Principles and standards

1 The following principles and standards apply to all procedures detailed in these Ordinances.

2 These procedures apply to all members of staff except those engaged on a claims basis and Graduate Teaching Assistant.

3 Where there is an issue as to the meaning of ‘academic freedom’ in any proceedings under these Ordinances, regard shall be had to the agreement with the University and College Union regarding the definition of academic freedom dated 31 July 2009.

4 The decision of the appropriate manager/panel on which procedure is to be followed shall be final.

5 The application of these Ordinances/Procedures may be modified by the Director of Human Resources in cases where a member of staff employed by the University works in, or is managed by employees of, a third party organisation, including in cases of secondment. In particular:

  • the Director of Human Resources may authorise managers employed by the partner organisation to take action under these procedures, in conjunction with, or in substitution for, appropriate University Managers;
  • where a member of staff raises a complaint about his/her treatment by a partner organisation or any of its employees, the University shall endeavour to deal with the complaint within the spirit of the Grievance Procedure, as far as is practicable to do so;
  • for the avoidance of doubt, action under these procedures may be taken in respect of the member of staff's conduct or performance during his/her work for the partner organisation.

6 An employee has the right to be accompanied by a fellow worker or trade union representative at any meeting under the formal stages of these procedures.

7 An employee may ask for meetings under the formal stages of these procedures to be postponed for up to one week, on one occasion only. Following such a postponement, the University reserves the right to proceed with the meeting in the employee’s absence.

8 The Director of Human Resources must be involved at all formal stages of these procedures. References to the Director of Human Resources include a designate of the Director of Human Resources.

9 Time limits (other than those for prior notification of meetings/disclosure of documentation before meetings) are indicative – there may be circumstances, particularly in the case of complex cases, where these are not realistic. If it is not possible to respond or take action within the time limits referred to in this Procedure, the employee should be given an explanation for the delay and told when a response can be expected. The time limits may be varied by mutual agreement in individual cases.

10 References to academic managers in these procedures means staff in the academic job families with line management responsibility.

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1 Purpose and principles

1.1 The purpose of this procedure is to resolve individual grievances promptly and fairly and as near to their source as possible.

2 Scope

2.1 A grievance may be raised about any matter concerning work or conditions of employment except:

2.2.1 actions or decisions taken under the disciplinary, capability/performance, probation, redundancy, ill health/incapacity, fixed term contract or retirement procedures or other dismissal procedures or the initiation of those procedures. Complaints about these matters should be considered at hearings under these procedures.

2.2.2 grading decisions, which will be managed through the appropriate grading appeal procedure;

2.2.3 collective disputes, which will be managed through the collective disputes procedure;

2.2.4 grievances raised by former employees: this procedure shall not apply to any grievance raised by an employee after termination of his/her employment. This procedure shall cease to apply if, during the course of the procedure, the employment of the employee terminates. In such circumstances, the University shall notify the former employee of the appropriate procedure, if any, to be followed.

2.3 At any stage of this Grievance Procedure, the relevant manager/panel dealing with the grievance at that stage may, if other proceedings (for example, disciplinary procedures or a redundancy procedure) concerning the employee and relevant to the subject matter of the grievance are pending or are in progress or for any other good reason, in his/her/its discretion:

  • direct that the grievance should be considered at a formal hearing under any other procedure; or
  • defer consideration of the grievance (in whole or in part).

It shall be for the relevant manager or panel dealing with the grievance at the relevant stage to determine whether the grievance should be deferred, or should be considered at a formal meeting under another procedure or whether it falls outside this procedure by virtue of this paragraph and their decision on this shall be final.

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3 Informal resolution

The employee is first expected to attempt, as far as is reasonably possible, to resolve the grievance informally through discussions which should normally involve the employee's immediate line manager (or other appropriate manager where their concern relates to their immediate supervisor/line manager) but may also involve any person(s) to whose conduct the grievance relates. Employees may wish to seek advice from a trade union representative or, for issues covered by the Policy on the Protection of Dignity at Work and Study, a Harassment Adviser, to facilitate the informal resolution of their concerns.

