Disciplinary Policy & Procedure

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1 Policies and Procedures Disciplinary Policy & Procedure Last updated July

2 1. Introduction Principles Issues that may lead to disciplinary action Informal Procedure Investigations Suspension Formal Disciplinary Procedure Right to appeal.8 9. Other policies you may wish to refer to 8 2

3 1 Introduction 1.1 Edinburgh University Students Association is committed to being an employer of choice. We believe that staff are central to achieving excellence in our services. As such, our policies reflect a working environment and practices that value staff contribution. 1.2 The Disciplinary Procedure exists as a means of encouraging employees to apply acceptable standards of behaviour. The organisation s aim is to encourage improvement in individual conduct and performance. 1.3 This policy relates to all categories of staff. It sets out the procedures that will be followed when organisation rules are breached, or when an individual consistently fails to perform. 1.4 This policy aims to inform all relevant parties of their responsibilities for managing performance and conduct. It is as comprehensive as possible but cannot be exhaustive as every disciplinary matter must be treated on its own merit. 1.5 Through this policy EUSA aims to: manage issues fairly, responsibly, consistently and in non-discriminatory manner address and manage concerns about performance or conduct with staff clearly outline the expectations regarding performance and conduct to all staff enable and encourage good standards of behaviour by the identification and resolution of problems provide consistent advice, support and training to both line managers and employees minimise both the cost and impact of poor performance and unacceptable conduct on services 1.6 This policy is non contractual and may be subject to review and change as required by employment law and EUSA. For the latest version of this policy and procedure please check the EUSA staff website. 2 Principles 2.1 Good management practice ensures that all employees comply with the organisation s acceptable standards of behaviour and conduct and receive appropriate support in maintaining them. 2.2 Line Managers are responsible for applying these standards of conduct and behaviour and for enforcing rules, ensuring that breaches are tackled quickly and efficiently. 2.3 Where a potential disciplinary issue comes to light, the manager must act promptly in accordance with this procedure 2.4 The Disciplinary Procedure is not binding during the probationary period. During this period EUSA reserves the right not to give prior warnings before taking action to terminate the contract of employment. 3

4 3 Issues that may lead to disciplinary action: 3.1 The following is a non-exhaustive list of the types of offences which, if committed, will normally lead to disciplinary action being taken: Failure to display the expected attitudes or values Failure to follow established duties, routines, guidelines or procedures defined across the organisation and/or by your department Breach of EUSA s policies or your terms & conditions of employment as outlined in the staff reference guide and your written contact of employment Theft, fraud, dishonesty Poor timekeeping Failure to follow absence reporting procedures Unsatisfactory work performance Unreasonable failure to follow an instruction issued by a manager or supervisor Discrimination Harassment, bullying or victimisation Incapacity at work or poor performance due to drink or drugs Inappropriate use of social media in relation to your employment Conduct outside of working hours that may be detrimental to EUSA s image or reputation Breach of Health and Safety, Food Hygiene or Licensing Regulations Smoking on EUSA property, including vehicles Damage to EUSA property, or use of EUSA property for any purpose other than the normally defined duties Actions causing financial loss to the organisation Making unsubstantiated or/and malicious accusations against EUSA employees Failure to meet the required standards in relation to personal appearance and hygiene 3.2 For staff with line management responsibilities, these would additionally include: Failure to manage staff performance Failure to exemplify expected standards of performance Failure to manage financial obligations in relation to budgets Failure to provide agreed management information, such as financial information, payroll details, new employee details, recording of staff absences Failure to follow EUSA policy and procedure, including failure to instigate disciplinary procedure when appropriate 3.3 Whilst we have outlined some of the key expectations regarding standards of behaviour and performance, it is not possible to provide an exhaustive list of guidelines and expectations, and staff are expected to apply common sense when carrying out their duties. 4 Informal Procedure 4.1 When a manager becomes aware of a potential conduct or performance issue, they will first consider if it can be resolved without initiating a formal disciplinary process If appropriate, the manager will discuss the matter with you informally, indicating what improvement is needed and within what timescales. They may agree an action plan with you and confirm the discussions in a letter of concern, a copy of which will be placed in your file. These may be used as a basis for any subsequent disciplinary action if improvement has not 4

