Disciplinary and Dismissal
1. Policy Statement
The disciplinary and dismissal procedures are designed to help and encourage all employees to achieve and maintain standards of conduct, attendance and job performance. UCM’s rules and these procedures apply to all employees, and the aim is to ensure consistent and fair treatment for everyone in the organisation.
The following general principles will apply to the disciplinary and dismissal procedures.
- No disciplinary action will be taken against an employee until the case has been fully investigated.
- Each step and action will be taken without unreasonable delay.
- Whenever the employee is invited by UCM to attend a meeting, the employee must take all reasonable steps to attend.
- At all stages of the procedure the employee will have the right to be accompanied by a trade union representative or a work colleague of their choice. If the employee’s companion is unable to attend, the employee may suggest an alternative date, provided it is within 5 working days of the original date.
- Timing and location of meetings must be reasonable.
- Meetings will be conducted in a manner that enables both UCM and the employee to explain their case.
- For appeal hearings following a decision, as far as is reasonably practicable, UCM will be represented by a more senior manager than attended the first meeting (unless the most senior manager attended that meeting).
- Whenever UCM or the employee is required to send the other a statement, the original or a copy will suffice.
Any disciplinary action and/or dismissal will be conducted within the following general principles:
- UCM may suspend an employee with or without pay while an investigation takes place. Such a suspension will be reviewed as soon as possible and will normally not exceed 10 working days.
- An employee will not be dismissed for a first breach of discipline, except in the case of gross misconduct. In the case of gross misconduct, the penalty may be dismissal without either notice or payment in lieu of notice.
2. Definitions of Misconduct
Misconduct will generally fall into two categories, namely:
- General misconduct, in respect of which the general disciplinary action procedure described below applies
- Gross misconduct, which is of so serious a nature that it justifies instant dismissal for a first offence.
Listed below are examples which would normally be considered to be either general misconduct or gross misconduct. However, these lists are not exhaustive and should not be expected to meet every case.
Furthermore, an action described as general misconduct may amount to and be treated as gross misconduct if the circumstances or the manner of the misconduct are such as to warrant serious disciplinary action. These lists should be regarded, therefore, as being illustrative rather than exhaustive.
2.1 Gross Misconduct
Summary dismissal (dismissal without notice or pay in lieu of notice) may be necessary in cases of gross misconduct. For guidance, the following are examples of offences which may be regarded as gross misconduct and will normally result in summary dismissal. The list is not exhaustive but is an indication of UCM’s view of what constitutes a serious offence:
- Flagrant disobedience of reasonable instructions from superiors or refusal to obey a lawful instruction in connection with the employment
- Theft or fraudulent activity
- Breaching, or causing UCM or assisting, procuring or facilitating any other person or company to breach any relevant legislation affecting the conduct of its business
- Being under the influence of drink, drugs or other proscribed substances which impinge upon performance or conduct whilst at work
- Serious breach of UCM’s rules and procedures
- Being convicted of any criminal offence (whether or not relating to employment) which, in the opinion of UCM, seriously undermines professional confidence in the employee
- Deliberate damage to any UCM property or property which is not owned by UCM but which is on premises occupied by UCM, or property of other employees, or of third parties
- Disorderly or indecent conduct, including fighting on UCM premises, threatening behaviour or using physical violence
- Deliberate acts of discrimination or harassment in breach of UCM’s Equal Opportunities Policy or the Equality Act
- Falsification of references
- Acceptance of any bribe, secret profit or unauthorised commission, or any act that would be considered illegal under the Bribery Act
- Making false statements about one’s own or another employee’s work, the falsification of working papers, or the making of any statements likely to be detrimental to the reputation of UCM
- Misuse of the Whistleblowing Policy by deliberately raising false and/or malicious allegations
- The use of the offices, property or reputation of UCM, or the use of information obtained by virtue of employment by UCM to trade or carry on business on account of anyone other than UCM
- Serious misuse of any means of electronic communication at UCM or any breach of company policy in relation to IT services
- Committing any act likely to bring UCM into disrepute
- Unauthorised absence or gross negligence in the performance of duties
- Unauthorised use or disclosure of confidential information or business matters relating to UCM, its clients, temporary workers or applicants
- Collusion with UCM’s competitors in an attempt to limit competition, fix prices, or form a cartel, or any other action which would be considered illegal under the Competition Act.
2.2 General Misconduct
Examples of general misconduct include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Failure to disclose that you are involved in a criminal or civil case (including County Court judgements)
- Unsatisfactory record of attendance or reliability
- Persistent lateness
- Persistent failure to meet targets
- Poor job performance
- Poor standards of personal hygiene
- Breaches of the UCM’s rules and procedures not amounting to gross misconduct
- Unauthorised and/or excessive personal use of any means of electronic communication at the work
- Failing to work in a cooperative manner with colleagues, or conduct which impairs the efficiency of management or colleagues
- Failing to deal promptly, efficiently and politely with third parties with whom an employee has dealings on behalf of UCM
3. Disciplinary Procedure
The standard and modified dismissal and disciplinary procedures are set out below. The standard procedure will be used when UCM contemplates dismissing or taking formal disciplinary action against an employee for general misconduct. The modified procedure will apply when an employee is summarily dismissed without notice for gross misconduct.
