Disciplinary Procedure for Non-Teaching Staff at Eglish National School
The Board of Management of Eglish National School expects good standards of conduct and work performance from all employees and that these standards will be enforced in a just and systematic way.
Employees should have a fair opportunity to remedy problems of conduct or performance.
To this end, should an employee fail to meet the Board of Management of Eglish National School’s required standards; the following procedure is outlined and is in accordance with the Labour Relations Commission Advisory Code on discipline.
Objectives of the Procedure
The objective of this procedure is to ensure consistent and equitable treatment of employees who become liable to disciplinary action. The procedure will only be invoked after informal action has been exhausted. Disciplinary action should primarily be corrective and provide the employee with the opportunity where necessary to improve conduct and/or job performance to a standard acceptable to the Board of Management of Eglish National School.
Disciplinary action is appropriate when an employee fails to meet satisfactory standards with regard to, for example; conduct, job performance, attendance, time keeping and the observance of the Board of Management of Eglish National School rules and regulations.
Principles of the Procedure
- No disciplinary action will be taken against an employee until the case has been investigated and the facts established. In certain cases in serious matters where serious allegations have been made, including cases of alleged gross misconduct, a precautionary suspension may be imposed pending an investigation and hearing
- At every stage in the procedure, the employee will be advised of the nature of the complaint and will be provided with all relevant information and the potential scope of the disciplinary action.
- An employee has the right to be represented by the recognised trade union and/or colleague
- An employee has the right to appeal to the Board of Management against any disciplinary action imposed
- Although disciplinary action will normally follow the progressive stages, the procedure may be implemented at any stage if the alleged misconduct warrants such action. For example, there may be occasions when a form of misconduct or failure in performance is considered to be insufficiently serious to warrant dismissal but sufficiently serious to warrant only one warning. In effect a first and final warning
- No employee will be dismissed for a first breach of discipline except in the case of gross misconduct when the penalty may be summary dismissal without notice or payment in lieu of having to work notice
- Full written records will be kept of all stages of the procedure
- Disciplinary warnings should specify standards required and/or the extent to which performance or conduct falls short, and as far as possible detail the remedies required to rectify the situation and the likely consequences if the required improvement is not forthcoming
- Disciplinary warnings will be deemed “spent” after an appropriate period of time, and will not normally be transferable between different types of misconduct
- While normal standards apply to the conduct and/or performance of Trade Union representatives no disciplinary action beyond an oral warning should be taken against a trade union representative until a full-time trade union official has been notified and given the opportunity to discuss the case
- Nothing in this procedure may be construed as diminishing employees' rights at Law
- All matters relating to the disciplinary procedure are strictly confidential to the parties and their representatives involved and breaches of this confidentiality may in itself result in disciplinary action.
Minor problems of conduct should be dealt with informally and discreetly. An appropriate quiet word to a staff member is often enough to correct minor habits such as poor time keeping. A formal verbal warning maybe given where no informal warning has been given, but this would depend upon the nature and seriousness of the offence involved. Formal discipline should only apply to serious offences or when minor problems become habitual. If further discipline is needed the next step is an on-the-job reprimand or a disciplinary interview.
On the Job Reprimand
This involves giving an immediate verbal reprimand when a minor misconduct occurs.
This follows four stages, and at all of these, a colleague or a trade union representative may accompany an employee.
Stage 1: Formal Verbal Warning
Stage 2: Written Warning
Stage 3: Final Written Warning
Stage 4: Covers serious or repetitive breaches of discipline and will always be conducted by the Principal and/or Board of Management.
Stage 1 - Formal Verbal Warning
An employee will receive a formal verbal warning if the employee fails to respond to earlier informal discipline. After interviewing the employee, the Principal will, if deemed appropriate, advise the employee that s/he is giving a formal verbal warning, which will be put on the employee's record. The employee will also be told the improvement required and when the situation will be reviewed. This warning will be confirmed in writing and a copy of the warning will be sent to the Board of Management.
If the employee makes satisfactory progress, the verbal warning will normally cease to be ‘live’ at the end of the school year (i.e. Sept – June) in which the warning is given - that is, it will then be disregarded for future disciplinary purposes. However for warnings given in what is recognized as the “summer term” which is normally the period from the re-opening of the school after the Easter break to the close of school at the end of June, the matter will be deemed to be “live” for the term immediately following the summer holiday break (i.e. Sept – Dec).
