ELM STREET MEDIA

Disciplinary and Grievance

1 PURPOSE AND STATUS OF THIS POLICY

We believe it is important to have a Disciplinary and Grievance Policy which clearly sets out the rules and procedures which we expect you to follow in line with current employment practices. We therefore urge you to familiarise yourself with this policy.

The Policy set out below does not form part of your contract of employment. It does, however, apply to all staff, subject to eligibility in some cases, and you will be required to comply with it since it governs how we should work together. In the event of any inconsistencies between this policy and your contract of employment, the terms of your contract will prevail.

2 DISCIPLINARY PROCEDURE

2.1 Introduction

2.1.1 the disciplinary procedure is not primarily intended as a punitive tool, but rather to enable and encourage employees to improve their performance if necessary;

2.1.2 an employee will not be dismissed for a first disciplinary offence unless he or she has committed an act of gross misconduct (see below);

2.1.3 the disciplinary proceedings and any documents produced for the purposes of those proceedings will be kept confidential;

2.1.4 employees will be given full written details of any allegations of misconduct, together (where possible) with any supporting evidence;

2.1.5 employees will be given the opportunity to challenge the allegations and supporting evidence before any decision is reached;

2.1.6 at all stages of the disciplinary process (except for investigatory interviews) the employee will be entitled to be accompanied by a co-worker or trade union representative. The Company may challenge your choice of companion if it believes that the choice of companion is unreasonable or has a conflict of interest; and

2.1.7 there is a right of appeal at each stage of the procedure.

2.2 Suspension

2.2.1 In certain circumstances, the Company may decide to suspend an employee from work as part of a disciplinary process. Any such suspension will be on full pay.

2.2.2 The Company will aim to ensure that the employee is only suspended for as long as is reasonably required to carry out its investigations and arrange a disciplinary hearing, if necessary. Suspension does not imply any guilt or that the Company had made any decision as to whether a disciplinary sanction is appropriate in the circumstances.

2.3 Informal Action

2.3.1 In cases of minor misconduct or unsatisfactory performance, an informal approach may be used to try to resolve the matter. However, if this is not appropriate, or if an informal approach does not result in the desired improvement, the standard disciplinary procedure will be applied.

2.4 Disciplinary Procedure

2.4.1 The employee will be provided with written allegations setting out the employee’s conduct or performance and the reason why this conduct or performance is unacceptable.

2.4.2 At the same time, the employee will be invited to attend a disciplinary hearing (with a work colleague or trade union representative if desired).

2.4.3 The employee will be provided with a copy of any documents that are to be produced at the hearing. The employee must likewise provide in advance copies of any documents he or she intends to produce at the hearing.

2.5 The Disciplinary Hearing

2.5.1 The hearing shall be held within a reasonable period of time and if possible, the timing and location of the hearing will be agreed with the employee.

2.5.2 The employee must make every reasonable effort to attend the hearing, at which he or she may be accompanied by a work colleague or trade union representative. If the employee fails to attend, and does not have a valid reason for not attending, a decision may be made in the employee’s absence.

2.5.3 At the hearing the employer will confirm the details of the complaint and the evidence that has been gathered.

2.5.4 The employee will then have an opportunity to set out his or her case and answer the allegations being made. In doing so, the employee may ask questions, call witnesses and present evidence.

2.5.5 The hearing may be adjourned if it is necessary or desirable, for instance to obtain more information. In this instance the employee will be told why the hearing has been adjourned and a time will be scheduled for it to be reconvened.

2.6 The Decision

2.6.1 Once the hearing has been concluded, a decision will be made as to whether disciplinary action is justified and the employee will be informed, in writing, of the outcome of the hearing within a reasonable period of time.

2.7 Disciplinary Sanctions

2.7.1 If it is concluded that the employee’s conduct or performance warrants disciplinary sanctions, and if the employee does not successfully appeal the decision, the following stages will usually be applied:

(a) Stage 1 - First written warning
The employee will receive either a first written warning setting out the improvements that need to be made and a timescale for achieving them. In the absence of further offences, the warning will be removed from the employee’s records after six to twelve months. In cases of misconduct the warning or note will be by way of a caution against future misconduct.

(b) Stage 2 - Final written warning
If the improvements are not met within the timescale, or if there is continued misconduct or poor performance, the employee will be issued with a final written warning. This will set out further conditions for improvement or caution against future misconduct. In the absence of further offences, the warning will be removed after twelve months.