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4 Formal procedure

4.1 If the grievance cannot be resolved informally through discussions, because informal discussions are inappropriate or have failed to resolve the grievance, then the employee should write to their College Dean/Head of Service (or other appropriate manager) indicating that they wish the matter to be considered under the formal Grievance Procedure.

4.2 The issue about which the employee is aggrieved, and the remedy sought, should be clearly stated.

4.3 The College Dean/Head of Service may dismiss a grievance which he or she considers trivial or vexatious or invalid without following the full Grievance Procedure either on receipt of the grievance or at any point under Stage 2.

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5 Stage 1: Mediation

5.1 Upon receipt of a formal grievance, the College Dean/Head of Service will refer the grievance to the Director of Human Resources who, where mediation is considered appropriate, will contact the employee (and others who may be the subject of the grievance) with a view to resolving the grievance through mediation, in accordance with the University’s Mediation Procedure.

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6 Stage 2: Grievance meeting

6.1 Where mediation is not appropriate or where following mediation the employee confirms in writing that their grievance remains unresolved, the Director of Human Resources will refer the grievance back to the College Dean/Head of Service. In certain circumstances it may be necessary to delay a Grievance Meeting while the employee’s grievances are investigated and this will normally include discussing details of the grievance with other employees and individuals who are the subject of the complaint. The employee may also be asked to provide additional information about their grievance before a Grievance Meeting can be arranged. Following any investigation, the College Dean/Head of Service may:

  • arrange a Grievance Meeting in accordance with paragraph 6.2;
  • direct that the grievance should be considered under any other procedure in accordance with paragraph 2.3;
  • dismiss the grievance in accordance with paragraph 4.3.

6.2 A Grievance Meeting will (subject to paragraph 7.5) be held with the College Dean/Head of Service or an appropriate manager authorised by the College Dean/Head of Service who may be accompanied by a representative of the Director of Human Resources. The Grievance Meeting should normally be held within two weeks of the completion of Stage 1 or any investigation.

6.3 At least one week before the date of the Grievance Meeting, the manager responsible for the Grievance Meeting should write to the employee:

  • advising of the date, time and venue of the Grievance Meeting;
  • advising of the right of the employee to attend the meeting in person and to be accompanied by a fellow worker or trade union representative;
  • enclosing a copy of the outcome of any investigation, including statements from any witnesses and other relevant evidence;

6.4 At the Grievance Meeting:

  • the employee may put their case in person or through the trade union representative or fellow worker accompanying them prior to witnesses being called or other evidence taken;
  • the manager responsible for the Grievance Meeting may hear evidence from witnesses and the employee may arrange for witnesses to attend and give evidence;
  • the manager responsible for the Grievance Meeting may question any witnesses;
  • the employee or the trade union representative or fellow worker accompanying them may also question witnesses, although the manager responsible for the Grievance Meeting may determine that all questions are directed through him/her.

No additional written evidence may be introduced at this stage.

6.5 Within one week of the Grievance Meeting, the manager responsible for the Grievance Meeting should write to the employee advising of their decision.

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7 Stage 3: Appeal

7.1 If the employee continues to be aggrieved following notification of the outcome of the Grievance Meeting, they may appeal to a Grievance Appeal Meeting.

7.2 The appeal must be submitted in writing to the Director of Human Resources within two weeks of the date of the written outcome of the Grievance Meeting. The appeal should provide a full written statement of the grievance to be considered, together with the remedy sought.

7.3 The appeal will be a review of the decision taken at Stage 2. No new evidence may be presented to the Grievance Appeal Meeting, nor any witnesses called, unless the Grievance Appeal Meeting is satisfied that there are exceptional reasons why such evidence or witnesses were not produced at the Stage 2 Grievance Meeting and that it is necessary in the interests of fairness, in reviewing the decision taken at Stage 2, for the Grievance Appeal Meeting to consider this evidence or hear from the witnesses concerned.

