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Legal issues involved in the grievance, discipline and dismissal process and procedure:
This assignment focuses on the grievance, discipline and dismissal process and procedure. The following literature is based on the grievance, discipline and dismissal procedure practised by Abbey National Plc. In the UK, Santander operates three retail businesses - Abbey, Alliance & Leicester and the savings business of Bradford & Bingley. Together they have over 1,300 branches, around 4,500 cash machines and provide a full range of retail and corporate banking services to 25 million customers.In September 2008, Abbey acquired Bradford & Bingley's savings and branch network and in October 2008, Alliance & Leicester. Both acquisitions were part of it growth strategy in the UK and will help to achieve its goal - to become the best commercial bank in the UK.
Abbey offers a full range of personal financial services, both direct and through intermediaries. The range of services includes mortgages and savings, bank accounts, loans and credit cards, long-term investments including pensions and unit trusts, life, critical illness and unemployment cover and household insurance.
Abbey through good management practice, its employment policies and employees development aims to help and encourage employees to achieve and maintain satisfactory standards of conduct. It is necessary to have a minimum number of rules in the interests of the whole organisation. The rules set standards of performance and behaviour whilst the procedures are designed to help promote fairness and order in the treatment of individuals. Before explain the Abbey's grievance, discipline and dismissal procedure, I have explained what is grievance, discipline and dismissal process and procedure .
What is grievance:
Prof. Jucious defines as : "any discontent or dissatisfaction, whether expressed or not and whether valid or not, arisingout of anything connected with the company that an employee thinks, believes or even feels unfair, unjust or inequitable."
Grievance are essentially complaints or concerns which an employee raises. These can be related to a wide range of issues from the work environment and their colleagues to employment terms and conditions or statutory rights.
Grievance procedure: grievance procedures are needed:
- To provide individual with a course of action should they have a complaint which they are unable to resolve through regular communication with their line manager.
- To provide points of contact and timescale to resolve issues of concern.
- To try to resolve matters without recourse to an employment tribunal.
The grievance should be dealt within the limits of the first line supervisor. The appellate authority should be made clear to the employee so that is he cannot get satisfaction from his immediate supervisor, he should know the next step.
In establishing a grievance procedure, if the grievance is against an instruction given by a superior in the interest or order and discipline, the instructions must be carried out first and then employee can register his protest.
Discipline is a process for dealing with job related behaviour that does not meet expected and communicated performance standards. In the disciplinary issues employer has concerns about employee conduct, absence from work, or the way in which he or she is doing the job. They are likely to start a disciplinary procedure which could lead to disciplinary action including potentially dismissal in more serious cases.
Disciplinary procedures are needed:
- So employees know what is expected of them in terms of standards of performance or conduct (and the likely consequences of continued failure to meet these standards).
- To identify obstacles to individuals achieving the required standards (for example training needs, lack of clarity of job requirements, additional support needed) and take appropriate action.
- As an opportunity to agree suitable goals and timescales for improvement in an individual's performance or conduct.
- To try to resolve matters without recourse to an employment tribunal.
- As a point of reference for an employment tribunal should someone make a complaint about the way they have been dismissed.
Disciplinary rules and procedure:
It is important to tell employees about company's rules governing what behavior is unacceptable in the workplace and the consequences, if company find they have breach them. Setting out disciplinary rules which cover conduct issues relating to:
- Time keeping : Normally expected times of attendance, often with monitoring(clocking in). Sanction for lateness.
- Absence: An approval mechanism for absence. Authorization for taking annual leave.A reporting procedure when people are absent from the workplace. The need for medical self-certification or a doctor's certificate.
- Health and safety: Requirements for appearance or cleanliness-e.g. protective clothing, wearing jewellery. Special hazards such as chemicals and dangerous machinery. Prohibition of smoking alcohol or drug .
- Gross misconduct: Offences regarded as being serious enough to lead to dismissal without notice. Theft , fraud , deliberate falsification of records. Fighting, assault on another person. Deliberate damage to company property. Serious incapability through alcohol or being under the influence of illegal drugs. Unauthorized entry to computer record.
- Use of company facilities: Use of telephone for private calls. Admission to company premises outside working hours. Use of company equipment-e.g.computers, photocopiers for personal reasons. Use of e-mails and internet.
- Discrimination: Overt discrimination but also sexual harassment and racial abuse.
Informal and formal disciplinary action:
Typical steps in disciplinary actions may include these:
- Counsel the employee about performance and ascertain his or her understanding of requirements. Ascertain whether there are any issues contributing to the poor performance, that are not immediately obvious to the supervisor. Solve these issues, if possible.
- Verbal warning for poor performance
- Provide a written warning(improvement notice)
- Final written warning
If disciplinary action is to be taken, it should always have four main stages:
There must always be a full and fair investigation to determine the facts and decide if further action is necessary.
The following penalties may be considered in addition to final written warning depending on the circumstances of the case:
- Withholding incremental progression.
- Compulsory transfer to a post at a lower grade an salary.
- Suspension with loss of pay.
The most sever disciplinary penalty is dismissal. In the case of Gross Misconduct, the penalty is dismissal without notice. In the case of repeated or persistent misconduct where the employee has a final written warning for the same kind of offence which is still in force and some cases of serious misconduct, the normal penalty will be dismissal with notice. The disciplinary meeting may, however, where there are mitigating circumstances, impose a final written warning, and where appropriate, another penalty.
The employee has the right to appeal against the finding of the disciplinary meeting and or level of penalty.
