Disciplinary Policy

Disciplinary 05102020.pdf

Disciplinary Policy

Break the Silence (1191438) -  Unit 48, RCM Business Centre, Dewsbury Road, WF5 9ND

Part I: Policy details

  2. What does     this policy cover and who is covered?

This policy covers the charity Break the Silence (shortened to BTS for the rest of this policy), its procedures when a disciplinary matter arises, usually where there is reasonable concern or suspicion that an employee has engaged in one or more actions that can be classified as ‘misconduct’.

Although this is not an exhaustive list, we tend to treat ‘misconduct’ as comprising one or more of the following activities:

    • Minor         breaches of our policies

    • Minor         breaches of your employment contract

    • Unauthorised         use, or damage to, our property and equipment

    • Absence         from work that has not been authorised

    • Poor         attendance and timekeeping

    • Covert         manipulation of others within your team or BTS, or other         communications causing anxiety, mistrust or fear

    • Refusing         to follow instructions, where it is not serious enough to be gross         misconduct

    •         Misuse of         the internet or your work email for personal purposes, including         sending and receiving an excessive number of personal emails

    • Misuse         of BTS's devices or BTS's communication accounts, including making         an         excessive         number of personal calls using BTS's phones

    • Behaving         offensively, including making lewd gestures and using obscene         language (verbally or otherwise)

    • Being         careless in the performance of your work duties

    • Time-wasting         during your contracted working hours

    • Smoking         where smoking is not allowed


By contrast, and again, not an exhaustive list, we treat ‘gross misconduct’ as typically comprising one or more of the following activities:

    •         Malicious         misuse of any of our procedures, for example if you make up         allegations when taking out a grievance against someone

    • Negligence,         recklessness or carelessness, particularly if it leads to BTS and         its management losing trust and confidence in you

    • Serious         breach of all data privacy and data protection legislation         applicable to our business

    • Serious         health and safety breaches

    • Unlawful         harassment or discrimination

    • Viewing,         receiving, or sending anything that breaches BTS's Harassment and         Bullying Policy or         our         Equal Opportunities Policy

    • Bullying         or physical violence

    • Fraud,         theft, or any act of dishonesty

    • Being         under the influence of, or possessing, illegal drugs

    •         Being         under the influence of alcohol, unless this is with your manager’s         express knowledge and permission – for         example,         where you are involved in entertaining on the Company’s behalf

    • Serious         and intentional damage to Company property

    • Knowingly         accessing websites containing offensive, obscene or pornographic         material

    • Serious         insubordination or refusal to obey management instructions

    • Serious         breaches of confidence (such as disclosing BTS's confidential         information without         authorisation         and/or putting BTS's IP or trade secrets at risk)

    • Conduct         that breaches common decency or brings the Company into disrepute


Part III of our guide sets out our approach in relation to gross misconduct, which is not the same as the way in which we handle allegations of misconduct.

There’s a third category of misconduct that falls inbetween these two: ‘serious misconduct’. We define this as misconduct that falls short of gross misconduct but that, taken with any previous and non-expired written warning(s) on an employee’s record, would justify the imposition of a final written warning. (We cover this in context at Part II, Stage 3 of the formal disciplinary process, below.)

We will normally follow this policy in a disciplinary situation, but we are not obliged to do so (particularly if you are in your probationary period).

  2. Who does it     apply to?

All employees. BTS Volunteers are treated as employees under most circumstances even though an employment agreement is in 'honor' only, however if at any time activities relating to discipline become increasingly problematic or to an extent where other activities within the  charity are threatened and/or effected the 'honor' agreement will be terminated, Trustees, the CEO and Managers will have this authority. It does not apply to self-employed contractors, workers and agency workers.

  2. It is not     part of your employment contract

This policy is not part of your employment contract. We, BTS, may amend this policy at any time.

  2. Your right     to be accompanied at disciplinary meetings

During any meeting that takes place under this policy, you may bring someone with you. That person is generally a colleague or, if relevant, a trade union representative.

We will remind you of this entitlement when we send you a meeting invite. You must then let us know if you intend to invite someone to accompany you and who that person is, as well as their relationship to you if this is not known to us. You will be responsible for making their attendance (including any travel) arrangements and costs.

