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Human Resources

Disciplinary Procedure for Academic (Teaching and Research) Staff

Contents

Statement of Policy 

Part One – Basic Principles 

Part Two – Disciplinary Procedure 


Part Three – Action available under the Formal Procedure

Part Four – Appeals against Disciplinary Action 


Appendix 1 – Gross Misconduct 

 

Statement of Policy

 

This Disciplinary Procedure for Academic (Teaching and Research) Staff is prescribed by regulation from Governing Body in order to support the implementation of the School’s Standing Order relating to Academic Staff: Dismissal, Discipline and Grievance Procedures and Related Matters, Part III.  References and direct quotations are taken from Standing Order where appropriate, for clarification.

Whilst the School does not intend to impose unreasonable rules of conduct on academic staff, certain standards of behaviour and performance are necessary to maintain good order and discipline, in the interests of both employees and employer.   When applying this Procedure to its academic staff, the School will consider the principles of academic freedom, justice and fairness and the School’s work to provide education, promote learning and engage in research efficiently and economically.

The School prefers that discipline is voluntary and self imposed, and in the majority of cases it is. However, from time to time it may be necessary to take action against individuals if behaviour or performance is not acceptable.

The purpose of this Disciplinary Procedure is to provide a formal means of helping and encouraging academic staff to achieve and maintain acceptable standards of conduct, attendance and job performance.

The procedure is designed to enable individual cases to be resolved fairly, consistently and in a timely manner. Wherever possible, help and encouragement, including formal training and/or mentoring, will be provided to allow staff to meet standards specified as a result of disciplinary action taken against them.

At every stage in the procedure, the employee will be kept advised of the nature of the complaint against him/her, and will be given the opportunity to prepare and present their case before any decision is made.

The formal Disciplinary Procedure, consists of three key stages - investigation, disciplinary hearing and appeal hearing - which are underpinned by common principles and processes as outlined in this Procedure below.  As stipulated by the School’s Standing Orders, the level of seriousness of each alleged disciplinary matter will determine those who are responsible for considering disciplinary and appeal hearings.  More serious cases will be considered by Disciplinary Panels and Appeal Panels (as applicable) who will include a lay member of Governing Body and a member from a list agreed by Academic Board.  Less serious cases will be considered by a Disciplining Officer (normally the Dean of Faculty) and an Appeal Officer as appropriate.

Once this procedure has been instigated, the employee will have the right to be accompanied at any meeting held in connection with the formal stages of the procedure as stipulated below.   Staff do not have the right of representation at the informal stage or when a Head of Department or Dean of Faculty and member of staff are discussing work progress.

It is the responsibility of Deans of Faculty and Heads of Department to ensure that academic staff have the opportunity to be acquainted with this procedure, and that they themselves are aware of both the procedure and their delegated responsibility within it.

Formal disciplinary action in respect of misconduct or poor performance by academic staff must always be dealt with in accordance with this procedure. To ensure consistency of its application, it must be applied in conjunction with the advice of a senior member of the Human Resources Directorate.

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Part One – Basic Principles

Scope


In accordance with the Standing Order relating to Academic Staff: Dismissal, Discipline and Grievance Procedures and Related Matters, Part I, I (1) , this procedure applies to all full time and part time academic (teaching and research) staff  as designated by the School’s Standing Order and as specified in individual contracts of employment. All employees must be treated equably and fairly.  

As stipulated by the Standing Order relating to Academic Staff: Dismissal, Discipline and Grievance Procedures and Related Matters, Part I, 1(3) , this Procedure will not apply to the removal from an appointment as Pro-Director, Vice-Principal, Dean or Head of Department or any other fixed-term appointments designated by Governing Body, which the member of staff has been elected or appointed and the role is a distinct appointment from their substantive post, where dismissal form the substantive post is not contemplated.  In such cases, Governing Body will set out a procedure for handling removals from elected or appointed positions (e.g. Dean of Faculty, Head of Department) prior to the normal or prescribed end date of their appointment.  

Documentation relating to employees will be treated with the utmost confidentiality and related documentation will be subject to the provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) as appropriate.  Employees will have the right to feedback and to access any documentation held on them that fall within the scope of the DPA. Those responsible for maintaining disciplinary records must ensure that the records are held in a secure place and made available to authorised personnel.

In the majority of cases, to enable employees to improve their behaviour or performance, matters  should be dealt with promptly when they arise and on an informal basis in the first instance, escalating up the stages of the formal disciplinary procedure only where the problems persist.

Any disciplinary proceedings should be instituted as promptly as is reasonably practicable, and normally within ten working days of the allegations coming to light and HR being informed of them.

In exceptional cases, where more than one allegation arises relating to the same matter or where several complaints or allegations are received about the same person, either as part of the original allegations or complaint or as a result of the investigation of the original allegations or complaint, the School reserves the right to deal with these matters as part of a single disciplinary process.

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Academic freedom


When applying this Disciplinary Procedure, the School will have due regard to the academic freedom of staff.  In particular, in line with the Standing Order relating to Academic Staff: Dismissal, Discipline and Grievance Procedures and Related Matters, Part I, 2 (1) , the School will apply the following principles when contemplating and carrying out any disciplinary action under this procedure:

i. That members of academic staff have the freedom within the law to question and test received wisdom, and to put forward new ideas and controversial or unpopular opinions, without placing themselves in jeopardy of losing their jobs or privileges:
ii. To enable the School to provide education, promote learning and engage in research efficiently and economically
iii. To apply the principles of justice and fairness.

As stipulated by the School’s Standing Orders , no disciplinary action will be taken against a member of academic staff solely because they have questioned or tested received wisdom or put forward new ideas or controversial opinions.   At any formal stage in this Disciplinary Procedure (e.g. investigation, disciplinary or appeal hearing) an academic member of staff has the right to invoke Part I, 2 (1) (i)  of the Standing Order relating to Academic Staff: Dismissal, Discipline and Grievance Procedures and Related Matters by claiming the principle of academic freedom in defence or mitigation of the allegations.  Those responsible for the disciplinary action, will consider the claim by the member of academic staff and if they find that the reason for the disciplinary action is due the fact that the employee has questioned or tested received wisdom or put forward new ideas or controversial opinions, the persons responsible for the disciplinary action, will cancel that action which will be treated as invalid.  In such cases, where an academic member of staff has received a warning or other disciplinary penalty, this will normally be expunged or rescinded as appropriate.

However, employees should be aware that the right of freedom of expression attaches only to lawful conduct (e.g. it does not confer a right to incite others to violence or racial hatred nor does it confer the right to harass or bully other members of staff or students who happen not to share particular views or beliefs).  The School expects that staff will always exercise the right of freedom of expression with due consideration for others’ feelings and opinions and treats cases of possible bullying and harassment seriously and in accordance with the School’s Harassment Policy.