5 taken place within the specified period of time, or where there has been a reoccurrence of the misconduct. 5 Investigations 5.1 If the matter cannot be dealt with informally, an investigation will be requested. 5.2 EUSA is committed to ensuring that all potential breaches of disciplinary rules are fully investigated on an unbiased and impartial basis. Investigations will therefore be carried out by a neutral manager, senior to the employee under investigation and not directly involved in the issues or the line management of the individual concerned. 5.3 The purpose of an investigation is to establish the facts and determine whether there is a case to answer. 5.4 The investigation will be carried out as soon as possible after the alleged misconduct has been reported, and will take as long as is necessary to ascertain all the facts without unduly delaying the proceedings. 5.5 In certain circumstances EUSA may look into the background of a complaint received without informing the individual concerned, in order to establish what the issues are. 5.6 The investigation report will be made available to all parties concerned if deemed necessary to progress to a disciplinary hearing. 5.7 Where necessary, the identity of witnesses will be kept confidential, however, this will only apply in extenuating circumstances and is not common practice. 6 Suspension 6.1 In exceptional cases it may be necessary to suspend an employee from work whilst investigations are being carried out. This would normally be in cases of suspected gross misconduct, where their presence in the workplace may have an effect on health & safety of EUSA staff, customers, suppliers or partners, or where it may unduly affect the process. 6.2 EUSA reserves the right to suspend a person as a pre-emptive matter if there is cause for concern regarding risk to company assets 6.3 EUSA will take steps to establish the main facts of a case before the decision about suspension from work is made. A decision to suspend someone will be taken in conjunction with Human Resources, and will be confirmed to the individual in writing. 6.4 During a period of suspension, the employee must be contactable and available to attend meetings during their normal working hours. They must not attend their place of work other than for the purpose of disciplinary proceedings, including investigatory interviews. Additionally, they shall not contact other EUSA employees, customers, suppliers or partners about the disciplinary issue, except for their chosen workplace colleague or trade union representative. 5

6 7 Formal Disciplinary Procedure 7.1 If it is considered that there is a disciplinary case to answer following an investigation, a Disciplinary Meeting will be arranged. 7.2 The meeting will be chaired by an impartial manager, where possible from a different department, not involved in investigations of the issues concerned and with no direct line management responsibility over the individual concerned. 7.3 You will be invited to attend this meeting, in writing, with at least two days notice. The letter will state: The date and location of the meeting A detailed account of the case against you Names of any witnesses in attendance Copies of any witness statements that will be produced Your right to be accompanied by a trade union representative or work colleague 7.4 You are entitled to call witnesses or present evidence at the Disciplinary Meeting. If you wish to do so, you have to provide the names of the witnesses you intend to call, or copies of the evidence you wish to present, to the HR department at least 24 hours prior to the Meeting. 7.5 During the meeting you will have an opportunity to present your case and answer any allegations that have been made. 7.6 If you wish, you have the right to be accompanied at this meeting by a work colleague or a representative of your recognised trade union. It is your responsibility to arrange the attendance of any colleague or representative of a trade union. This individual has the right to decline to attend. The name of your companion and whether they are your workplace colleague or trade union representative must be provided to the HR Department at least 24 hours prior to the meeting. In certain circumstances EUSA can object to your choice of companion if there is a conflict of interest which may affect the meeting. Your companion is primarily there as a form of support for you but may: address the meeting confer with you during the meeting, and request an adjournment. However, they are not allowed to: behave in any way that prevents the case being fully heard, or answer questions put directly to you 7.7 If you and/or your colleague are unable to attend the meeting, you must contact your line manager at the earliest opportunity and explain the reason why. If non-attendance is for a valid reason, the meeting may be postponed. It is your responsibility to provide a suitable alternative date for this meeting, normally within 5 working days of the original meeting. EUSA will take individual circumstances into account when arranging these meetings. As such you should note that failure to attend may result the meeting being held and a decision being made in your absence based on the information available. 7.8 You will be informed of the outcome as soon as possible after the meeting. The chairperson will normally adjourn the meeting to make a decision and in most cases it will be communicated to you on the same day, unless further investigation is required or the Chairperson needs time to consider the evidence. The outcome of the Disciplinary Meeting will be confirmed to you in writing the outcome letter will detail the precise nature of the 6

