ORBIT GROUP POLICY Disciplinary Policy

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1 Scope ORBIT GROUP POLICY Disciplinary Policy This policy covers all staff members employed by Orbit Group Limited, Orbit South Housing Association Limited and Orbit Heart Of England Housing Association who have successfully completed their probationary period. Staff members employed by these organisations also carry out work on behalf of Orbit East, Orbit South and Orbit Homes. This does not apply to Executive Directors who have separate arrangements in place. Throughout this document, the term misconduct is used to represent a range of misdemeanours including poor performance, conduct, attitude, behaviour, timekeeping and attendance. In poor performance cases, where the reason for the poor performance is a capability issue, the Capability Policy and related procedure will be used in place of this policy. Poor performance resulting from conduct, for example, negligence, lack of application or attitudinal problems (over which the employee has control) will be dealt with under the Disciplinary Policy. The fundamental distinction between capability and conduct may be expressed as "can't" as against "won't" respectively, the latter implying some degree of control, deliberation and/or choice. Where staff member s absence record has been investigated and the absences are deemed to be of a casual nature, and within the control of the staff member they will be dealt with under the Disciplinary Procedure. Long term sickness and genuine ongoing sickness absence recognised to be outside of the staff member s control will be dealt with under the Absence Policy. The Grievance Policy should not be used for appeals against disciplinary decisions, as that is the purpose of the appeals process which is part of the Disciplinary Procedure. If however, a staff member has a complaint against the behaviour of a manager during the course of a disciplinary case, they may raise it as a grievance with a senior manager. If necessary, the disciplinary procedure may be suspended for a short period until the grievance can be considered. Further, another manager may be brought in to deal with the disciplinary case. This policy does not form part of employees contractual rights. The contents may be subject to revision from time to time. 1

2 1. Introduction 1.1 It is appreciated that, in general, staff members conduct and performance at work are of a high standard. However, in order to promote and maintain good working relationships, it is essential to have clear and simple rules laid down for dealing with those cases of misconduct that may arise from time to time. 1.2 Wherever possible and if appropriate, issues with staff members will be dealt with through guidance and other forms of support, before initiating formal disciplinary action. 2. Definition 2.1 Orbit s Disciplinary Policy and related procedure follows the principles set out in the ACAS Discipline and Grievance Code of Practice. 2.2 Its aim is to ensure a consistent and fair approach to managing poor conduct and performance. 3. Policy Principles 3.1 Wherever possible, line managers should aim to settle issues informally. Only if the informal route is inappropriate or has been exhausted, should the formal process be followed. Often a quiet word, some coaching or additional training is all that is needed. 3.2 No disciplinary action will be taken until a case has been investigated. 3.3 If the Disciplinary Procedure is initiated, the staff member will be advised of the nature of the complaint against them and will be given an opportunity to state their case before any decision is made. 3.4 At any disciplinary hearing, a staff member will have the right to be accompanied by a trade union representative or a work colleague. 3.5 A staff member will have the right to appeal against any formal disciplinary sanction. 3.6 Issues will be dealt with promptly and within reasonable timescales (these may vary depending on the complexity of the case). 2

3 3.7 At any time during the investigation or Disciplinary Procedure, as evidence emerges, the Commissioning Manager may take the decision to suspend the staff member from work with pay. Suspension does not imply guilt and should not be regarded as a punishment. Staff members will only be suspended where it is appropriate due to the nature of the alleged offence or to enable the investigation to be completed. Any period of suspension will be for the minimum period necessary. 3.8 Orbit may seek assistance from external facilitators at any stage in the Disciplinary Procedure, in the interests of seeking a satisfactory outcome for all those concerned. For instance, in complex cases and to ensure there is no conflict of interest, it may be appropriate for an external investigation. 3.9 Where time limits are referred to in the course of the Disciplinary Procedure they may be varied by agreement between the staff member and Orbit If a staff member is charged with, or convicted of a criminal offence this may not be a reason for disciplinary action. Consideration will be given to what effect the charge or conviction has on the staff member s suitability to do the job and their relationship with their Orbit, colleagues and customers. 4. Conduct Expected Of Staff Members 4.1 All staff members are expected to: Adhere to the terms of their contract of employment including timekeeping, attendance and following Orbit s policies and procedures Conduct themselves in a manner consistent with the proper performance of their duties and the maintenance of good working relationships Be committed to our organisation and our customers, performing their duties diligently and as reasonably directed by managers, supervisors and their authorised deputies Uphold our values, and treat colleagues, partners, visitors, customers and stakeholders with respect Ensure the work environment is safe, observing relevant regulations Take care of property owned or used by Orbit 3