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Human Resources Management Advice


Those responsible for taking disciplinary action are required to ensure that disciplinary decisions are consistently applied in accordance with the disciplinary procedure. Staff responsible for taking disciplinary action will have access to training to ensure consistency of application.

The senior members of the Human Resources Directorate are responsible for advising management and panel members on all disciplinary matters and for helping maintain this consistency and they must be consulted at all stages under the formal procedure.

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The Role of the Employee’s Representative or Companion

 

For less serious disciplinary matters, where allegations may result in a warning and a disciplinary hearing is conducted by a Disciplinary Officer (e.g. Dean of Faculty) or Appeal Officer, academic members of staff have the right to be accompanied to formal meetings by a colleague or trade union representative.

For serious disciplinary matters (such as cases of alleged gross misconduct), where a Disciplinary Panel or Appeal Panel has been convened in accordance with the Standing Order relating to Academic Staff: Dismissal, Discipline and Grievance Procedures and Related Matters, Part I, 4 (1) and (2) , an academic member of staff may be accompanied by any person to the hearing.  The School reserves the right to be represented by a solicitor, barrister, expert or other relevant person at any Disciplinary Hearing or Appeal Hearing, where an employee has elected to be represented or assisted by a solicitor, barrister, expert or other relevant person.

If the employee is to be accompanied at disciplinary hearings and appeals, the role of the “representative” is to put the employee’s case, respond on the employee’s behalf to views expressed at the hearing and to sum up. The representative’s role is not to answer questions on behalf of the employee.  If the person is to accompany the employee as their “colleague”, their role is to support them and act as witness to the proceedings.  

In the case of disabled employees, it may be appropriate for a family member or carer to attend any disciplinary meeting.

Academic staff must notify the School in advance of any disciplinary meeting under this procedure of details of their representative or of the person who will accompany them.

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Grounds for Disciplinary Action

 

Section 9, Part III of the Standing Order  relating to Academic Staff: Dismissal, Discipline and Grievance Procedures and Related Matters sets out a number of grounds which may lead to disciplinary action being taken and where found to be appropriate following the application of this Procedure, a penalty to be imposed.   Whilst not an exhaustive list, these grounds are:

 

“(i) conduct amounting to a criminal offence, whether or not there has been a prosecution and conviction, of a kind that is judged in all the circumstances to be relevant to the member of staff’s employment at the School;
(ii) failure, refusal, neglect or inability to perform some or all of the duties, or to comply with some or all of the conditions attaching to the post, or performing these duties or complying with those conditions in an unsatisfactory or inadequate manner;
(iii) conduct of a kind judged to be inappropriate or unacceptable on the part of a holder of the post held by the member of staff, such as (but not confined to) the following:


(a) breach of any obligation or duty arising under the School’s regulations regarding financial matters, harassment, equal opportunities, public interest disclosure, health and safety, or data protection or any other rules, regulations or codes binding on the member of staff;
(b) damage to or improper use of School’s facilities, premises, property or equipment;
(c) disruption of, or improper interference with, the activities of the School or of any employee, student, member of Governing Body or visitor (other than any lawful industrial action);
(d) violent, indecent, disorderly, threatening, abusive, or insulting or harassing behaviour or language (whether written, spoken or in any other form);
(e) fraud, deceit, deception or dishonesty in relation to the School or any related activity, including research and examining;
(f) action likely to cause injury or impair safety;
(g) divulging information or material received in confidence (unless the disclosure is permitted under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 or in accordance with the University’s [School’s] Public Interest Disclosure Procedure.”  

Serious incidents or instances of the conduct or performance listed above, may constitute gross misconduct (see below and Appendix 1 for further details).

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Cases of Poor Performance


Whilst recognising that this will not in every case be appropriate, the School will normally seek to resolve matters of poor performance by means of the informal procedure. In the first instance Deans/Heads of Department should refer to the Poor Performance Guidelines for Academic Staff (available from the Human Resources website) for guidance before taking any action, and should seek further advice from their designated HR Manager where necessary.

Particular attention will be paid to setting out and discussing the performance problem in a structured way, identifying the performance improvement that is required, clearly defining the timescales for achieving this improvement, agreeing a review date and identifying any support that the School will provide to assist the employee.  This should be confirmed in writing to the employee.

At the review meeting, the academic member of staff’s performance will be reviewed, and a decision taken as to whether any further action is necessary. This review will be documented and a copy will be given to the employee. If the performance has not fully improved, the action will be either to extend the review period or to move to the formal procedure described below.

Review periods will not be extended indefinitely, and will normally only be allowed when some improvement has already been shown, but more time is needed to reach the appropriate level of performance commensurate with the level and grade of post.

In addition to identifying performance improvements, consideration will also be given to identifying and providing training, mentoring and other developmental opportunities that will help the employee reach the level of performance specified. Exceptionally, a change in duties or location, within the same department, may also be agreed with the employee. The School recognises however, that this will not always be an appropriate or realistic way forward.

Every support will be given to the employee during the review period, however, in cases where it becomes apparent that the level of performance required cannot be achieved within the agreed timescales, it may be necessary to proceed to an appropriate stage of the formal procedure ahead of the end of the review period.  Evidence of the failure to meet the standards within at least one structured review in accordance with agreed management guidance will usually be expected before a referral into the formal Disciplinary Procedure takes place.

Once the formal procedure has been initiated, further failure to meet performance improvements required will lead to further disciplinary action at the next level of the procedure (see Part 3).

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Suspension from Work


Suspension is not a disciplinary act, and does not imply that there has been any misconduct. It is a neutral act to allow, in the interest of all or any of the parties concerned, for an effective investigation to take place.

In accordance with the Standing Order relating to Academic Staff: Dismissal, Discipline and Grievance Procedures and Related Matters, Part III, 10, (ii) (c) , suspension will be on full pay until either a disciplinary hearing is convened, or the investigation discontinued. It will normally occur within one working day of the start of a disciplinary investigation, and be for as short a period as possible.

Suspension will usually only be considered in cases of very serious allegations, usually those consisting of potential gross misconduct.  There may be circumstances where suspension is required in order to separate parties or where there is a need to relieve the employee on a temporary basis of some, or all, of their duties, pending investigation.  In such circumstances, there is an additional requirement for the School to act as promptly as possible during the investigation.

When an employee is to be suspended, their Dean of Faculty (or nominee) will first consult Human Resources and the Director and Principal (or nominee). The Director and Principal or his/her nominee, will then meet the employee, who may be accompanied by a colleague or trade union representative, and explain the reasons for the suspension.

Any suspension will be confirmed in writing within three working days.