Depending upon the reason as to why a disciplinary hearing is taking place, UCM reserves the right to initiate the process at any stage, including dismissal, or to jump stages if it is considered that the employee’s conduct warrants it. The employee will have the right to be accompanied by another employee or a trade union representative at any disciplinary hearing.
The disciplinary procedure is not necessarily a progressive one.
3.1 Standard Procedure
Step 1 – Written Statement
UCM will undertake all necessary investigations and subsequently set out in writing the employee’s alleged conduct or characteristics or other circumstances, which led to disciplinary action being against the employee. The Director, or their representative, will send the statement or a copy of it to the employee and notify the employee of the date of a meeting to discuss the matter.
This written notification will usually be provided at least 5 working days in advance of the meeting. When the Director, or their representative, deems there are exceptional circumstances which require a shorter period of notice to be given, the reasons for this will be explained to the employee.
The Director and/or the employee may wish to invite witnesses to attend the hearing or to provide written statements. If this is the case, the employee should advise the Director and/or provide written statements from witnesses at least 2 working days before the hearing.
Step 2 – Meeting
The meeting to consider and discuss the allegation will take place before any action is taken, except in the case where the disciplinary action consists of a suspension on full pay.
If the employee fails to attend the meeting, the Director may proceed in the employee’s absence. However, the meeting will not take place unless:
- The employee has been informed of the grounds for contemplating disciplinary action or dismissal in the form of a written statement
- The employee has had a reasonable opportunity to consider their response to that information.
The employee has the right to be accompanied at the meeting by a work colleague or a trade union representative. They may confer with their companion during the course of the meeting, and the companion may be invited to address the meeting. However, the companion may not answer questions on behalf of the employee. The person conducting the meeting on behalf of UCM may also be accompanied by any one additional member of staff. At each stage of the process records will be kept detailing any evidence collected, interviews conducted and decisions made.
After the meeting, the Director, or their representative, will inform the employee in writing of the decision and notify the employee of their right to appeal against the decision if they are not satisfied with it.
Step 3 – Appeal
If the employee wishes to appeal, they must inform the Director in writing within 5 working days of receiving the decision. The Director, or their representative, will then invite the employee to attend a further meeting.
The appeal meeting may not necessarily take place before the dismissal or disciplinary action takes effect, but it will be arranged within a reasonable period of time, normally within no more than 10 working days of receipt of the appeal.
Where possible, the appeal will be dealt with by a more senior manager than at the step 2 meeting. Where this is not practicable, the Director will hear the appeal and decide the case as impartially as possible. They may invite another member of staff to accompany them at the meeting to assist with impartiality.
After the appeal meeting, the Director, or their representative, will inform the employee of the final decision.
3.2 Modified Procedure
In the case of summary dismissal without notice following gross misconduct on the part of the employee, the following modified procedure will be followed after the dismissal.
Step 1 – Written Statement
UCM will set out in writing and issue to the employee:
- Details of the employee’s alleged misconduct which has led to the dismissal
- What the basis was for thinking at the time of the dismissal that the employee was guilty of the alleged misconduct
- The employee’s right to appeal against dismissal
Step 2 – Appeal
If the employee wishes to appeal, they must inform the Director within 5 working days of receiving the statement. The Director will then invite the former employee to attend a meeting.
After the appeal meeting, the Director will inform the employee of the final decision.
Disciplinary action that may be taken against an employee in cases of misconduct or unsatisfactory performance as as follows:
Stage 1 – Informal Action: Oral Warning
If the employee’s conduct or performance is unsatisfactory, they may be given an oral warning. This is usually for minor offences.
Stage 2 – Formal Written Warning
If the employee’s conduct does not meet acceptable standards, or there has been no improvement after an oral warning, or if there has been a further incident of misconduct, the employee may be given a formal written warning.
Stage 3 – Formal Final Written Warning
A formal written warning will be issued if
- The employee’s misconduct is sufficiently serious
- Following a formal written warning there is a further incident of misconduct (whether or not of the same nature)
- The employee fails to improve within the period specified in the initial warning
The warning will result in dismissal or some other specific action if the employee’s conduct or performance does not improve during a period specified in the warning.
Stage 4 – Dismissal
If the employee’s misconduct is sufficiently serious, or if their conduct or performance is still unsatisfactory following a final written warning, they may be dismissed following a disciplinary interview. The decision to dismiss will be taken by the Director following a review of the evidence.
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