BBP Staff Disciplinary Procedure

Introduction

The purpose of this disciplinary procedure is to help and encourage all employees of the Project toachieve and maintain required standards of conduct and work performance. The aim is also to ensure that the Project’s services are maintained and effective while all staff are treated fairly and equitably. This procedure deals with individuals as employees of the co-operative.

In cases of minor misconduct or unacceptable performance or behaviour, we will endeavor toresolve issues informally where possible. However, if informal action does not bring about an improvement, or the misconduct or unsatisfactory performance is considered to be too serious to be classed as minor, formal disciplinary action will be taken.

It is the role of all employees to ensure they are aware of general and specific rules, standards andprocedures covering work and conduct. Employees must familiarise themselves with these standards and procedures and ensure that they follow them.

Principles

  • No disciplinary action will be taken against an employee until the case has been promptly and fully investigated. When starting an investigation into an allegation of misconduct or poor performance there shall be no assumption that disciplinary action will automatically follow.
  • Employees will not normally be dismissed for a first breach of discipline, except in the case of gross misconduct, when the penalty will be dismissal without notice andwithout payment in lieu of notice.
  • At every stage in the procedure the employee will be advised of the nature of thecomplaint and given access to all relevant evidence.
  • Cases will be heard by a Disciplinary Panel, usually consisting of two Directors andone staff member. Appeals will be heard by the Directors’ Group.
  • Employees will be given the opportunity to state their case before any decision ismade.
  • At all stages the employee will have the right to be accompanied by a trade unionrepresentative or a fellow employees
  • Disciplinary proceedings, witness statements and records relating to disciplinaryproceedings must be kept confidential.
  • The co-operative may implement the procedure at any of the stages set out below depending on the seriousness of the misconduct or poor performance in question.
  • Where the co-operative is investigating serious misconduct the employee may be suspended from work on full pay. Such suspension will be for as short a period aspossible, to allow an investigation to be conducted. Suspension in such circumstances will not be regarded as an indication of presumed guilt.

Formal disciplinary procedure

If informal action fails to achieve the required improvement in performance or behaviour then this procedure will be followed. The procedure applies to all employees once their probationary periodis completed.

Invitation to a disciplinary meeting

Following an investigation the employee should, without unavoidable delay, be informed in writing, detailing the allegation, the possible consequences and inviting them to a disciplinary meeting.

  • The written request should be accompanied by copies of all documentation and supporting evidence to be presented at the meeting to provide the employee with reasonable opportunity to consider their response to that information.

  • If possible, the meeting shall be held within 5 days of the date of the written request.

  • The written request should state that the employee has the right to be accompanied by a trade union representative or work colleague at the meeting.
  • The Disciplinary Panel will consider whether any reasonable adjustments are required for disabled employees, such as allowing a support worker or sign language interpreter to attend the meeting.

Disciplinary meeting

No disciplinary action will be taken until the meeting has taken place. If an employee fails to attend a disciplinary meeting, the Disciplinary Panel should try and re-arrange the meeting at least one more time. If the employee continues to be absent but has a good reason such as sickness, it would be good practice to be more flexible about rearranging the meeting more than once, if possible, oran offer could be made to hold the meeting at a place or time more convenient to them, or allow them to provide their response in writing or via their representative.

  • Where possible a note taker, who must be uninvolved in the case will take down arecord of the meeting.
  • The Disciplinary Panel should open the meeting with an explanation of its purposeand will read aloud the allegations.
  • If there are any witnesses, they should not be present throughout the meeting. They should be called in, one by one, to give evidence and asked to leave once they havedone so.
  • The Disciplinary Panel will then ask the employee if they wish to take the opportunity to respond to the allegations or concerns, or if there are any mitigating circumstances to be taken into account.
  • The Disciplinary Panel may question the employee and any witness called.
  • The Disciplinary Panel will summarise the main points of the discussion and ask theemployee if they have anything further to say.

The Disciplinary Panel will then consider the details heard in private.