When a suspension lasts for more than 10 working days, the suspended employee may request a formal review of the suspension.  Such a review will be conducted by the Director and Principal (or nominee) and the employee has the right of representation by a trade union representative or work colleague at the review meeting.  The Review will consider whether or not continuation of the suspension is still justified in the circumstances of the case and the Director and Principal’s (or nominee’s) decision in this respect will be final.  If the decision is that the suspension will be lifted, the employee will return to work as soon as is reasonably practicable, having due regard to any adjustments to the working patterns of staff in the area where the employee works that may be necessary.

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Police or Legal Proceedings


As stated above, in accordance with the Standing Order relating to Academic Staff: Dismissal, Discipline and Grievance Procedures and Related Matters, Part III, 9 (i) , conduct amounting to a criminal offence, regardless of whether or not there has been a prosecution or conviction, could lead to disciplinary action were the conduct is relevant to the individual’s employment with the School. A member of staff will not be dismissed or otherwise disciplined merely because he/she has been charged with or convicted of a criminal offence or is absent through being in custody. Where subsequently a member of academic staff is convicted of a criminal offence, consideration will be given to whether the offence is one that makes the member of staff unsuitable for his/her type of work or unacceptable to other members of staff, and if so whether suitable alternative work is available. The School reserves the right to take appropriate disciplinary action before the outcome of the police investigation or legal proceedings is known.

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Gross Misconduct


Gross misconduct is conduct serious enough to destroy fundamentally the contract between employee and employer, making any further working relationship or trust impossible. In normal circumstances if on completion of an investigation and the full disciplinary procedure, the School is satisfied that gross misconduct has occurred; the result will normally be summary dismissal without notice or pay in lieu of notice in accordance with the Standing Order relating to Academic Staff: Dismissal, Discipline and Grievance Procedures and Related Matters, Part III, 10 (ii) (g) .

Examples of the kind of conduct normally regarded by the School as gross misconduct are set out in Appendix 1 of this Procedure and are available from Human Resources. It should be noted that the list is for illustrative purposes and is not intended to be exhaustive or exclusive.

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Medical issues and relationship with Standing Order XI, Part IV, Incapacity on Health Grounds

 

As stipulated by the Standing Order relating to Academic Staff: Dismissal, Discipline and Grievance Procedures and Related Matters, Part III, 13 , if during any stage of the formal disciplinary procedure, it emerges that the member of staff’s alleged conduct or performance may have been wholly or partly attributable to a clinical medical condition, the person or panel responsible for that stage of the process, should seek advice in the first instance from a senior member of the Human Resources Directorate.  Normally, the employee will be asked for their consent to an Occupational Health referral and/or medical reports to determine if their medical condition has contributed to the alleged misconduct or poor performance. Where an employee refuses consent to the School obtaining an Occupational Health and/or medical report, the employee will be warned that the School will have to make decisions on their employment based on the limited information available to it.  Any such decision may be detrimental to the individual, as it will not be based on informed medical opinion and could in some instances, affect the continuing employment of the individual.  

Following consideration of any Occupational Health and/or medical report and advice from the Human Resources Directorate, the person or panel responsible, should decide whether to: 

  • continue with the disciplinary action.  In some cases, additional arrangements may be made in the light of recommendations from Occupational Health, Human Resources or the employee and/or their representative.   This may include adjustments to enable them to attend a hearing such as allowing the employee to be accompanied by a family member or carer.
  • halt disciplinary proceedings and instigate proceedings under Standing Order XI, Part IV (Incapacity on Health Grounds).
  • Where a case falls under the Disability Discrimination Act and performance issues relate to the employee’s disability, the School has a duty to make reasonable adjustments for the employee (if these have not already been made). 

On those very rare occasions where there is an over-riding “duty of care” issue (e.g. because of concern that the employee may be a danger to self or others) this over-rides any relevant duty of confidentiality or need for consent and the matter will be referred either to Occupational Health or to a General Practitioner / other NHS provision as appropriate.

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Confidentiality


Documentation relating to employees will be treated with the utmost confidentiality and related documentation will be subject to the provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) as appropriate.  Employees will have the right to feedback and to access any documentation held on them that fall within the scope of the DPA.

During the formal stages of the disciplinary procedure, all parties need to respect the rights of all concerned.  In particular, the employee who is the subject of the allegations, and any witnesses should not discuss any aspect of the disciplinary raised with any other colleagues than their representative, human resources or other officers directly involved in the formal disciplinary process.

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Definition of terminology


Area: the term area means the relevant Academic or Service Department.

Investigating Officer: the person appointed to conduct the investigation who will normally be the employee’s Head of Department or another academic member of staff at the appropriate level.  

Disciplining Officer: the academic member of staff who will conduct disciplinary hearings for allegations relating to less serious matters (e.g. matters which could potentially lead to disciplinary warnings). This will normally be the Dean of Faculty.

Disciplinary Panel: a panel of three persons constituted in accordance with the Standing Order relating to Academic Staff: Dismissal, Discipline and Grievance Procedures and Related Matters, Part I, 4 (1)  who will consider allegations relating to potentially serious disciplinary matters such as gross misconduct.  The panel will be composed of three persons, none of whom shall previously have any involvement with the case.  At least one member of the Panel will be a lay member of Governing Body and one member of the Disciplinary Panel should be drawn from a list agreed from time to time by the School’s Academic Board.   The third member of the Disciplinary Panel will be equivalent to the Disciplining Officer (e.g. the Dean of Faculty).

Appeal Officer: the academic member of staff who will conduct appeal hearings for appeals against warnings issued by a Disciplinary Officer.  The Appeal Officer will normally be the Pro-Director, Vice-Principal, or Dean of another Faculty than the Disciplining Officer.

Appeal Panel: a panel of three persons constituted in accordance with the Standing Order relating to Academic Staff: Dismissal, Discipline and Grievance Procedures and Related Matters, Part I, 4 (1)  who will consider appeals against decisions made by Disciplinary Panels which relate to serious disciplinary matters such as gross misconduct.  The panel will be composed of three persons, none of whom shall previously have any involvement with the case.  At least one member of the Panel will be a lay member of Governing Body and one member of the Appeal Panel should be drawn from a list agreed from time to time by the School’s Academic Board.  The third member of the Appeal Panel will be equivalent to the Appeal Officer (e.g. the Pro-Director, Vice-Principal or Dean of another Faculty than the Disciplining Officer).

Academic freedom: is the freedom of academic staff within the law to question and test received wisdom, and to put forward new ideas and controversial or unpopular opinions, without placing themselves in jeopardy of losing their jobs or privileges.  In accordance with the Standing Order relating to Academic Staff: Dismissal, Discipline and Grievance Procedures and Related Matters, Part I, 2 (3)  , where there is any issue about the meaning of academic freedom, regard shall be have to Sections VI and VII of the Recommendations concerning the Status of Higher Education Teaching Personnel adopted by the General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) in Paris on 11 November 1997.

