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The Company Disciplinary Procedure will be used only when necessary and as a last resort. Where possible, informal and/or formal counselling or other good management practice will be used to resolve matters prior to any disciplinary action being taken. The procedure is intended to be positive rather than punitive but takes cognisance of the fact that sanctions may have to be applied in some circumstances.
An employee can discuss any part of this policy with their Union Representative or their Line Manager. They can help clarify an employees rights as well as give guidance and support where it may be needed. Every individual has the right to representation at any point during the disciplinary process.

Suspension is not disciplinary action. The purpose of suspension is manifold and can be used when it is necessary to remove a member of staff from the workplace pending an investigation for example, to allow time for a 'cooling down period' for both parties, for their own or others protection, to prevent them influencing or being influenced by others or to prevent possible interference with evidence. Only the Manager in charge of that individual, at that time or their superior, have the authority to suspend an individual. 

An employee suspended from duty will receive written confirmation within three days of:

  •  the reason for the suspension
  •  the date and time from which the suspension will operate.
  •  the timescale of the ongoing investigation.
  •  the right of appeal to the immediate manager of the suspending manager should the suspension last more than 7 days


Counselling is an attempt to correct a situation and prevent it from getting worse without having to use the disciplinary procedure. Where improvement is required, the employee must be given clear guidelines as to:

  •  what is expected in terms of improving shortcomings in conduct or performance
  •  the time scales for improvement
  •  when this will be reviewed
  •  the employee must also be told, where appropriate, that failure to improve may result in formal disciplinary action.


A record of the counselling should be given to the employee and a copy retained in their personnel file. It is imperative that any counselling should be followed up and improvements recognised and recorded. Once the counselling objectives have been met, any record of the counselling will be removed from the employees file.
If during counselling it becomes clear that the matter is more serious, then the discussion should be adjourned, and pursued under the formal disciplinary procedure.


Formal investigations should be carried out by the most appropriate manager who is not directly involved with the incident being investigated. This manager may involve others to assist with the investigation process. All the relevant facts should be gathered promptly as soon as is practicable after the incident. Statements should be taken from witnesses at the earliest opportunity. Any physical evidence should be preserved and/or photographed if reasonable to do so.


2. A report should be prepared which outlines the facts of the case. This should be submitted to the appropriate senior manager / Director who will decide whether further action is required. Where appropriate, this report may be made available to the individual and their representative.
3. In most circumstances where misconduct or serious misconduct is suspected, it will be appropriate to set up an investigatory hearing. This would be chaired by the appropriate Senior Manager / Director, who would be accompanied by another manager. The investigating manager would be asked to present his/her findings in the presence of the employee who has been investigated. Witnesses should be called at this stage, and the employee (or their representative) allowed to question these witnesses. The employee has a right of representation at this hearing.
4. Following the full presentation of the facts, and the opportunity afforded to the employee to state his side of the case, the hearing should be adjourned, and everyone would leave the room except the senior manager / Director hearing the case, and the other manager. They would discuss the case and decide which of the following option was appropriate:
 take no further action against the employee
 recommend counselling for the employee
 proceed to a disciplinary hearing
5. All parties should be brought back, and informed as to which option has been chosen. Should the decision be taken to proceed to a disciplinary hearing, then this may follow on immediately from the investigatory hearing if the following criteria have been met:

 the employee has been informed by letter that the investigation may turn into a disciplinary hearing, and that he has the right of representation
 he has been told in advance what the nature of the complaint is, and had time to consult with a representative
 all the facts have been produced at the investigatory hearing, and the manager /Director is in a position to decide on disciplinary action.
 the manager should inform the employee and their representative that the hearing would now become a formal disciplinary hearing, and invite them to say anything further in relation to the case.
6. It may be appropriate at this point to adjourn proceedings, whilst necessary arrangements are made for a representative to attend the hearing at the request of the employee.
7. Should anyone who is subject to disciplinary action resign during the course of it, the action will cease unless there are extenuating circumstances which require it's continuance. The subject of the discipline may also request that the disciplinary action continue.



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