Two women's hands at desk

The College expects its managers and staff to act and behave in line with Imperial Expectations and Respect for Others and communicate with each other on  a regular basis. The College treats equality of opportunity seriously and has an equality framework to ensure equality of opportunity.  Implementation of the Disciplinary procedure must be clear and transparent and not subject to any unfair discriminatory practices by line managers.

This guidance has been designed to act as a point of reference.  For further details please refer to the full policy which can be downloaded from this page's sidebar.

All College employees are covered by this policy, with the exception of those staff in their probation period and those covered by the Appendix to the Statutes governing academic staff.

This guidance is to assist our staff and managers during a disciplinary process.

Staff guidance

Alarm clock on bed What is misconduct?

Misconduct falls under two categories i) minor misconduct is seen as unacceptable behaviour/attitude, e.g. being late, insubordination ii) gross misconduct ie. stealing, sexual harassment, fighting, being drunk on duty, harassing or bullying others. 

Misconduct differs from performance as it is seen as wilfully acting in a particular way.  If staff are not performing it may be because they are not capable of doing the job.  Issues of capability are be dealt with under the Capability Policy and Procedure [pdf].

Man and woman at office desk Informal Action: What happens if my manager is concerned about my conduct/behaviour?

Your manager should have an informal discussion with you and provide support and guidance with reasonable time to improve.  Your manager should follow up the meeting in writing so that you are clear on what is expected/to be achieved and by when.  Positive support and encouragement should be offered by your manager to help you meet the required standards of behaviour.

 

file and magnifying glass Formal action: Investigation

If your manager still has concerns he/she may investigate them under the formal process or they can choose an alternative person to undertake this role.

Out of office on keyboard Will I be suspended?

In certain cases, for example where the nature of the allegation(s) are serious and may constitute gross misconduct or to ensure the investigation is able to proceed unimpeded, it may be appropriate to suspend you, normally suspension will be on full pay. HR will advise your manager on this.

Outcome word on keyboard Possible investigation outcomes

The possible outcomes of an investigation are as follows:

(a) that there is no case to answer;
(b) that the matter is appropriately dealt with by training or under other College procedures; 
(c) that there are sufficient grounds for convening a formal hearing.

Calendar What happens at a formal hearing?

You will be given five working days’ notice of a hearing, the right to representation, offer of reasonable adjustments (if appropriate) and provided with all paperwork that has been gathered during the investigation including a report summarising the investigation.  The individual who undertook the investigation will present their case to the panel and you will then have an opportunity to question them.  You will then have an opportunity to put forward your case and any mitigating circumstances and will be questioned by the panel/investigating officer.  Both parties will make a closing statement. 


Boardroom Who will chair the formal hearing?

The formal hearing will be chaired by an appropriate member of staff and an HR representative, both of whom would not have had any previous involvement in the case.   Where dismissal is a possible outcome, the hearing will be chaired by the Head of Department/Division or senior staff as their nominee.

tool box What are the possible outcomes of a formal hearing?

The Chair of the hearing must decide on the action i.e:

(a) that there is no case to answer;
(b) that the matter is appropriately dealt with by training or under other College procedures; 
(c) that there are sufficient grounds for issuing a formal warning in writing or dismissal

Appeal word on keyboard What if I disagree with the outcome?

You can appeal against the decision to issue a formal written warning or to dismiss; a new panel will be convened to hear the appeal.

Man crossing bridge concept What support is available to me?

Human Resources: Your HR contact will provide you with advice and guidance on how to manage the process.

Staff Supporters: College staff who are trained volunteers, providing confidential and positive assistance to all Imperial staff when they need information, guidance and support.

Confidential Care Managerial Adviceline: The College’s independent Employee Assistance Provider can provide confidential advice.

HR on keyboard If you have any queries then please get in touch with your HR representative.

Managers' guidance

Man drunk at desk What is misconduct?