Gross Misconduct: This is when an employee’s conduct or behaviour seriously and fundamentally breaches the contract of employment and irreconcilably damages the employment relationship and trust between the School and the employee.  

Serious misconduct: this, like gross misconduct, is a serious breach of the employee’s contract of employment. However, there may be mitigating circumstances which lead to the employee’s contract being terminated with notice rather than summarily.

Misconduct: This is conduct or behaviour that contravenes an employee’s contract of employment and may breach some of its terms and conditions.  An improvement by the employee is required to address the employment relationship.

Performance: This is an employee’s achievements measured against specified and defined objectives. Areas of poor performance could include teaching, administration or research.

Statutory dismissal procedure: This statutory procedure was introduced in October 2004 in the Employment Act 2002 (Dispute Resolution) Regulations 2004 and applies to most types of dismissals.  The statutory procedure consists of three steps which form part of the normal stages of the School’s disciplinary procedure:

Step 1 Write to the employee notifying them of disciplinary allegations against them and the basis of the allegations and invite them to a meeting to discuss the matter
Step 2 Hold a meeting with the employee to discuss the allegations and notify the employee of the decision to dismiss.
Step 3 The employee has the right to appeal against their dismissal.

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Monitoring and Review of the Policy


Regular reports on trends and statistics relating to disciplinary issues will be provided to the Senior Management of SOAS and the Trade Union Representatives.

This policy will be reviewed regularly in line with any changes in employment legislation.

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Equality and Diversity


The procedures outlined here should be carried out with due regard to any diversity issues which may have affected either the original situation or the current process.  The School’s Diversity Adviser and diversity specialists within the Human Resources Directorate are available to support colleagues in this area.  Where a diversity issue (e.g. a disability including chronic physical or mental health conditions) has been disclosed to the School, whether prior to the situation which triggered this process or during the process, the line manager co-ordinating the process is responsible for checking with the employee to determine their needs and for making the appropriate arrangements.  Employees who have not previously disclosed a diversity issue which may be relevant to this process are encouraged to do so, as early as possible, so that it can be taken into account.

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Publication of the Policy and results of assessment and monitoring


The policy will be publicised widely within SOAS in electronic and paper formats to ensure its profile and impact is highlighted in full.  Significant trends arising from assessment and monitoring may also be published.

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Breach of the Policy and Procedure


SOAS will take seriously any instances of non-adherence to the Data Protection legislation and this policy by its staff.

The appropriate Dean of Faculty, or other senior academic staff member, as appropriate, will investigate any instance of breach of the policy and procedure. Where appropriate, action will be considered under the relevant disciplinary policies for staff.

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Part Two – Disciplinary Procedure

 

Informal Stage


The School recognises that in many cases of unsatisfactory conduct or work performance, informal counselling or warning of the employee by their Head of Department/Dean of Faculty will quickly resolve the problem, thus reducing or eliminating the need for formal action. Heads of Department/Deans of Faculty should refer to the Poor Performance Guidelines or Misconduct Guidelines (available on the HR Directorate website) for academic staff.

In these instances, the Head of Department/Dean of Faculty will make a record of the discussion and agree a further course of action with the employee. Specific and measurable improvement objectives will be agreed with the employee, and reasonable timescales set for each objective, which should be included in the record of the meeting.   The academic member of staff will be warned about the possible consequences of failure to meet or sustain objectives or a repetition of the unsatisfactory conduct or poor performance. A copy of the record will be given to the employee. It must be made clear to the employee that this action is informal and if at any time during the discussions the employee feels that the actions taken have gone into the formal stage then the meeting can be stopped to enable them to consult with a trade union representative or a work colleague.

Where informal counselling is not considered appropriate, or if after an informal warning an employee fails to improve, or to maintain improvement, the formal disciplinary procedure may be applied.

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Formal Disciplinary Process


If following the earlier stages, an employee’s Head of Department feels that an act of misconduct has taken place, or there is evidence of poor performance a disciplinary investigation will be conducted to establish the facts. If disciplinary action is to be instigated which could lead to dismissal or demotion then s/he will follow the Standard 3 Steps as detailed in the Employment Act (Dispute Resolution) Regulations. Human Resources Directorate must be consulted before any form of disciplinary action is taken. A senior member of the Human Resources Directorate will attend any disciplinary meetings at any stage of the process to advise on matters of procedure.

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Disciplinary Investigations


The investigation will be carried out in accordance with the Standing Order relating to Academic Staff: Dismissal, Discipline and Grievance Procedures and Related Matters, Part II, 10 (ii) (b)  in the case of serious alleged disciplinary matters.

The investigation will be conducted by an Investigating Officer, normally the Head of Department, supported and advised by a senior member of HR.  The Investigating Officer is required to fully investigate and establish the facts of the case promptly. In certain cases (e.g. if the Head of Department is involved in any allegations) it will not be appropriate for the Head of Department to conduct the investigation and another senior academic staff member at an appropriate level will be appointed as Investigating Officer.

The Investigation is Stage 1 of the Disciplinary Procedure. This may comprise formal discussions with the employee, interviewing and taking statements from any relevant witnesses, evidence of poor performance and collecting any other relevant documentary evidence.

During the investigation, the Investigating Officer will consult, as necessary, with Human Resources, who will advise on which stage of disciplinary action may be appropriate and the seriousness of the alleged disciplinary matter.

An investigation will normally be completed within ten working days of the date that the employee was first notified of the complaint against him/her. If an extension of this period proves necessary, this will be agreed by the Investigating Officer with Human Resources and communicated to the employee along with reasons for the delay. The delay must be kept to a minimum.

An investigation needs to be fully completed before disciplinary action commences.

For less serious disciplinary matters, on completion of the investigation, the Investigating Officer will submit a written report of his/her findings to the Disciplining Officer who is to hear the case, and all supporting documentation will be appended to the report.  Normally, the Disciplining Officer will be the Dean of Faculty, unless the allegations relate to a Head of Department or Dean of Faculty; in such instances, the Disciplining Officer will be a senior member of academic staff such as the Pro-Director, and will be appointed by the Director and Principal.  This is in accordance with the Standing Order relating to Academic Staff: Dismissal, Discipline and Grievance Procedures and Related Matters, Part III, 10 (i) .

The Disciplining Officer will then decide on a course of action: to hold the disciplinary hearing or that there is no case to answer.

In cases of alleged serious disciplinary matters (including potential gross misconduct, cases which if substantiated may lead to dismissal and/or where an academic member of staff has already received a final written warning) on completion of the investigation, the Investigating Officer will submit a written report of his/her findings to the report to the Director and Principal.   Where the Director and Principal has been previously involved in the case, following consultation with the Chair of Governing Body, the Director of Human Resources will appoint an appropriate officer of the School to act in this capacity.

