Cantley & Branton Parish Council

Parish Clark

Julia Staniforth

01302 772493

Grievance and Disciplinary Procedures

The Disciplinary Rules applicable to your employment are contained in the Disciplinary Procedure, which is set out below.  The Disciplinary Procedure may be subject to variation from time to time.

1. Introduction, Purpose and Scope

This procedure is designed to help and encourage all employees to achieve and maintain standards of conduct, attendance and job performance.  The aim is to ensure consistent and fair treatment for all. The procedure to be used in conjunction with the SLCC’s document has been prepared in accordance with the dismissal resolution procedures as set out in the Employment Act 2008 and the ACAS Code of Practice APR 2009.

2. Principles

An employee will be given the opportunity to state their case before any formal disciplinary action is taken and no such action will be taken until the case has been fully investigated.

At any stage in the formal procedure an employee has the right to be accompanied by a Trade Union Official or a work colleague.

If the employee is unable to attend due to unforeseeable reasons out of their control e.g. illness then the council will reasonably rearrange the meeting. If the employee fails to attend without good reason the meeting can be held in the employee’s absence.

A record will be kept of the meeting and any formal disciplinary action taken against any employee.

Criminal charges or convictions do not automatically give rise to a disciplinary situation as consideration needs to be given to how the charge or conviction may affect the employee’s ability to undertake the duties of the post.

In the case of a serious disciplinary offence an employee may be suspended on pay pending further enquiry.  Such suspension does not constitute disciplinary action itself nor does it imply guilt.

3. Informal Stage

Cases of minor misconduct or unsatisfactory performance may be dealt with informally, by the Clerk as line manager or in the case of the Clerk the Chair or Vice-Chair of the parish council speaking to you and, informing you of the problem with conduct or performance.

4. Formal Procedure

STAGE 1 - FIRST WRITTEN WARNING

You will be invited in writing to a disciplinary meeting to discuss the situation further.  If after consideration it felt appropriate, you will receive a written warning that will explain the shortcomings in your work performance or conduct.  The written warning will also explain (where relevant) what improvement is expected and the period of time within which you should improve. Written warnings are usually kept on file for six months.

STAGE 2 - FINAL WRITTEN WARNING

If there is no improvement or, if there is further cause for dissatisfaction you will be invited in writing to a further disciplinary meeting at which the situation will be discussed with you.  If appropriate, a final written warning will be issued, which will describe the shortcomings in your work performance or conduct.  The final written warning will also explain (where relevant) what improvement is required. Final written warnings are usually kept on file for twelve months.  You will then be liable to dismissal if your work performance or conduct remains below the required standard.

STAGE 3 - DISMISSAL

The dismissal procedure set out in the next section of this document will normally apply if the Council is contemplating dismissal.

If no improvement occurs after you have received a final written warning or, there is further cause for dissatisfaction, you will be invited to a further disciplinary meeting which will set out the purpose of the meeting in writing and the reason why the Council may be contemplating dismissal.  At the meeting the situation will be discussed with you. Depending on the outcome of that meeting, you may then be notified in writing that your employment with the Council will be terminated with the appropriate length of notice or payment in lieu of notice. 

N.B.  In cases of gross misconduct the employee need not have been given any previous warnings and dismissal will be without notice or payment in lieu of notice.  See below for further information.

The above procedure may commence at any stage if the employee’s alleged misconduct or performance warrants such action.

Misconduct

The following is a non-exhaustive list of examples of matters that may be dealt with under the disciplinary procedure:  Absence due to medical reasons will be dealt with by a separate procedure.

  • Bad time keeping
  • Unauthorised absence
  • Breaches of the Council’s rules or procedures
  • Poor performance
  • Misuse of Council facilities
  • Inappropriate standard of dress
  • Minor breaches of Health and Safety
  • Misuse of the Council’s facilities or equipment
  • Refusal to carry out reasonable instructions
  • Smoking in unauthorised areas
  • Failure to follow agreed policies and procedures

Gross Misconduct

Where an act of gross misconduct is suspected (see below for examples of what this includes) you may be suspended in accordance with paragraph 2 above.  The dismissal procedure will normally be followed.  If you are found guilty of gross misconduct employment will be terminated summarily i.e. without notice or payment in lieu of notice.

Examples of gross misconduct are detailed below (N.B. the list is not exhaustive):-

  • Being under the influence of alcohol or drugs at work
  • Physical violence or bullying
  • Theft, fraud, falsification of records or other acts of dishonesty
  • Malicious damage of Council property or serious misuse of Council facilities
  • Industrial espionage, commercial indiscretion or bringing the Council into serious disrepute
  • Discrimination or Harassment of any  unlawful nature
  • Gross insubordination
  • Serious breach of Health and Safety and other policies and procedures
  • Failure to comply with the duty to report misconduct

5. Appeals

You may appeal against any warning or dismissal if you feel that such disciplinary action taken against you is unfair or unjustified.