You are entirely free to choose a work colleague to accompany you. If you do choose a work colleague, please be aware that, on occasion, we may need to adjust scheduled meeting timings to ensure that we can ensure your colleague’s attendance (and absence from their usual work duties) does not cause any operational challenges.

Speaking on your behalf

If you would prefer them to do so, your companion may present the key points of your grievance and they may also speak openly on your behalf at the meeting. You should feel free to seek their views and confer with the during the meeting and you are entitled to leave the room for reasonable periods of time to do so.

Your companion is not permitted, however, to answer questions put directly to you or try to prevent the Company asking questions or outlining its views.

Part II: Our procedure when disciplinary matters arise

This sets out the steps that we take when a disciplinary concern first arises, with the exception of where an allegation of gross misconduct arises. (Please see Part III of this policy for information on our approach where gross misconduct has been identified.)

  2. Before     formal action is taken: informal discussions

Where we feel it’s appropriate to do so, we will aim to talk through a concern about your conduct or performance with you, including where this raises a disciplinary element.

Following that chat, we may send you what’s called a Letter Of Concern, recording what we have discussed during that informal meeting.

If we can’t resolve matters during this chat, or we consider that the circumstances in which our concerns have arisen make an informal discussion inappropriate, we will typically follow the formal procedure described below.

  2. Stage 1a:     formal disciplinary action – formal meeting

    2.         We will         not take disciplinary action without first having invited you to a         formal meeting to discuss the concerns that have been identified.         This may, however, be the only meeting that we invite you to. You         may not be invited         to         attend any subsequent meetings that take place during any         investigatory or disciplinary decision-making stages.

    3.         We will         write to you to invite you to this formal meeting and to provide         you with the key details that you need to         know,         including when and where the meeting will take place, details of         misconduct allegations that you may face, and the potential         ramifications of these allegations being proven, or not. Unless we         believe there is a good reason not to do so, we will also provide         you with copies of any documents relevant to the facts, and any         witness statements that we have taken.

    4.         Your         attendance at this meeting is really important and you’re         responsible for ensuring that you can make it. We will usually         agree to reschedule the meeting once if, for good reason, you are         unable to make the first time that we propose. But we will not         allow interactions about when you can make this meeting to         unreasonably delay it. If after rescheduling it once, we remain         unable to schedule your attendance at this meeting, and we do         not         consider that your requests for other times are reasonably made, we         may be forced to proceed without you being present.

    5. You         are entitled to be accompanied at the meeting. See Part 1 section 4         for the rules on how this works.

    6.         If you         want to bring your own witnesses to the meeting and/or you have         documents or other evidence you want         to         present, you must let us know as soon as possible in advance of the         meeting taking place.

    7.         During         the meeting, we will go through all the details of the allegations         against you, and we will outline the information, documentation and         witness statements that comprise the evidence we have. We will ask         you to confirm that you understand all that we have presented to         you and you will be given sufficient opportunity to respond and to         ask questions of us, as well as to put forward your own evidence         for us to further consider. You         may also         invite your own witnesses to speak on your behalf at this meeting.         If you want to ask questions of our witnesses, please let us know         in advance and (unless we believe there is good reason not to) we         will ensure that they are asked those questions, respond and that         we share their responses with you in a suitable manner.

    8. [We         will not record this meeting without your knowledge. Please do not         record the meeting without our knowledge and consent. If at any         time, you have concerns about our grievance process or the         individual(s) leading it on our behalf, you should tell us promptly         and openly, so that we can address your concerns.]



[We may record this meeting, but we will not do so without telling you. You may of course record the meeting if you wish to do so; but please tell us beforehand if you intend to do so, as it would be discourteous to make a covert recording.]  

Stage 1b: formal disciplinary action – suspension for misconduct

(For how we handle gross misconduct, please see Part III of this policy.)

It is possible that we may suspend you from work, if you’re accused of misconduct. This is not a prejudgment of any decision that we may ultimately reach – we will not have made any decisions at this stage. Suspension is typically driven by the disciplinary concerns that have been raised and all the factors that we have so far considered. So, if we suspend you, it will be in order to cause the least disruption to the business while we investigate.