The Director and Principal will then decide on a course of action: to hold the disciplinary hearing or that there is no case to answer. Where there is a case to answer, the Director and Principal will authorise the appointment of a Disciplinary Panel to consider the allegations, in accordance with the Standing Order relating to Academic Staff: Dismissal, Discipline and Grievance Procedures and Related Matters, Part III, 10, (ii) (d) .  This is to allow safeguards to be put in place in sensitive cases, such as alleged harassment.

The Disciplinary Panel will consist of three persons, none of whom shall previously have any involvement with the case.  At least one member of the Panel will be a lay member of Governing Body and one member of the Disciplinary Panel should be drawn from a list agreed from time to time by the School’s Academic Body.  This is in accordance with Standing Order XI, Part I, 4 (1).   The third member of the panel will normally be the equivalent person to the Disciplining Officer in less serious cases (e.g. the Dean of Faculty).

Where there are issues, doubts or uncertainty about the level of the seriousness of the allegations, the Investigating Officer will submit his/her report to the Director and Principal (or nominee).  Following advice from a senior member of the Human Resources Directorate, the Director and Principal will decide whether there is a disciplinary case to answer, and if so, whether the hearing will be conducted by a Disciplining Officer or Disciplinary Panel.

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Written Notification to the Employee


This would constitute Step 1 of the Statutory Dismissal Procedures where disciplinary action may result in dismissal or demotion.

Following an investigation where it is decided that there is a disciplinary case to answer, the employee will be asked to attend a disciplinary hearing.  With the notice of the disciplinary hearing, the employee will also be given any relevant documentation necessary to prepare their response. This will normally comprise the Investigating Officer’s report, witness statements and any other appropriate documentation.  

In the notification of the hearing, the employee must be advised in writing of:

  • The nature of the allegation(s) and the fact that the hearing is to be a disciplinary one
  • The date, time and location of the hearing. At least five working days notice will be given. This will be agreed with the employee.
  • The right to be accompanied by a trade union representative or colleague for allegations relating to less serious matters to be heard by a Disciplining Officer.  For allegations relating to serious matters which are to be considered by a Disciplinary Panel, the right to be accompanied by any person.  The employee will be required to inform the HR Directorate in advance of the names and roles of those who will be representing or accompanying them to the hearing.
  • The names and roles of the people who will be present at the hearing including the Disciplining Officer or members of the Disciplining Panel as appropriate.
  • The names of any witnesses to be called by the management side.
  • The requirement for him/her to arrange for his/her witnesses, if any, to attend the hearing and to ensure permission has been obtained for them to be released from their workplace.  The employee must inform the Human Resources Directorate representative at least two working days prior to the hearing of any witnesses that he/she intends to call.
  • The requirement to supply management side with any documentation, including witness statements, which he/she intends to present the disciplinary interview, at least two working days prior to the hearing.
  • The disciplinary actions that may be taken as a result of the outcome of the hearing.
  • In cases of serious/gross misconduct that the outcome of the disciplinary hearing could be dismissal.  

Heads of Departments or relevant managers will be expected to release staff who are required as witnesses for both sides.

An employee who cannot attend a meeting should inform the Disciplining Officer/Disciplinary Panel conducting the hearing in advance whenever possible. If the employee fails to attend through circumstances outside of their control and unforeseeable at the time the meeting was arranged (e.g. illness), the School will arrange another meeting. If the employee fails to attend the re-arranged meeting, without good reason, the hearing may be held in their and/or their representative’s absence and a decision may be taken at that hearing. If an employee’s trade union representative or colleague cannot attend on a proposed date, the employee can suggest another date so long as it is reasonable and not more than five working days after the date originally proposed by the School. This five day limit may be extended by mutual consent. 

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Disciplinary Hearing

   
It is the responsibility of the Disciplining Officer or Disciplinary Panel conducting the hearing to:
• To convene a disciplinary hearing as soon as is reasonably practicable. For cases considered by a Disciplining Officer, this should normally be within ten working days of notification of the outcome of the investigation, sooner if possible.  For cases considered by a Disciplinary Panel, this should normally be within 28 working days of notification of the outcome of the investigation, much sooner if possible.

  • Ensure that the necessary investigations have been carried out;
  • Ensure that the meeting is conducted fairly, in line with this procedure and relevant sections of the School’s Standing Orders;
  • Ensure that all parties behave in an appropriate, professional and courteous manner towards all parties
  • Ensure that the questioning of any complainant or witness is not carried out in an aggressive or confrontational way and that there is no behaviour which is harassing, intimidating or bullying
  • Intervene to prevent any aggressive or intimidating questions and to warn the perpetrators about their behaviour and adjourn the hearing if necessary
  • Intervene if questioning is repetitive or irrelevant to the allegations or if time is being wasted
  • Ensure that, as far as possible, all relevant facts relating to the allegations come out at the meeting;
  • Decide what action, if any, is reasonable and necessary based on the facts.  Any action taken must be in accordance with the School’s Standing Orders (see below).

 

A senior member of the Human Resources Directorate will act as adviser to the Disciplining Officer or Disciplinary Panel.

Any procedural issues raised during the hearing, should be recorded in the notes of the meeting, including any interventions by the Disciplining Officer/Chair of Disciplinary Panel to prevent questions outlined above (e.g. aggressive or intimidating questions).  The reason for the intervention should be explained to all parties and recorded in the notes of the hearing. The Disciplining Officer/Chair of Disciplinary Panel and the senior member of the Human Resources Directorate, depending on the circumstances of the case, will make a decision as to how the disciplinary hearing will be structured.   In most cases the employee and their representative will be present throughout the hearing and witnesses only present whilst they are giving evidence and being questioned.

In very exceptional cases, and with agreement of the Disciplining Officer/Disciplinary Panel conducting the hearing and the senior member of the Human Resources Directorate, the evidence of witnesses, such as those involved in harassment cases, may be given from another room, location or from behind a screen and/or questions to be asked only by a representative. The employee and their representative may be provided with anonymous statements. In cases where witnesses are unwilling to provide anonymous statements or attend the hearing then their evidence could be discounted.

For alleged serious matters which are being considered by a Disciplinary Panel, the hearing will be conducted in accordance with the Standing Order relating to Academic Staff: Dismissal, Discipline and Grievance Procedures and Related Matters, Part III, 10 (ii) (d) .

The Disciplining Officer or Chair of the Disciplinary Panel conducting the hearing will introduce those present and explain the reason for their attendance, the purpose of the hearing, the nature of allegations and the format of the hearing.  

The case against the employee will be outlined by the Investigating Officer by the way of presentation of evidence and the calling of witnesses. A HR Adviser will be present, whose role is to support the Investigating Officer.  Under normal circumstances, the HR Adviser will not cross examine witnesses or present the case.  However, the HR Adviser may as appropriate question witnesses on points of clarification or raise points of procedure.  In exceptional circumstances (e.g. where the Investigating Officer is unable to attend disciplinary hearing), the HR Adviser will present the case and cross-examine witnesses.