·They must decide whether the case against the employee has been established onthe balance of probabilities, (ie) whether the misconduct is confirmed or the employee’s performance is found to be unsatisfactory.

·They should consider any special mitigating circumstances the employee’s previous disciplinary or performance record, how the co-operative has dealt with similarcases in the past and whether the proposed action is reasonable in view of all the circumstances.

The Disciplinary Panel shall give the employee written confirmation of the decision, normally within five working days of the meeting. This will include notifying the employee of their right of appealand the procedure to be followed.

Disciplinary Action

Following a decision to take action at a disciplinary meeting, one of the sanctions set out below maybe applied:

i.Stage 1 (misconduct)– Written Warning

If conduct does not meet acceptable standards, the employee will normally be given a written warning by the Directors’ Group. They will then be advised of the reason for the warning – that it is the first stage of the disciplinary procedure – and of their right to appeal. The written warning will detail:

  • the complaint;
  • the change in behaviour required;
  • the timescale for achieving this improvement, and dates for review;

A copy of this written warning will kept in the employee’s personal file, but will bedisregarded for disciplinary purposes after 1 year.

i.Stage 1 (performance)– Improvement Note

If performance does not meet the acceptable standards the employee will normally be given an improvement note by the Directors’ Group. The employee will be advised of thereason for the note and of their right of appeal. The written warning will detail:

  • the complaint;
  • the change in performance required;
  • the timescale for achieving this improvement, and dates for review;

A copy of this note detailing will be kept in the employee’s personal file but will be considered spent after 1 year – subject to achieving and sustaining satisfactoryperformance.

ii.Stage 2– Final Written Warning

If performance is still unsatisfactory or if a further misconduct occurs, or if the misconduct is sufficiently serious to warrant only one written warning but insufficiently serious to justify dismissal (in effect both first and final written warnings), the employee will be given a finalwritten warning.

  • This will give details of the complaint, the improvement required, the settimescale for improvement and dates for review.
  • It will warn that dismissal may result if there is no satisfactory improvementand will advise of the right of appeal.
  • A copy of this final written warning will be kept on file but will be disregarded for disciplinary purposes after 1 year (in exceptional cases this duration maybe longer) subject to achieving and sustaining satisfactory conduct or performance.
iii.Stage 3– Dismissal

If conduct or performance is still unsatisfactory and the employee fails to reach the prescribed standards, or if the offence constitutes gross misconduct, dismissal will normally result. The employee will be provided as soon as reasonably practicable with written reasons for dismissal, the date on which their employment will terminate and be advised of the right of appeal. Dismissal as a staff member will lead to dismissal as a member.

Appeal

An employee may appeal against the decision of the Disciplinary Panel by informing the Directors’ Group. The employee must do so in writing within five working days of receiving written notification of the disciplinary action, stating the reason for the appeal. Any documents submitted in support ofthe appeal must be attached.

An appeal meeting should be held without unavoidable delay. The Directors’ Group shouldinvestigate the application and advise the employee of the decision in writing.

The decision of the Directors’ Group is final.

Confidentiality

All parties involved will be asked to maintain confidentiality.

Definitions

Poor Performance

Examples of poor performance include:

  • consistent failure to perform work to a reasonable and acceptable standard;
  • evidence of negligence or inadequate attention to the requirements of the job.

Misconduct

Examples of misconduct include:

  • acting in way which contravenes BBP policy, such as the Safer Space policy;
  • bad behaviour;
  • misuse of BBP facilities;
  • poor timekeeping;
  • unauthorised absences;

Gross misconduct

Examples of gross misconduct include:

  • theft or fraud;
  • harassment or victimisation;
  • physical violence or bullying;
  • deliberate and serious damage to property;
  • serious misuse of an organisation’s property or name;
  • deliberately accessing internet sites containing pornographic, offensive or obscenematerial;
  • unlawful discrimination or harassment;
  • bringing the organisation into serious disrepute;
  • serious incapability at work brought on by alcohol or illegal drugs;
  • causing loss, damage or injury through serious negligence;
  • a serious breach of health and safety rules.

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