You should put your appeal in writing within five working days of the action complained of.  You will be informed to whom your appeal should be addressed.

For appeals against dismissal, an appeal will normally be held in accordance with step 3 of the standard dismissal procedure or step 2 of the modified dismissal procedure as appropriate (both of which are set out in the next section of this document).

DISMISSAL PROCEDURE

The procedure itself may be subject to variation from time to time.  In disciplinary cases (i.e. in cases of dismissal for misconduct or poor performance) the procedure is also incorporated within the disciplinary procedure set out above.

The Council may vary the dismissal procedure in individual cases depending on the circumstances. 

Standard Procedure

Step 1: statement of grounds for action and invitation to meeting

(1)        The Council will set out in writing the employee’s alleged conduct or characteristics, or other circumstances, which lead the Council to contemplate dismissing the employee. 

(2)        This will be sent to the employee and the Council will invite the employee to attend a meeting to discuss the matter.

Step 2: meeting

(1)        The meeting will take place before action to dismiss is taken.

(2)        The meeting will not take place unless:-

a)       the Council have informed the employee of the basis for the ground or grounds for possible dismissal given in the written statement, and

b)       the employee has had a reasonable opportunity to consider their response to that information. 

(3)        The employee must take all reasonable steps to attend the meeting.

(4)        After the meeting, the Council will inform the employee of its decision and notify them of the right to appeal against the decision if they are not satisfied with it.

Step 3: appeal

(1)        If the employee does wish to appeal, they must inform the Council.  You will be informed to whom you must appeal, the timescale within which you must do so and whether this should be in writing.

(2)        If the employee informs the Council of their wish to appeal, the Council will invite them to attend a further (Appeal) meeting.

(3)        The employee must take all reasonable steps to attend the Appeal meeting.

(4)        The Appeal meeting need not take place before the dismissal or disciplinary action takes effect.

(5)        After the Appeal meeting, the Council will inform the employee of its final decision. 

Modified Procedure

If for any reason the Council have grounds to immediately dismiss an employee the following procedure will normally apply:

Step 1: statement of grounds for action

The Council will:-

(i)         set out in writing:-

a)       the employee’s alleged misconduct which has led to the dismissal,

b)       what the basis was for thinking at the time of the dismissal that the employee was guilty of the alleged misconduct, and

c)       the employee’s right to appeal against dismissal, and

(ii)         send the statement or a copy of it to the employee. 

Step 2: appeal

(1)        If the employee does wish to appeal, they must inform the Council.  You will be informed to whom you must appeal, the timescale within which you must do so and whether this should be in writing.

(2)        If the employee informs the Council of their wish to appeal, the Council will invite him/ her to attend a further (Appeal) meeting. 

(3)        The employee must take all reasonable steps to attend the Appeal meeting.

(4)        After the Appeal meeting, the Council will inform the employee of its final decision. 

Grievance procedure

This Grievance procedure may be subject to variation from time to time

1.         Introduction

You have the right to seek redress of grievances relating to your employment.  The object of this procedure is to provide an employee who considers that they have a grievance with an opportunity to have it examined quickly and effectively and, where a grievance is deemed to exist, to have it resolved if possible at the earliest practicable moment.

If any employee wishes to raise a grievance they should adhere to the following procedure.

2.         Informal Procedure

In the first instance you may prefer to discuss the matter informally with the Clerk or in the case of the Clerk with the Chair.

3.         Formal Procedure

The formal procedure may be used if your grievance has not been resolved by the informal procedure, or if you would prefer to raise the matter formally at the outset.

STAGE 1

The matter should be put in writing to the Clerk or in the case of the Clerk to the Chair.

You will then be called to a meeting to explain fully the nature and extent of your grievance allowing, if you so wish, a work colleague or Trade Union official to be present with you to help you to explain the situation more clearly.

If deemed necessary, the person hearing the grievance may then carry out such investigation as they think appropriate.  They will then notify you in writing of the findings.

STAGE 2

If the grievance is unresolved in Stage 1 or if the grievance involves the person to whom you are asked to refer at Stage 1 then you should put your grievance in writing to the Council.  The Council shall make such enquiries as may seem appropriate and will hold a meeting with you at which you will be entitled to be accompanied by a work colleague or Trade Union Representative.  You will be notified in writing of the findings made.

Ordinarily, there will be no right of appeal from this stage. However, if your grievance only commenced at this Stage, details of the person to whom you may appeal will be provided at the appropriate time.

Every effort will be made to complete the procedure expeditiously, normally within five working days at each stage. However this may not always be possible, particularly where the matter is complex.

Adopted on 7 September 2011

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Julia Staniforth