The employee and/or his/her representative will be allowed to present his/her case and respond to the allegations, calling any witnesses as required.

The Disciplining Officer or members of the Disciplinary Panel conducting the hearing may question both parties and their witnesses.

The Disciplining Officer or Chair of the Disciplinary Panel will offer the opportunity for both parties to ask questions of each other.

If witnesses are called, they may only be present for the period of their statements and questioning.

If at any time, evidence arises which needs further investigation then the hearing will be adjourned and reconvened later.  In the event that further time is required for consideration of the case, the employee will be informed of this decision both orally and in writing.

Once the Disciplining Officer or Disciplinary Panel conducting the hearing is satisfied that both parties have had the opportunity to fully state their case, both sides will be asked to summarise their cases and then leave the hearing.  

The Disciplining Officer or Disciplinary Panel conducting the hearing, will consider the case, bearing in mind advice from the senior member of the Human Resources Directorate.  The Disciplining Officer or Disciplinary Panel will make a decision based on the balance of probability and, if applicable, the level of disciplinary action that should be taken.  

The factors to be taken into consideration when making a decision are:

  • The gravity of the case – is disciplinary action warranted and, if so, at what level?
  • Any guidance offered by this Disciplinary Procedure, relevant sections of Standing Orders and the Human Resources representative;
  • Any precedents;
  • The employee’s disciplinary and service record;
  • Any mitigating circumstances:

The hearing will then be reconvened, ideally on the same day, and the employee informed of the decision and the reasons for it.  In instances where this is not possible it will be reconvened normally within two working days.   The employee will then, within three working days of the disciplinary hearing, be written to formally confirming the decision.  

If the allegations have been upheld the letter will specify:-

  • The level of disciplinary warning and the supporting reasons;
  • The timescale that any warning will remain current;
  • The details of any other disciplinary penalties  or compensation owed to the School (see below
  • The improvement required of the employee;
  • The timescale within which improvement must be achieved, if applicable;
  • The consequence of further unsatisfactory performance or misconduct;
  • In the case of dismissal, the notice due, details of outstanding payments and the last day of service.  For summary dismissal, the effective date of termination.  Any letter confirming dismissal, will be issued by the Director of Human Resources or other designated officer in accordance with Standing Order XI, Part III, 12 .
  • The right of appeal, the procedure and deadline for lodging an appeal.

 

On receiving the written letter of confirmation of the decision a letter of receipt will be required from the employee.    

A copy of the letter will be placed on the employee’s personal file, and then expunged after the stipulated time limit of the warning.  

The decision of Disciplinary Panels will also be reported to Governing Body in accordance with the Standing Order relating to Academic Staff: Dismissal, Discipline and Grievance Procedures and Related Matters, Part I, 4 (3) .

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Appeal Hearing


See Part 4

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Authority to Discipline


There are four levels of disciplinary action (see Part 3) and action may be initiated at any level, depending on the seriousness of the case. In most cases, disciplinary action will be in sequential steps up the level.

Disciplining Officers (normally Deans of Faculty) will have the authority to discipline for less serious matters which may result in a warning.  Disciplining Officers may issue warnings at Level 1, 2 and/or 3.  This is in accordance with  the Standing Order relating to Academic Staff: Dismissal, Discipline and Grievance Procedures and Related Matters, Part III, 10 (i).

Where a Dean of Faculty or other academic manager is directly involved in the substance of an allegation concerning cases of alleged misconduct, the case will be heard by another manager of the same or higher grade.

Disciplinary Panels will have the authority to consider cases relating serious allegations (including potential gross misconduct, cases which if substantiated may lead to dismissal and/or where an academic member of staff has already received a Level 3 final written warning).  The Disciplinary Panel will consist of three persons, none of whom shall previously have any involvement with the case.  At least one member of the Panel will be a lay member of Governing Body and one member of the Disciplinary Panel should be drawn from a list agreed from time to time by the School’s Academic Body.   The third member of the Disciplining Panel will normally be equivalent to the Disciplining Officer in less serious cases (e.g. the Dean of Faculty). This is in accordance with the Standing Order relating to Academic Staff: Dismissal, Discipline and Grievance Procedures and Related Matters, Part I, 4 (1) .

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Trade Union Representatives


The circumstances of any action to be taken against a representative of a recognised trade union will be notified to a full time officer of that union.

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Part Three – Action available under the Formal Procedure

 

Levels of Disciplinary Action


There are four levels of disciplinary action available under the formal procedure:-

  • Level 1 – Formal Oral Warning
  • Level 2 – First Written Warning
  • Level 3 – First & Final or Final Written Warning
  • Level 4 – Dismissal or Summary Dismissal

In addition, a number of other disciplinary penalties exist which could be utilised by a Disciplinary Panel (see below).

Examples of the kinds of misconduct and poor performance normally regarded as falling into each category are set out below, though these are for illustrative purposes only and are not intended to be an exhaustive list. The Director and Principal, Deans of Faculty/Heads of Department/ may invoke the disciplinary procedure at any of the four levels depending on the seriousness of the allegations if such action is deemed to be reasonable in the circumstances. A senior member of the Human Resources Directorate will advise the those responsible for the disciplinary action (e.g. Disciplining Officer, Disciplinary Panel) accordingly and will have the authority to override those responsible for the disciplinary action if necessary.

Level 1 – Formal Oral Warning


If, after a disciplinary hearing, a Disciplining Officer finds that poor performance or minor misconduct has occurred, a formal oral warning will be issued. The employee will be advised of the reason for the warning, the improvements required and that action under Level 2 will be considered if there is no satisfactory improvement.

A note of the warning will be placed on the employee’s personal file. A copy of the note will be given to the employee.

Level 2 – First Written Warning


This level applies to more serious acts of misconduct or poor performance, or to a repetition of misconduct or poor performance for which the employee has already received a formal oral warning.

The written warning will give details of the misconduct/poor performance, the improvements required and timescales. It will warn that action under Level 3 will be considered if there is no satisfactory improvement and will advise of the right to appeal.

Level 3 - First & Final or Final Written Warning
This level applies to acts of misconduct or poor performance so serious that the School would wish to dismiss the employee were they to be subsequently repeated.  In such circumstances the warning would constitute a first and final written warning.

Level 3 also applies to repetition of an act of misconduct or poor performance for which the employee has previously received a written warning under Level 2. In these circumstances it would constitute a final written warning.

A final, or first and final, written warning will give details of the misconduct/poor performance, the improvements required, and timescales. It will then warn that dismissal under Level 4 of the procedure will be considered if there is no satisfactory improvement, and will advise of the right to appeal.