7.4 The Grievance Appeal Meeting should normally be held within four weeks of the receipt of the employee’s appeal.

7.5 The Grievance Appeal Meeting will be conducted by the College Dean/Head of Service or, if they conducted the Stage 2 Grievance Meeting or are the subject of the grievance, another College Dean/Head of Service, the Registrar and Secretary or a Deputy Vice-Chancellor authorised by the Director of Human Resources.

7.6 At least one week before the date of the Grievance Appeal Meeting, the Director of Human Resources should write to the employee:

  • advising of the date, time and venue of the Grievance Meeting;
  • advising of the right of the employee to attend the meeting in person and to be accompanied by a fellow worker or trade union representative;
  • enclosing a copy of any relevant documentation, including statements from any witnesses and other relevant evidence;

7.7 The Director of Human Resources will consider any representations made by the employee who has lodged the grievance to him/her in writing in advance of the Grievance Appeal Meeting regarding the manager appointed under paragraph 7.4 to conduct the Grievance Appeal Meeting. The Director of Human Resources may arrange for another manager to consider the appeal in accordance with paragraph 7.5 or explain in writing his reasons for not doing so.

7.8 The Grievance Appeal Meeting will follow the procedure set out below unless otherwise mutually agreed by the parties.

7.9 Within one week of the Grievance Appeal Meeting, the manager responsible for the Grievance Appeal Meeting should write to the employee advising of their decision.

7.10 The decision of the Grievance Appeal Meeting is final within the procedures of the University.

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8 Appeal against Dismissal of a Grievance under Paragraph 4.3

8.1 If the employee wishes to appeal against a finding of a College Dean/Head of Service that the grievance is trivial or vexatious or invalid, then he/she shall do so under the Stage 3 Appeal Procedure. The appeal must be submitted in writing to the Director of Human Resources within two weeks of the date of the written notification of the College Dean/Head of Service.

8.2 The purpose of the Grievance Appeal Meeting in these circumstances will be to consider whether the College Dean/Head of Service's decision that the grievance is trivial, vexatious or invalid, was correct. The substance of the grievance will not be considered any further than is necessary to do this.

8.3 The Grievance Appeal Meeting may:

  • uphold the College Dean/Head of Service's decision that the grievance was trivial/vexatious/invalid. In this case there shall be no further right of appeal under this Procedure and the employee will be advised of this in the notification of the decision of the Grievance Appeal Meeting; or
  • allow the appeal on the basis that the grievance is not trivial/vexatious/invalid. In this case the employee shall be entitled to have his/her grievance considered under Stage 2 (Grievance Meeting) of the procedure above. In this case, the grievance shall be remitted to the College Dean/Head of Service or other manager whose decision was appealed, for further consideration under Stage 2 (Grievance Meeting) above. In exceptional cases, the Grievance Appeal Panel may remit the case for consideration under Stage 2 by another manager authorised by the Director of Human Resources, but only if the Grievance Appeal Panel are satisfied that this is essential for a fair and impartial consideration of the grievance.

8.4 The Grievance Procedure does not allow a further grievance to be brought against the College Dean/Head of Service in respect of their decision to dismiss a grievance under paragraph 4.3 or 5.2.

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9 Procedure to be followed by Grievance Appeal Meeting (other than in cases covered by paragraph 8)

9.1 The Complainant (or representative) shall present the case and may call witnesses in succession, who may be questioned by the Complainant (or representative), by the Respondent (or representative) and by the person conducting the Grievance Appeal Meeting;

9.2 The Respondent (or representative) shall reply and may call witnesses who may be questioned by the Complainant (or representative), by the Respondent (or representative) and by the person conducting the Grievance Appeal Meeting;

9.3 The Complainant (or representative) shall have the right to present a summary of his/her case.

9.4 The Respondent (or representatives) shall have the right to present a summary of his/her case.

9.5 The person conducting the Grievance Appeal Meeting shall withdraw to determine their decision.

(Note: the Respondent is the manager who considered the grievance at stage 2.)

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