8.1: Grievance, disciplinary and capability procedures: introduction

It is the policy of the University to ensure that fair and effective arrangements exist for dealing with disciplinary issues, and to ensure that uniform standards are developed throughout the University with regard to both work and behaviour.

The following procedures apply to all staff employed in the University's support staff scales and grades, other than those on probation, procedures for whom are given in section 8.3. The procedures recognise that it is the employer's responsibility to avoid the need for disciplinary action wherever possible by providing guidance and constructive criticism, and to take whatever disciplinary action is necessary promptly and consistently.

The formal procedures allow a member of staff to be accompanied at his or her request by a union representative, or by a colleague of his or her choice from within the University. It is also the University’s normal custom to permit a member of staff to be accompanied in situations outside the formal procedures, if he or she believes there is a need for this. Requests for such representation should be directed to the Departmental Administrator*.

* Note: in some departments, faculties and other units the role of Departmental Administrator may be carried out by an equivalent person with a different title.

Wherever practicable the formal procedures should be preceded by private and informal counselling, and in the case of apprentices, are to be invoked only after the Apprenticeship Partnership Working Group appoints a suitable person, typically the Apprenticeship Scheme Leader, to conduct an inquiry in relation to any performance issues involving an apprentice.

The support staff disciplinary and grievance procedures will apply to apprenticeships as relevant and appropriate. Personnel Services should always be consulted before an apprentice is dismissed.

The formal procedures are designed to deal with situations where the members of staff concerned know clearly what is expected of them by way of standards of work or behaviour.

They require that periods of time are specified between certain interviews. The period should in no case be less than one month or more than three months.

Normally where an employee has completed a period of one year during which he or she has maintained the necessary improvement then previous warnings, both oral and written, should be reviewed in discussion with the employee with a view to removing the record of any formal warning from his or her file in his or her presence.

Records so removed from an individual personal file will be held on a highly confidential and restricted basis by Personnel Services in the University Offices, to be retained for three years, in the event that they may be required for an employment tribunal or similar external proceedings. Records so retained will only be accessed by members of Personnel Services in the event that the records may be material to a claim raised at an employment tribunal or similar external body and the records may only be made available to those directly involved in such proceedings. Records retained for these purposes in Personnel Services will be destroyed automatically after a period of three years.

Certain disciplinary issues may also involve an employee in criminal proceedings. In such cases the University reserves the right to suspend, with or without pay, or dismiss the employee according to the circumstances of the case. Criminal offences outside work will be dealt with in accordance with the ACAS Code of Practice.

8.1.1 Arrangements for dealing with medical capability matters

The University does not regard medical capability as a disciplinary matter. However, where an employee’s sickness absence renders him or her incapable of satisfactorily carrying out his or her duties, with the result that the employing department cannot continue to sustain his or her employment, the formal procedures set out below will be used as a medical capability procedure to warn the employee of his or her position and, where necessary, to terminate employment. In such cases correspondence with employees will, of course, refer to medical capability and not to misconduct or poor performance.