Level 4 - Dismissal and Summary Dismissal
This level of disciplinary penalty can only be issued by a Disciplinary Panel.

There are two ways in which employment can be terminated under this procedure, dismissal and summary dismissal.

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Dismissal


If conduct or performance is still unsatisfactory after a warning under Level 3 of the procedure, a further disciplinary hearing will be held. If it is apparent that the employee has failed to meet required standards, a dismissal will normally result.

The decision to dismiss will be made by the Disciplinary Panel who is conducting the disciplinary hearing.  The Director of Human Resources or other designated officer will formally provide the employee with a written explanation of the reasons for dismissal and their right to appeal against the dismissal within 5 working days.  This is in accordance with Standing Order XI, Part II, 12 .

The employee will receive pay in lieu of their contractual notice, and any other outstanding monies due to them. For calculation purposes, the employee’s last day of service will be deemed to have been the date of the disciplinary hearing at which their dismissal was confirmed.

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Summary Dismissal


Appendix 1See Summary Dismissal applies to acts of gross misconduct only.

Because of the nature of alleged acts of gross misconduct, the employee will normally be suspended from work on full pay, whilst the Investigating Officer completes an investigation.

A disciplinary hearing will then be convened. If at that hearing the Disciplinary Panel conducting the hearing finds that an act of gross misconduct has taken place, a decision to dismiss the employee summarily will be taken by the Disciplinary Panel. The employee will be summarily dismissed without notice, or pay in lieu of notice. The employee will be provided with a written explanation of the reasons for dismissal and their right to appeal by the Director of Human Resources or other designated officer within 5 working days, as stipulated by the Standing Order relating to Academic Staff: Dismissal, Discipline and Grievance Procedures and Related Matters, Part III, 12. The last day of service will be the date of the disciplinary hearing at which their dismissal was confirmed.

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Duration of Warnings


Written warnings will be retained on the employee’s file, as will notes of Formal Oral warnings. However, for the purposes of further disciplinary action, they will have a specific duration, after which they will be removed from the employee’s file.

The duration of warnings is as follows:-

  • Formal Oral Warning – 6 months
  • Written Warning - One Year
  • First and Final Written Warning - Two Years
  • Final Written Warning - Two Years

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Other Disciplinary Penalties

In accordance with the Standing Order relating to Academic Staff: Dismissal, Discipline and Grievance Procedures and Related Matters, Part III, 10 (ii) (c) and (d) , Disciplinary Panels may decide to issue the appropriate penalties to academic members of staff, which may include the following:

  • Withholding any forthcoming increment in salary
  • Suspension without pay for up to three months
  • Reduction in grade and/or loss of title (i.e. Senior Lecturer)
  • The award of compensation to either the School or an individual in respect of any loss caused or damage done

The first three of these disciplinary penalties listed above will only be issued to staff appointed or promoted after June 2005.

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Part Four – Appeals against Disciplinary Action

 

Employees have the right to appeal against any formal disciplinary action taken under the Disciplinary Procedure.  

Employees have the right to be represented at the appeal hearing as outlined above (see Part 1) and should notify the HR Directorate of details of their representatives in advance of any appeal meeting.

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The Purpose of the Appeal


An appeal hearing is the means by which the School, acting as a reasonable employer, provides those employees who wish to do so, with a consistent forum in which to present a case arguing that disciplinary action taken against them has been unfair.

If they are able to do this effectively, the appeal is the means by which such disciplinary action may be formally withdrawn or amended. If they are unable to do so, it is the means by which the fairness of the disciplinary action is confirmed and upheld. 

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Notification of Appeal Hearings


An employee wishing to appeal against disciplinary action taken against them should inform the Director of Human Resources in writing. They should state the full grounds of their appeal, the basis for the appeal (procedural, new evidence, severity of sanction etc) and provide all necessary supporting documentation. This should be done within seven working days of receipt of written confirmation of the disciplinary action.

The employees will be invited to an appeal hearing normally, within ten working days of receipt of their letter of appeal by the Director of Human Resources, the employee will be sent a formal invitation to an appeal hearing, which will take place as soon as possible.  Hearings considered by an Appeal Officer, should normally take place within fifteen working days of the receipt of the letter of Appeal.  Hearings considered by an Appeal Panel should normally take place within 28 working days of the receipt of the letter of Appeal, and much sooner if possible.

The employee will be notified of the date, time and place of the hearing and their right to representation at the hearing.  A copy of the employee’s written statement will be passed to the Disciplining Officer or Disciplinary Panel who took the disciplinary action.

The Disciplining Officer or Chair of Disciplinary Panel will prepare a written response to the appeal, which s/he will present at the appeal hearing. A copy of this statement will be sent to the employee not less than five working days prior to the hearing.

If the appellant wishes to be accompanied at the appeal, it will be their responsibility to provide Human Resources with the name and role of their representative in advance of the hearing, and to provide that person with all information and documentation relating to their appeal. This will include the date and time of the hearing.

Delays caused by the unavailability of the employee or their trade union representative/colleague to attend on given dates without good reason will not be acceptable grounds for postponing the hearing, provided the specified notice has been given. If they cannot attend on the suggested date then they must provide an alternative time within 5 working days of the suggested date.

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Authority to Hear an Appeal


Appeals against decisions of Disciplining Officers relating to less serious matters, will be heard by an Appeal Officer appointed by the Director and Principal (or nominee).  The Appeal Officer will usually be the Pro-Director, Vice-Principal, or Dean of another Faculty than the Disciplining Officer.  This is as stipulated by the Standing Order relating to Academic Staff: Dismissal, Discipline and Grievance Procedures and Related Matters, Part III, 10 (i) .

Appeals against decisions of Disciplinary Panels relating to serious disciplinary matters (e.g. appeal against dismissal or other disciplinary penalty such as suspension without pay), will be considered by an Appeal Panel.  In accordance with the Standing Order relating to Academic Staff: Dismissal, Discipline and Grievance Procedures and Related Matters, Part I, 4, (1) , the Appeal Panel will consist of three people, none of whom shall previously have had any involvement with the case.  At least one of the panel members shall be a lay member of Governing Body and one a member drawn from a list agreed from time to time by Academic Board.  The third member of the Appeal Panel will normally be equivalent to the Appeal Officer (e.g. the Pro-Director, Vice-Principal, or Dean of another Faculty).

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Roles and Responsibilities of Other Participants in an Appeal Hearing

 

The Employee
Having set out the written grounds of their appeal beforehand, the employee must concentrate on the issue that the appeal has been called to consider. They must not attempt to present all the facts of the case afresh.

The Employee’s Colleague/Trade Union Representative or other representative
The role of the employee’s colleague, trade union representative or other representative will be the same as at the original disciplinary hearing.   For an appeal to be considered by an Appeal Officer, an employee has the right to be accompanied by a trade union representative or work colleague.  For appeals to be considered by Appeal Panels, academic staff have the right to be accompanied by any person.  For further information, please see Part 1 of this Procedure.