7 complaint or offence, the likely consequences of further offences or complaints and, if appropriate, what improvement is required and over what period. 7.9 There are three levels of outcome of a formal disciplinary procedure, as outlined in the table below. Action may be taken at any of these levels and will depend on: the nature and seriousness of misconduct the overall employment record, including any current disciplinary warnings any mitigating circumstances Outcome Basis for Outcome Duration First written warning When appropriate: minor offence or complaint performance not meeting the required standards conduct or performance failed to 9 months Final written warning Dismissal improve following informal process When appropriate: your conduct or performance failed to improve following a previous warning there is a further offense at a similar level your actions are serious enough to warrant Final Written Warning When appropriate: your conduct or performance failed to improve following a previous warning there is a further serious disciplinary offense all previous stages of the procedure have been exhausted you committed an act of gross misconduct 12 months N/A 7.10 Dismissal with notice occurs if, despite warnings, conduct or performance does not improve to the required level within the specified time period. In these circumstances you will receive the appropriate period of notice or payment in lieu of notice Dismissal without notice can occur if the offence is an act of gross misconduct, which means that the misconduct is serious enough to overturn the contract between EUSA and yourself therefore justifying dismissal without notice or pay in lieu of notice. The following is a nonexhaustive list of the types of offences which, if committed, will amount to gross misconduct offences and warrant summary dismissal: Repeated or blatant disregard of the expected attitudes or values Theft, fraud, dishonesty Serious breach of the terms and conditions of employment and/or EUSA policies and procedures Deliberate falsification of records Unacceptable behaviour towards students, staff, customers, partners or suppliers Gross negligence in the performance of duties causing significant loss, damage or injury Gross insubordination 7

8 Conscious or deliberate failure to follow reasonable instruction from a more senior staff member Bullying, harassment or discrimination Physical violence, threats, fighting, assault on another person Serious incapability whilst on duty brought on by alcohol or illegal drugs, The mis-use of drugs or the possession of illegal drugs whilst at work Serious misuse of the EUSA s property or name Bringing EUSA into disrepute, including criticising the organisation on a public forum Serious breach of confidentiality Serious breach of trust or confidence; serious act(s) of dishonesty Any action endangering the health and safety of yourself, any third party or others. Conviction of a criminal offence that is relevant to the employee's employment It is impossible to fully prescribe disciplinary events and as such this list does not represent a comprehensive, exclusive or exhaustive list of those offences regarded as gross misconduct, warranting summary dismissal. Offences other than those above may be regarded as gross misconduct and where considered as such may also result in summary dismissal. 8 Right to Appeal 8.1 You have the right to appeal against any formal action taken at a Disciplinary Meeting. All appeals have to be submitted in writing to the HR Department within 7 calendar days of the date of receipt of the outcome letter. In your letter you must clearly state the full grounds on which you are appealing including all details which you feel are relevant to your appeal. The appeal should not simply outline that you are not happy with the outcome. 8.2 The grounds for appeal may include new evidence, undue severity or inconsistency of the penalty. EUSA will consider whether there are grounds for appeal in line with the most recent ACAS guidelines. 8.3 If an appeal meeting is held, this will be arranged as soon as possible and without undue delay. Appeals will be heard by an impartial manager who, wherever possible, will be more senior to the manager chairing the Disciplinary Meeting. You have a right to be accompanied by a workplace colleague or a trade union representative. 8.4 Appeal decisions are final and will be confirmed in writing. 9. Other policies you may wish to refer to: - Grievance Policy - Dignity at Work Policy - Equal Opportunities Policy 8

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