Misconduct falls under two categories i) minor misconduct is seen as unacceptable behaviour/attitude ie. being late, insubordination ii) gross misconduct ie. stealing, sexual harassment, fighting, being drunk on duty, harassing or bullying others.

Misconduct differs from performance as it is seen as wilfully acting in a particular way.  If staff are not performing it may be because they are not capable of doing the job.  Issues of capability are dealt with under the Capability Policy and Procedure [pdf].

man and woman at desk Informal action: what if I am concerned about someone's conduct/behaviour?

Prior to speaking to the member of staff you should discuss your concerns with HR who will consider the issues and advise on the options for addressing these, such as 1-2-1 discussion, mediation, coaching and training.

The informal discussion should take place with the member of staff, without attendance from Human Resources or Trade Union representatives and include what support would help address the concerns and the timescales to improve.  These meetings should be followed up in writing so that the member of staff is clear on what is to be achieved and by when.  Positive support and encouragement should be offered to the member of staff to help them meet the required standards. In dealing with these issues please refer to the People management guidance [pdf].

Postit note with facts word Formal action: What if there is still no improvement?

If there are still concerns these should be investigated by you or an alternative person can undertake this role if appropriate.  Discussion with HR will enable you to decide who the appropriate person is and support will be provided by Human Resources in terms of the investigation and providing a note taker.

An investigation should uncover the relevant facts and any evidence should be gathered in order that an informed decision can be made.   If, for example, the issue is in relation to time keeping the facts should be readily available to the immediate line manager/supervisor and as part of an investigation the line manager/supervisor will need to compile records as evidence of the extent of the problem. An investigation into time keeping will also include gathering any notes and records of previous discussions about the problem and the impact the problem is having on the team/department/College. 

If the issue is in relation to conduct, e.g. fighting, the individual undertaking the investigation will initially speak to the members of staff to establish the immediate facts of the case from their perspective. If, following this initial meeting, it appears that there is cause for further review, then a full investigation will be conducted and witnesses will be interviewed in order that statements can be obtained.

vacant chair When is suspension appropriate?

In certain cases, for example where the nature of the allegation(s) are serious and may constitute gross misconduct or it would be difficult to conduct the investigation with the member of staff(s) present, it may be appropriate to suspend an employee.  Suspension will normally be on full pay.  HR will advise on this issue.

Tool box possible investigation outcomes

You (or an alternative person) in liaison with HR will review the notes of the investigation meetings and any other documentary evidence that has been gathered and based on the investigation will determine the following:
(a) that there is no case to answer;
(b) that the matter is appropriately dealt with by training or under other College procedures; 
(c) that there are sufficient grounds for convening a formal hearing.

Boardroom What happens at a formal hearing?

The member of staff should be given five working days’ notice of a hearing, the right to representation, an offer of reasonable adjustments (if appropriate) and be provided with all paperwork that has been gathered during the investigation including a report summarising the investigation. 

The individual that undertook the investigation will present their case to the panel and will then be questioned by the panel and the member of staff the allegation pertains to.  The member of staff will also have an opportunity to put forward their case and any mitigating circumstances and will also be questioned by the panel and the individual that investigated the case.  Both parties will be given the oppportunity to make a closing statement.

Chair Who will chair a formal hearing?

The formal hearing will be chaired by a manager and an HR representative who have not previously been involved in the case.  Where dismissal is a possible outcome the hearing will be chaired by a Head of Department/Division or senior staff as their nominee.

Sanction word in jigsaw What are the possible formal outcomes?

The Chair of the hearing must decide on the action i.e:
(a) that there is no case to answer;
(b) that the matter is appropriately dealt with by training or under other College procedures; 
(c) that there are sufficient grounds for issuing a formal written warning or dismissal.

Appeal word on keyboard What can the member of staff do if they disagree with the outcome?

Individuals can appeal against the decision to issue a formal written warning or to dismiss; a new panel will be convened to hear the appeal.

HR on keyboard If you have any queries then please get in touch with your HR representative.