4 4.2 The above list is not exhaustive but should be used as guidance on acceptable conduct. 4.3 Failure to comply with the rules may represent misconduct and result in disciplinary action. 5. Gross Misconduct 5.1 The following are examples of behaviour regarded as potential gross misconduct and which could lead to summary dismissal (dismissal without paid notice). 5.2 The list is not exhaustive and it does not preclude Orbit taking action to dismiss or discipline members of staff for other reasons. Theft Dishonesty and/or misrepresentation Forgery or deliberate falsification of records Wilful damage to Orbit property Acts or threats of physical violence or aggression against others Serious bullying or harassment Refusal to carry out or comply with a reasonable management instruction Action which brings or risks bringing the organisation into disrepute including illegal activities Serious breach of confidence/confidentiality Serious negligence, which causes or might cause unacceptable loss, damage or injury Breach of Probity and Severance Policy Serious abuse of the organisation s flexible working or sick pay arrangements Serious dereliction of duty with regard to performance, conduct and the care of others Serious breach of the organisation s policies and procedures 5.3 Whether something qualifies as gross misconduct can depend upon the extent as well as the nature of the misconduct. In such circumstances, it will be for the person(s) holding the disciplinary hearing to decide if it qualifies as gross misconduct. 4

5 6. Informal Action 6.1 Any minor shortcomings in the conduct of a staff member will be brought to their attention in informal discussions about the problem, between the staff member and the manager. 6.2 The aim will be to give the staff member the opportunity to resolve the problem within a specified time period. The manager will make sure the member of staff is aware of the nature of the concern, the action required to correct matters and the timescales involved. 6.3 Managers will keep a written record of the discussion(s), a copy of which will be provided to the staff member. 7. The Possible Outcomes Of A Disciplinary Hearing 7.1 There are several possible outcomes of a Disciplinary Hearing. These are: The allegations are dismissed or considered inappropriate for formal disciplinary action Stage 1 - The staff member is issued with a Verbal Warning Stage 2 - The staff member is issued with a Written Warning Stage 3 - The staff member is issued with a Final Written Warning Stage 4 The staff member is dismissed, with or without notice. In cases of negligence and where Orbit incurs a cost that cannot be recovered, reasonable reimbursement will be sought from the staff member responsible. 7.2 Please note: Levels of warning can be repeated or jumped. 8. Consequences 8.1 If a disciplinary sanction is imposed it will remain active for the following periods from the date of the decision: Verbal Warning Written Warning Final Written Warning 6 months 12 months 12 months 5

6 8.2 Records of warnings will be held on the staff member s personal file. If no further concerns are identified during the relevant period then the warning will be considered to have expired. In addition to relevant documentation relating to any disciplinary action being held on the staff member s personal file, data will be held on computer by Human Resources for monitoring and salary purposes. 8.3 If issues raised in the decision are not addressed in the relevant timescales then the disciplinary procedure will progress. If the required improvement in performance or conduct is not reached in the specified time after a Final Written Warning has been issued, then the member of staff will be liable for dismissal. 9. Equality and Diversity 9.1 We will ensure that this policy is applied fairly and consistently to all our staff members. We will not directly or indirectly discriminate against any person or group of people because of their race, religion / faith, gender, disability, age, sexual orientation or any other grounds set out in our Equality and Diversity policy. 9.2 When applying this policy we will: act in line with Orbit's values, with respect and in consideration of the diverse needs of individual and communities take positive action to reduce the discrimination and harassment in local communities 9.3 This policy and any other Orbit publication is available in other formats (e.g. other languages, Braille, large print, audio). 10. Confidentiality and Information Sharing 10.1 We will only share information that meets the requirements of the Data Protection Act Monitoring and Accountability 11.1 The Executive Team will be responsible for ensuring that the policy is implemented in full. 6

7 11.2 The Executive Director Of Organisational Development will monitor the effectiveness of this policy and recommend policy changes to improve service delivery. 12. Review 12.1 The Executive Director of Organisational Development will ensure we carry out a fundamental review of this policy every three years from the date of this policy. 7

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