Stage 2 - Written Warning
If an employee does not sufficiently improve after the formal verbal warning, the Principal will interview the employee with the Chairperson of the Board of Management, Eglish NS School present, and if necessary, a first written warning will be issued. The employee will be told that a first written warning is being given, and a copy of the warning will be kept by the Board of Management. The written warning will say how the employee must improve and when the situation will be reviewed. Depending on the nature and seriousness of the offence involved, a first written warning may be given where no previous verbal warning has been given. Normally, if the employee's progress is satisfactory, the written warning will cease to be ‘live’ after twelve months and disregarded for future disciplinary purposes.
Stage 3 - Final Written Warning
If, following a first written warning, an employee persists in performing or behaving in an unsatisfactory way, the Principal and the Chairperson of the Board of Management, Eglish National School will interview the employee again to review the increasingly serious nature of the situation, and to advise the employee that a final written warning will be issued.
The employee will be told that a final written warning is being issued which will indicate the improvement required and establish a time period when the situation will be reviewed. The employee will be advised that this will have implications of more serious disciplinary action up to and including dismissal, in the event of failure to improve, or in the event of recurrence of the misconduct or unsatisfactory performance.
In normal circumstances, and subject to satisfactory progress the written warning will cease to be ‘live’ after twelve months, after this period it will be disregarded for future disciplinary purposes. You may appeal against a final written warning. In more serious cases where no verbal or written warnings have previously been given, a final written warning may be issued.
Stage 4 - Serious/Repetitive Breaches of Discipline
Stage 4 applies after the completion of Stage 3. However, in certain circumstances involving alleged gross misconduct, Stage 4 may be invoked immediately, e.g. offences such as a serious breach of contract, dishonesty, fraud or theft, assault or violence or any offence of a criminal nature.
Any action under this stage of the procedure will be taken by the Board of Management’s nominee. Disciplinary action under this stage will be taken only after thorough investigation and an employee will be given every opportunity to present his/her case beforehand.
Points to Note:
1 An employee shall not be summarily dismissed. Summary action, short of dismissal may be taken where the circumstances warrant it, but such action does not preclude an employee from bringing an appeal.
2 For the purposes of this stage, “disciplinary actions” shall mean;
(b) Other measures short of dismissal
The exercise of any of the above stages shall be without prejudice to the exercise of any other rights to which an employee may be entitled by operation of law.
The following definitions are designed to assist the Board of Management, Eglish National School in the operation of disciplinary procedures, e.g. in deciding which category a particular misdemeanor might appropriately be identified and dealt with by reference to a particular stage of the procedure.
The definitions are examples only, and each case is to be considered on its own merits including the past record of the person concerned. Repetition of examples under the heading ‘Misconduct’ can become ‘Gross Misconduct’ if previous warnings have not been heeded.
Misconduct occurs when an employee's conduct or work performance is below the general standard expected. Examples include:
- regular or persistent lateness
- unacceptable standard of appearance
- unauthorised absence
- poor performance
- irregular attendance
- neglect of duties
- unprofessional attitude towards Pupils and/or other employees
- disregard of safety and/or security regulations
- misconduct within/outside business hours prejudicial to the Board of Management, the School's interests or reputation
- gambling or betting - excluding minor amounts on football pools, lottery racing, sweepstakes, raffles, charitable draws etc.
Gross misconduct occurs in cases of dishonesty, in cases when an employee's conduct or performance falls well below the general standard expected, or in cases of repeated misconduct including poor work performance. Examples include:
- insubordination and/or refusal to carry out legitimate instructions
- persistent poor performance
- failure to observe rules relating to handling, or accounting for, the School's cash, goods or assets
- violent, abusive or threatening behaviour, or assault, towards a pupil, member of the public or another employee
- serious breaches of safety and/or security regulations likely to endanger the employee concerned, other employees, students or members of the public
- malicious or deliberate damage to school property
- serious misconduct (including criminal offences) committed either within or outside business hours prejudicial to the school's interests or reputation
- serious contravention of school regulations, including employee regulations, for a dishonest purpose or otherwise
- serious breach of school computer systems
- sexual harassment
- falsifying the books, documents or records of the school, or knowingly aiding or abetting a similar act by another
- theft, embezzlement, misappropriating or withholding, even temporarily, any money or other property belonging to the school, or entrusted to the school by any pupil, parent, staff member or member of the public, or knowingly aiding or abetting similar acts by another
- wilful neglect of duties including incapability due to abuse of alcohol or non-prescribed drugs
- allowing access to, or furnishing an extract from any book, document or record belonging to the Board of Management, the school or relating to its business to any third party for a dishonest purpose.
It must be recognised that these examples cannot be treated as a definitive list. Instances may fall within more than one definition depending on the facts and circumstances of each case.