible for chairing such a hearing will receive a written brief from the Personnel Department regarding the conduct of the appeal meeting. Appeal Decision On hearing all the evidence the appeal panel has the scope to: Uphold all or part of the previous decision; Not uphold the previous decision. The Personnel Department will confirm the decision, in writing, within 5 working days of the hearing having taken place and hand it to you wherever possible otherwise it will be sent by registered post. This decision of the appeal panel is final. *** A full record (with the agreed course of action) of each stage of the Grievance Procedure will be kept on your personnel file. All proceedings, whether informal or formal, should, so far is practicable, remain confidential. The timescales set out may be altered with the agreement of all sides. If you are either an independent contractor or agency worker under a contract to the Museum and you have a grievance, you should take the matter up directly with your employer, not the Museum. The Museum s Grievance Procedure will be reviewed periodically in the light of changing circumstances and developments in employment legislation. Section 2 Page 5

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