If you are suspended from work, the following factors will apply:

    2.         You will         be prohibited from coming in to your normal workplace, or any other         premises from which we conduct         our         business

    3.         Unless we         give you written authorisation to do so, you must not contact any         staff, clients, customers or suppliers – unless your need to         contact a particular individual arises from your intention to         request them to act         as a         witness for you (in which case, you do not need to ask us first)

    4.         Provided         that your contract terms do not contradict this, we will continue         to pay you your full entitlement. If you         fall         sick during this suspension period and are unfit to work, you will         be paid according to our Sickness Policy, which might mean you do         not receive your full pay (i.e. if you are only entitled to         statutory sick pay under your contract terms)

    5.         If         pre-approved holidays fall during a period of suspension, they will         still count as holiday leave and will be         deducted         from your holiday entitlement as normal


  2. Stage 1c:     formal disciplinary action – if you raise a grievance

Our disciplinary process will usually continue uninterrupted, even where you may raise a grievance while we are conducting our disciplinary investigation. If your grievance is linked to the matters that we’re investigating under the disciplinary process, we will normally consider the matters you raise as part of the disciplinary process and not start a separate grievance process.

  2. Stage 2:     formal disciplinary action – BTS's decision

Normally within 2 weeks of the formal meeting, we will provide you with BTS's written decision, outlining our conclusions and what we have decided.

  2. Stage     3: formal disciplinary action – disciplinary action and our     dismissal process

Where our decision identifies misconduct by you, we generally take the approach set out immediately below. If we have identified gross misconduct by you, our approach is different. Please see Part III of this policy for how we handle gross misconduct.

    2.         Step         1:You         will receive a written warning from us, which will normally remain         on your work record for 12 months from the date you receive our         decision. It will then be removed from your record. The only         exceptions to         this         position will be if:

      2. you             already have one or more non-expired written warnings on your work             record, or

      3. your             misconduct was serious (but not gross) misconduct.


in which case, we will move straight to Step 2 below. (And in the case of gross misconduct, see Part III below.)

    2.         Step         2:Where         one (or both) of the exceptions in Step 1 have been met, we will         issue you with a final written warning that will also go on to your         work record alongside any existing, still active, written         warning(s).That         final         written         warning will also stay ‘active’ on your work record and only         expire 12 months from the date that you receive our written         decision. After that 12-month period, it will be removed.

    3. Step         3:If         Step 2 has already been met and you are involved in further         misconduct, you may be dismissed.You         may also         be dismissed for a serious case of misconduct, or if you are         involved in gross misconduct. Occasionally at this point, although         we are not obliged to do so, we may be prepared to consider other         actions besides your dismissal. This might include, for example:

      2. extending             your final written warning period, to provide additional time for             you to convince us that your             behaviour             can reliably be improved,

      3. moving             you into a different role within our business, or

      4. demoting             you from your current position.


Either of the actions at (ii) or (iii) above can result in reduced pay to you.

  2. Stage 4:     formal disciplinary action – appeals

You are entitled to appeal against any of the decisions we take under this process. If you want to appeal, you must:

    2.         Write to         us within a week of receiving our decision. You should address your         letter to the person whom we will         have         identified in our decision communication and you will need to give         clear grounds for why you are appealing the decision.

    3.         Once we         have received your appeal letter, we will invite you to an appeal         meeting. We will aim to hold this         appeal         meeting within 2–3 weeks of receiving your appeal letter.

    4.         Wherever         we can reasonably organise this, the appeal meeting will be led by         someone other than the person         who led         and made decisions relating to earlier disciplinary meetings about         this instance of misconduct.

    5.         You are         entitled to invite someone to accompany you at this meeting. (The         rules outlined in Part I, section 4,         apply         here.)


  2. Stage 5:     formal disciplinary action – final decision, after an appeal

Our final decision will be sent to you in writing, normally within 2 weeks of the appeal meeting. You do not have any further right to appeal against our decision.

Part III: How we handle cases of gross misconduct

You will usually be dismissed without warning, without notice, and without payment in lieu of notice, if we find you have committed an act of gross misconduct.

This is known as summary dismissal.

You have the same rights of appeal as set out above in our misconduct process unless you are a Volunteer (see Part II above).