(c) Stage 3 - Dismissal
If the conditions of the final written warning are not met, or if the allegation concerns gross misconduct or gross negligence (regardless of whether there are any active warnings on the employee’s record) the employee may be dismissed. Gross misconduct/negligence will usually result in immediate dismissal without notice or payment in lieu of notice.

2.7.2 If the employee’s misconduct or poor performance is sufficiently serious, the disciplinary procedure may begin at stage 2 or stage 3.

2.8 Appeals

2.8.1 If the employee is dissatisfied with a disciplinary decision, he or she may appeal.

2.8.2 An appeal must be in writing, state the grounds for the appeal, and be lodged within five working days of the disciplinary decision.

2.8.3 Save for in exceptional circumstances the appeal meeting will be held within a reasonable period of an appeal being lodged and will be heard by an appropriate person.

2.8.4 At the meeting, the employee may be accompanied by a work colleague or trade union representative.

2.8.5 Following the appeal, the employee will be informed in writing of the outcome of the appeal hearing within a reasonable period of time.

2.9 Examples of Gross Misconduct

2.9.1 The following is a non-exhaustive list of offences which amount to gross misconduct:

2.9.2 dishonesty;

2.9.3 failure to comply with relevant statutory or regulatory requirements;

2.9.4 serious acts of insubordination and failure to follow reasonable unlawful orders without jurisdiction;

2.9.5 violent, abusive or intimidating conduct;

2.9.6 deliberate damage to property;

2.9.7 sexual, racial or any other form of discrimination, harassment or bullying;

2.9.8 unauthorised use or disclosure of confidential information;

2.9.9 use of Company plant or property for personal use, without written permission

2.9.10 attending work under the influence of alcohol or drugs which have not been medically prescribed;

2.9.11 persistent refusal to carry out reasonable instructions;

2.9.12 accepting a gift which could be construed as a bribe;

2.9.13 a breach of the Health and Safety rules which endangers the health or safety of others;

2.9.14 failure to disclose correct information on an application form; and

2.9.15 conviction for any serious offence while an employee.

2.10 Examples of Misconduct (not amounting to Gross Misconduct):

2.10.1 unauthorised absence from work;

2.10.2 lateness;

2.10.3 unacceptable performance;

2.10.4 inappropriate standard of dress;

2.10.5 smoking on the premises;

2.10.6 time wasting;

2.10.7 contravention of minor safety regulations;

2.10.8 disruptive behaviour; and

2.10.9 unauthorised use of the telephone.

3 GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE

3.1 Introduction

3.1.1 The grievance procedure is designed to help employees resolve any concerns, problems or complaints that they may have in relation to their employment.

3.1.2 Employees should try to resolve any grievances informally with their immediate Line Manager. Where this is not possible, they should follow the grievance procedure.

3.2 Grievance Procedure

3.2.1 Written Statement of Grievance

3.2.1.1 The employee should give a written statement to their Line Manager, setting out the alleged grievance in full.

3.2.1.2 Although the Line Manager will deal with grievances that are raised orally, an employee will not be able to take his or her case to an employment tribunal unless it has first been raised in writing.

3.2.1.3 If the grievance relates to the employee’s Line Manager, the grievance should be raised with another senior member of staff.

3.2.2 The Grievance Hearing

3.2.2.1 The employee will be invited to a hearing at a reasonable time following receipt of a grievance statement. The timing and location of the meeting will, whenever possible, be agreed with the employee.

3.2.2.2 The employee may be accompanied by his or her chosen co-worker or trade union representative (if any) at the grievance hearing (and any subsequent appeal).

3.2.2.3 At the hearing, the employee will have the opportunity to explain his or her grievance and say how he or she thinks it should be settled.

3.2.2.4 The hearing may be adjourned if further investigation is deemed necessary or if further advice on how to proceed is required.

3.2.3 The Decision

3.2.3.1 Once the hearing has been concluded, the employee will be informed of the outcome of the hearing, in writing, within a reasonable period of time.

3.2.4 Appeals

3.2.4.1 An employee may appeal the outcome of the grievance hearing within five working days of receiving it. The appeal should be given in writing to a senior member of staff.

3.2.4.2 Appeals will be heard normally within five days from when the appeal is lodged unless there are exceptional circumstances. A senior member of staff will hear all appeals and their decision will be final. There will be no further right of internal appeal.

3.2.4.3 The employee will be informed of the appeal hearing’s decision, in writing, within a reasonable period of time. The decision of person hearing the appeal will be final.

September 2010

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