1 Disciplinary Procedure Hull City Council Human Resources Implementation Date: 1 st September 1998 Revised 1 st June 2005 Updated July 2006
2 DISCIPLINARY PROCEDURE 2 INTRODUCTION This document sets out the disciplinary procedure to be followed by Managers when dealing with all acts of alleged misconduct within the workforce. It should be read in conjunction with the Policy on Discipline, the Disciplinary Rules for Employees and the Manager s Guide. All decisions to implement the disciplinary procedure will be made in good faith and in a genuine belief that there has been misconduct which has had an adverse effect on the Council. SCOPE 3. This Procedure applies to all employees of the Council except employees in schools with delegated powers. This Procedure may be applied to teachers and non-teaching employees in schools if adopted by the governing body. It will also apply to Registration Officers in specific cases where the Registrar General has responsibility. 4. There is a separate Disciplinary Procedure for employees in schools. ADVICE/INFORMAL ACTION 5. When a potential misconduct situation occurs the first step is for the manager/supervisor to make brief preliminary enquiries to assess whether further action may be required. This may include meeting with the employee and asking him/her for a response on the matter. 6. If a preliminary meeting with the employee is held, he/she must be advised that they can bring a trade union representative or work colleague to the meeting to accompany them if they so wish. Unavailability of the representative will not necessarily delay the meeting. A list of recognised trade unions is available from the Human Resources Employee Communications team. 7. An attempt should be made to correct a situation and prevent it from getting worse through advice or informal action. A brief note should be made and kept by the manager/supervisor for reference purposes. 8. Following preliminary investigations, if it is decided that a more thorough investigation is required then an investigatory interview will need to be held with the employee concerned as soon as possible. PRECAUTIONARY SUSPENSION 9. After preliminary investigation, where alleged misconduct, if established, would be regarded as gross misconduct, the employee must be suspended from work on normal contractual pay. Details of the reason for suspension must be given to the employee as soon as possible. Suspension, in itself, is a precautionary measure and not a form of disciplinary action. Advice is available from the Human Resources Employee Relations team on whether or not precautionary suspension is appropriate.
3 3 INVESTIGATION 10. At the beginning of the investigatory interview the employee concerned must be given details of the complaint or incident as far as it is known. 11. The employee may be accompanied at the investigatory interview by a trade union representative or work colleague. The role of this person is to act as a witness as to what is said at the meeting. No attempt must be made to inhibit management in ascertaining the facts of the case. 12. The interview is not a disciplinary hearing at this stage and must not develop into one. 13. The investigation should include interviewing all witnesses, including clients and members of the general public. Where clients or members of the general public are to be interviewed, the employee s representative may sit in on the interview on a strict observer basis. Appropriate statements should be obtained, signed and dated by the witness. 14. In exceptional circumstances it may be that an investigation cannot be completed because of circumstances outside the control of the Council. You should then obtain advice from the Human Resources Employee Relations team. DISCIPLINARY HEARING 15. If, following thorough investigation, a decision is made to progress the matter through the formal disciplinary procedure, a disciplinary hearing will be arranged at which the employee, or the trade union representative if the employee requests this, will be given the opportunity to state his/her case. The employee s representative should be consulted on the date of the hearing. 16. The employee must be told, in writing, of the full allegation(s), that he/she is required to attend a disciplinary hearing (giving the place, date and time) and that he/she has the right to be accompanied by a trade union representative or work colleague. If the allegation, if established, would constitute gross misconduct this should be stated in the letter. 17. The employee, or anyone acting on his/her behalf, e.g. trade union representative, will receive copies of relevant papers, including all witness statements, at least 5 working days prior to the disciplinary hearing or sooner if possible. Where either side wishes to submit evidence, which could not be submitted prior to the hearing, this will be allowed providing both parties are given adequate opportunity to study it. 18. The disciplinary hearing will be conducted by a disciplinary panel. The Chair of the panel will be an appropriate manager who has had no involvement in the disciplinary investigation. 19. The disciplinary hearing will be conducted as follows:- (a) Introductions will take place, the purpose of the hearing will be explained and an explanation will be given as to how the hearing will be conducted.
4 (b) (c) (d) (e) (f) (g) 4 The approach will be formal, but polite and the hearing will be a two way process with the objective of ascertaining the true facts of the case. The allegation(s) will be outlined by the investigating officer and the evidence presented. This will include reference to any witness statements and the calling of witnesses as required. There will then be opportunity for questions to be asked related to the evidence presented. The employee will be given the opportunity to state his/her case, present evidence and call witnesses. Opportunity for questions at this stage will again be given. Both parties will be given the opportunity to summarise their case. The meeting will adjourn and a decision will be reached by the disciplinary panel. If necessary the meeting may be adjourned in order to carry out further investigations. If this does occur the meeting will be reconvened as soon as possible and the individual will be informed of the outcome of the further investigations. He/she will also be given the opportunity to comment on and/or question this. Following the adjournment the employee will then be recalled, will be informed of the panel s decision by the chair and, if applicable, the sanction which is to be imposed. The employee will also be advised at this stage of his/her right of appeal and the time limit for any such appeal. 20. All decisions will be confirmed, in writing, no later than 5 working days following the date of the disciplinary hearing. The letter will include (in the event of a warning being given): (a) (b) (c) (d) (e) the reason for the warning, the effective time period of the warning, the consequences of any further breach of discipline, the right of appeal, and the time limit for any such appeal. RIGHT OF APPEAL 21. All appeals must be made and received within 10 working days of the date of the letter giving/confirming the warning/disciplinary action. There is only one level of appeal in any particular case. TRADE UNION REPRESENTATIVES 22. Normal disciplinary procedures apply in full to trade union officials. However, no formal disciplinary action should be taken against a trade union official until the circumstances of the case have been discussed with a full time official, i.e. Regional Officer or Branch Secretary of the union concerned.
5 5 EMPLOYEE SUPPORT 23. The Council s Occupational Health and Safety Services which includes an external counselling service, is available to employees who feel they need help in coping with stress arising during, or from, the application of the disciplinary procedure. 24. This provision should not delay any investigation of alleged misconduct or subsequent disciplinary action.