The Responding Officer (Disciplining Officer or Chair of Disciplinary Panel)
Having set out their written response to the employee’s case beforehand, the role of the Responding Officer is to summarise why the employee was disciplined or dismissed, explaining why their decision was reasonable, given the circumstances. This will include the calling and cross-examination of witnesses as necessary.

The Human Resources Advisers
A senior member of Human Resources will advise those hearing the appeal on matters of procedure, Employment Law and best practice.  

The HR Adviser who advised the Responding Officer during the disciplinary hearing, will also be present to support the Responding Officer. Under normal circumstances, the HR Adviser will not cross examine witnesses or present the case.  However, the HR Adviser may as appropriate question witnesses on points of clarification or raise points of procedure.  In exceptional circumstances (e.g. where the Responding Officer or another member of the Appeal Panel where applicable, is unable to attend the appeal hearing), the HR Adviser will present the case and cross-examine witnesses.

The Clerk
An administrator will be provided solely to take the minutes of the hearing. They will be appointed by the Appeal Officer or Chair of Appeal Panel and confidentiality will be ensured.

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Conduct of Appeal Hearings


For cases considered by an Appeal Officer, the hearing will be conducted in accordance withthe Standing Order relating to Academic Staff: Dismissal, Discipline and Grievance Procedures and Related Matters, Part III, 10 (i).

For cases considered by an Appeal Panel, the hearing will be conducted in accordance withthe Standing Order relating to Academic Staff: Dismissal, Discipline and Grievance Procedures and Related Matters, Part III, 10 (ii) (h) .

Those hearing the appeal will consider the written submissions of the employee or his/her trade union representative or colleague, and the Responding Officer, together with any oral statements they might wish to make. Both sides may question each other and the Appeal Officer or Appeal Panel may also ask questions as necessary.

It will be the decision of the Appeal Officer or Appeal Panel as to whether witnesses are called in accordance with the Standing Order relating to Academic Staff: Dismissal, Discipline and Grievance Procedures and Related Matters, Part III, 10 (ii) (h) .   If witnesses are called, they may only remain at the hearing for the period of their evidence and questioning.  Both parties will be given the opportunity to question any witnesses.

Appeal hearings will not normally be re-hearings of disciplinary cases in accordance withthe Standing Order relating to Academic Staff: Dismissal, Discipline and Grievance Procedures and Related Matters, Part III, 10 (ii) (h) .

At the end of the appeal, both sides will be given the opportunity to sum up.

It is the responsibility of the Appeal Officer or Chair of Appeal Panel to:

  • Ensure that the meeting is conducted fairly, in line with this procedure;
  • Ensure that all parties behave in an appropriate, professional and courteous manner towards all parties
  • Ensure that the questioning of any complainant or witness is not carried out in an aggressive or confrontational way and that there is no behaviour which is harassing, intimidating or bullying
  • Intervene to prevent any aggressive or intimidating questions and to warn the perpetrators about their behaviour and adjourn the hearing if necessary
  • Intervene if questioning is repetitive or irrelevant to the allegations or if time is being wasted
  • Decide what action within the range of possible outcomes as listed below, if any, is reasonable and necessary based on the facts.

A record of the proceedings will be given to the employee and they will be asked to sign this as a fair record of events. If they have any reservations about this record they will be invited to add their reservations to this record.

The appellant will receive written notification of the outcome of the appeal and the reasons for the decision within ten working days of the hearing.

The decision of Appeal Panels will also be reported to Governing Body in accordance with the Standing Order relating to Academic Staff: Dismissal, Discipline and Grievance Procedures and Related Matters, Part I, 4 (3) .

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Outcomes


The alternative available outcomes under this procedure are as follows:

Appeals against Warnings

  • To allow the appeal and expunge the disciplinary action from the employee’s record.
  • To reduce the disciplinary action to a lower level.
  • To dismiss the appeal.

 

Appeals against Disciplinary Penalties

  • To allow the appeal and rescind the disciplinary penalty (and/or disciplinary warnings if also issued)
  • To alter the disciplinary penalty to a lower, lesser or more appropriate form of disciplinary penalty
  • To rescind the disciplinary penalty but issue a warning as appropriate
  • To dismiss the appeal

 

Appeals against Dismissal

  • To allow the appeal and reinstate the employee.  In such cases, the notice of dismissal from the Director of Human Resources or other designated officer will be cancelled, withdrawn or modified in accordance with  the Standing Order relating to Academic Staff: Dismissal, Discipline and Grievance Procedures and Related Matters, Part III, 12 (2) .
  • To allow the appeal and reinstate the employee giving them a written or final written warning or extending the final warning and/or an appropriate disciplinary penalty. In such cases, the notice of dismissal from the Director of Human Resources or other designated officer will be cancelled, withdrawn or modified in accordance with the Standing Order relating to Academic Staff: Dismissal, Discipline and Grievance Procedures and Related Matters, Part III, 12 (2).
  • To reject the appeal and uphold the dismissal.

 

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Appendix 1 – Gross Misconduct

 

Certain breaches of the disciplinary rules are so serious that they constitute gross misconduct which gives rise to summary dismissal (without notice).

The following represents some examples of conduct, serious cases or instances of which might lead to an employee being immediately dismissed but this list is not exhaustive:

  • Extreme violation of safety regulations, e.g. smoking in restricted areas, failure to report an serious accident/injury, etc.
  • Intoxication from alcohol/non-prescribed drugs resulting in incapacity for work.
  • Being in possession of illegal drugs.
  • Fighting or causing a disturbance.
  • Malicious damage or destruction of the School’s, employees’ or student’s property.
  • Serious bullying, harassment or abuse of a student, employee or visitor to the School
  • Transgressions under the School’s Equality and Diversity Policy such as discrimination, racial abuse etc.
  • Dishonesty, theft, fraud or misuse of School property including malicious damage to School property.
  • Theft from, or violence to, other members of the School, students or members of the public, including malicious damage to their property.
  • Obscene or indecent behaviour or sexual misconduct or the circulation of offensive material
  • Accessing or downloading unauthorised images via the internet.
  •  Serious misuse of any hardware, software, intranet, internet or email.
  • Serious breach of security or of financial regulations and/or procedures.
  • Serious breach of confidentiality or misuse of information including disclosure of confidential/personal information or any unauthorised circumstances or to unauthorised persons. This may include breach of the Data Protection Act 1998.
  • Dishonest or fraudulent use of the School’s name, time, facilities, services and/or suppliers for private use whether or not for financial gain.
  • Extreme cases of unauthorised absenteeism.
  • Serious negligence in duties resulting in any of the above.

 

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