Abbey National's grievance, disciplinary and dismissal procedure:
Abbey through good management practice use correct procedure when inviting to a disciplinary hearing. Employees are fully aware of the standard of performance, action and behaviour required. Disciplinary action, where necessary is taken speedily and in fair, uniform and consistent manner. In the event that a problem occurs which requires formal action, the procedures given below are to be followed.
Abbey's Grievance Procedure: It is important that if employee feels dissatisfied with any matter relating to employment, employee should have an effective means by which such a grievance can be aired and, where appropriate, resolved .
- Nothing in this procedure is intended to prevent employee form informally raising any matter. Informal discussion can frequently solve problems without the need for a written record. However if employee wish to raise a formal grievance he or she should normally do so in writing from the outset.
- Employee has the right to be accompanied at any stage of the procedure by a fellow employee .
- If employee feel aggrieved at any matter relating to work, he or she should first raise the matter with the person specified in employee statement of main terms of employment, explaining fully the nature and extent of employee grievance. Employee will then be invited to a meeting at a reasonable time and location at with employee grievance will be investigated fully. Employee will be notified of the decision in writing, normally within ten working days of the meeting, including right of appeal.
- If employee wish to appeal he or she must inform manager within five working days. Employee will be invited to a further meeting , which employee must take all reasonable steps to attend. Following the appeal meeting employee will be informed of the final decision , normally ten working days, which will be confirmed in writing.
Abbey's Disciplinary Rules:
Rules covering unsatisfactory conduct and miss conduct:
Employee will be liable to disciplinary action if he or she is found to have acted in any of the following ways:
- Persistent absenteeism and or lateness.
- Failure to abide by the general health and safety rules and procedures.
- Smoking in designated non smoking areas.
- Consumption of alcohol on the premises.
- Unsatisfactory standards or output of work.
- Rudeness towards customers, members of the public or other employees, objectionable or insulting behaviour, harassment or bullying or bad language.
- Failure to devote the whole of your time, attention and abilities to business and its affairs during normal working hours.
- Unauthorised use of e-mail and internet.
- Failure to carry out all reasonable instructions or follow rules and procedures.
- Unauthorised use or negligent damage or loss of company's property.
- Use of vehicles without approval or the private use of commercial vehicles without authorisation.
- If employee work involves driving, failure to report immediately any type of driving conviction. Or any summons which may lead to employee's conviction.
- Loss of driving licence where driving on public roads forms an essential part of the duties of the post.
Where one of the unsatisfactory conduct or misconduct rules has been broken and, if ,upon investigation, it is shown to be due to employee extreme carelessness or has a serious or substantial effect upon the bank operation or reputation, employee may be issued with final written warning in the first instance. Employee may receive a final written warning as the first course of action , if in an alleged gross misconduct disciplinary matter, upon investigation, there is shown to be some level of mitigation resulting in it being treated as an offence just short of dismissal.
Stages of a discipline issues that result in dismissal:
Rules Covering Gross Misconduct:
Occurrence of gross misconduct are very rare because the penalty is dismissal without notice and any previous warning being issued. Any behaviour or negligence resulting in a fundamental breach of contractual terms that irrevocably destroys the trust and confidence necessary to continue the employment relationship will constitute gross misconduct. Examples of offences that will normally be deemed as gross misconduct include serious instances of:
- Theft or fraud
- Physical violence or bullying.
- Deliberate acts of unlawful discrimination or harassment.
- Possession, or being under the influence, of illegal drugs at work.
- Breach of health and safety rules that endangers the lives of , or may cause serious injury to, employees or any other person.
- Anti money landing law breach.
- Data protection breach.
- Financial crime operation.
Disciplinary Procedure: Disciplinary action taken against employee will be based on the following procedure.
Period of warning:
- A formal verbal warning will normally be disregarded after three month priod.
- Written warning will normally be disregarded after six month period.
- Final written warning will normally be disregarded after a twelve month period.
Dismissal And Appeal Procedures:
It includes three steps:
Step 1: Statement of grounds for action and invitation to meeting.
- Employee alleged conduct or characteristics, or other circumstances, which lead employer to contemplate dismissing or taking disciplinary action against employee. Will be set out in writing.
- This statement , or a copy of it , will be sent to employee and will be invited to attend a meeting to discuss the matter.
Step 2: Meeting
- The meeting will take place before action is taken, except in the case where disciplinary action consists of suspension.
- Employee must take all reasonable steps to attend the meeting.
- After the meeting, employee will be informed of the decision and notified of the right to appeal against the decision if employee is not satisfied.
Steps 3: Appeal
- If employee wish to appeal , must inform the management .
- If inform , he or she will be invited to attend a further meeting.
- Employee must take reasonable steps to attend the meeting.
- Employee may be accompanied at any stage of the appeal hearing by a fellow employee of his or her choice, who may act as a witness or speak on employee behalf.
- The appeal meeting need to take place before the dismissal or disciplinary action takes effect.
- After the appeal meeting employee will be informed of the final decision.
- Each step and action under the procedure will be taken without unreasonable delay.
- Timing and location of meeting will be reasonable.
- Meeting will be conducted in a manner that enables both parties to explain their cases.
- In the case of appeal meetings, bank will so far as is reasonably practicable, be represented by a more senior manager.
- Human Resource Management in a Business Context, third edition by Alan Price, ISBN:978-1-84480-548-8
- The Grievance Process in Labour Management Cooperation by Michael Joh Duane, ISBN 0899307604
- http://www.acas.org.uk/CHttpHandler.ashx?id=1041 http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Employment/ResolvingWorkplaceDisputes/DG_10028111