The practice does not impose unreasonable rules of conduct on its employees, but certain standards of behaviour are necessary to maintain order and discipline in the interests of employees and the practice. We prefer that discipline is voluntary and self-imposed and, in the great majority of cases, this is how it works. From time to time, however, it may be necessary to take action towards individuals whose behaviour or performance is unacceptable. Minor issues will usually be dealt with informally.
The following procedures apply to:
a) Employees continuously employed for less than two years:
Employees will normally be entitled to at least one disciplinary meeting and one opportunity to improve. However, if, after the first disciplinary meeting, they fail to improve, they will be dismissed following a second disciplinary meeting. In situations amounting to gross misconduct, whether there has been a first disciplinary meeting or not, the employee will be summarily dismissed following a disciplinary meeting. The employer will set out in writing the reasons for their dismissal.
b) Employees continuously employed for two years or more:
Minor issues will usually be dealt with informally. However, in cases where informal discussion does not lead to improvement, or where the matter is more serious, such as unjustified absences, poor time-keeping or sub-standard performance, the following formal procedure will be used. Where a matter appears to raise concerns over conduct or discipline Nigel Jones will initially investigate the issue by individually discussing it with those concerned. The investigation is preliminary to the formal procedure and is to determine in the opinion of Nigel Jones whether it is necessary to commence the formal procedure. At every stage of the formal procedure, a formal hearing, convened by the employer, will be held before any warning or other disciplinary sanction is issued. The employee with two or more years' service will be entitled to: • Receive a letter giving adequate notice of the hearing, including the date and time and the allegations of misconduct. The letter will include copies of relevant evidence such as witness statements • Be accompanied at a disciplinary interview by a fellow employee of their choice or a trade union representative • Be given the chance to state their case • Written notification of the disciplinary decision.
Stage 1 - oral warning
If it is decided that the evidence supports the allegation of misconduct, the employee will be given a formal oral warning and will be advised in writing of the reason for the warning and that it is the first stage of the disciplinary procedure. A note of the oral warning will be recorded on the employee's personal record but will be nullified after six months subject to satisfactory conduct and only if there are no further instances of disciplinary action for whatever reason.
Stage 2 - first written warning
If conduct or work performance does not improve or there is a repetition of the misconduct, a first written warning may be given by Nigel Jones. This will give details of the complaint and the likely consequences (that is, Stage 3) if the terms of the warning are not complied with. The warning will also be noted on the employee's personal record, but again will be nullified after a maximum of one year, subject to satisfactory conduct, only if there are no further instances for whatever reasons.
Stage 3 - final written warning
Failure to improve in response to the procedure so far, a repeat of misconduct for which a warning or warnings have previously been issued, or a first instance of serious misconduct will result in a further disciplinary hearing and the issue of a final written warning by Nigel Jones. This will give details of the complaint, the length of any probationary period and notification that dismissal may result if the terms of the warning are not complied with. This warning will be noted on the employee's personal record for one year.
Stage 4 - dismissal
Failure to meet the requirements set out in the final written warning will normally lead to a further disciplinary hearing and dismissal with appropriate notice.
Offences under this heading are so serious that an employee who commits them will normally be summarily dismissed, following a disciplinary hearing. In such cases the practice reserves the right to dismiss without notice of termination or payment in lieu of notice. Summary dismissal for gross misconduct will only occur following an investigation and a formal hearing convened by the employer. The employee is entitled to: • Receive a letter giving adequate notice of the hearing, including the date and time, and the allegations of misconduct. The letter will include copies of relevant evidence such as witness statements • Be accompanied at a disciplinary interview by a fellow employee of their choice or a trade union representative • Be given the chance to state their case • Written notification of the disciplinary decision. Examples of gross misconduct are: • Theft and unauthorised possession of practice property, deliberate falsification of records or any other form of dishonesty • Wilfully causing harm or injury to another member of staff or other person on the premises • Performing an action that is liable to cause injury to other people or damage to practice property • Breach of confidentiality • Wilful refusal to obey a reasonable instruction • Incapacity due to alcohol or drug abuse • Breaches of health and safety regulations. This list is intended only as a guide and is not an exhaustive one.
In the event of serious misconduct, an employee may be suspended on full basic pay while an investigation is carried out. Such suspension, which does not imply guilt or blame, will be for as short a period as possible.
An employee may appeal against a disciplinary decision to Nigel Jones within one week of the decision being communicated to the employee. Appeals should be in writing. At the appeal hearing the employee will again be given the chance to state their case and will have the right to be accompanied by a fellow employee of their choice or a trade union representative. The decision of Nigel Jones will be final.