Appendix: Grievance, performance and conduct procedures for student employment

This procedure does not apply to students engaged on an ad-hoc/occasional basis or where another procedure is specified in the contract of employment.

Please always contact your HR Business Partner when dealing with any issue that is covered by either of these procedures.


  1. The employment of a research student will be managed by the College in accordance with the University’s Code of Good Practice on the Employment of Research Students, which is part of the University’s TQA Manual.
  1. The Student Disciplinary and Complaints Procedures do not apply to issues connected with a student’s employment by the University. Where a student raises a complaint/grievance or the College has a concern about the student’s conduct or performance, the College Dean will determine whether the student or employment procedures apply and notify this to the student. The student does not have the right to pursue a complaint/grievance via both the student and employment procedures.
  1. The University recognises that the opportunity to participate in teaching or other relevant employment opportunities can be a valuable experience for a research student, particularly towards the acquisition of skills that will facilitate their future employment. The employment is offered in order to provide practical work experience in connection with the student’s postgraduate studies and is therefore dependent upon the student’s continued registration as a research student at the University of Exeter. In the event that the student worker ceases to be a registered student of the University for any reason, the University will take steps to terminate the employment.
  1. In the event that the employment is terminated (for any reason) under these Procedures, or is not renewed on the expiry of its fixed term, the student worker’s status as a student will not be affected.
  1. The student has the right to be accompanied by a trade union representative, fellow worker, fellow student or a representative of the Guild of Students at any formal meetings under these procedures. The employee may ask for the disciplinary hearing to be postponed for up to one week if their representative (or fellow worker/student) cannot attend on the date given. The manager or College Dean may be accompanied by a representative of the Director of Human Resources.
  1. The time limits in these Procedures may be varied by mutual agreement in individual cases.


  1. Any concerns relating to the student worker’s employment should be referred to their named supervisor/manager in the first instance.
  1. If these concerns cannot be resolved informally then the student worker has the right to take them up with the University by writing to their College Dean indicating that they wish the matter to be considered under the formal Grievance Procedure and detailing their concerns and the remedy they are seeking.
  1. The College Dean will delegate the grievance to a senior member of staff in the College who is not the supervisor/manager of the student worker. A meeting should be arranged between this manager and the student within one week of the grievance being submitted. A written response by the manager will be made to the student worker within one week following the meeting.
  1. If the student worker continues to be aggrieved following receipt of this letter, they may appeal to the College Dean in writing. The appeal must be submitted in writing within two weeks of the student worker receiving the letter referred to above. A meeting should be arranged within two weeks of the receipt of the appeal and a written response made within one week following the meeting. The decision of the College Dean shall be final within the procedures of the University.

Performance and Conduct 

  1. If the College has any concerns that the student worker is not fulfilling their duties effectively, or has any concerns about their conduct, attendance etc which affects their work, the appropriate manager/supervisor within the College will discuss these concerns informally with the student worker in order to agree appropriate remedies.
  1. Where, following such meetings, performance, conduct, attendance etc does not improve to the required standard – or where there is a first but serious concern about conduct or capability – the College will invite the student worker to a formal performance and conduct meeting. Written notification must be sent at least one week prior to the meeting, advising that there will be that there will be a meeting under this procedure; of the date, time and venue of the performance and conduct meeting; of the concerns/allegations; of the possible outcomes under this procedure; enclosing a copy of any statements from witnesses and other relevant evidence; of their right to be accompanied (see above). The College Dean will nominate an appropriate manager/supervisor within the College (who may be the student worker’s manager/supervisor) to conduct this meeting.
  1. Following the meeting the manager/College Dean may take one of the following courses of action, according to the circumstances of the case:
  • to take no formal disciplinary action.
  • to give a formal written warning if there has been either a repeated minor breach in conduct or performance, or a first but more serious breach of discipline or shortcoming in performance;
  • to give a final written warning if there has been an insufficient response to previous warnings and conduct or performance is still unsatisfactory, or in the case of a first but sufficiently serious breach of discipline;
  • to give the student worker notice of dismissal if, following a final written warning, conduct or performance remains unsatisfactory and the student worker still fails to reach or maintain the prescribed standards;
  • to dismiss the student worker summarily without notice and without there having been any previous disciplinary warnings when there has been gross misconduct.

(Appendix 1 of the Disciplinary Procedure for staff indicates the kind of misconduct that might result in formal disciplinary action, including summary dismissal, in certain circumstances)

The student worker has a right of appeal against any formal action under this Procedure. The right of appeal must be exercised within two weeks of receipt of the letter of confirmation of disciplinary action. The appeal, stating the grounds on which it is made, must be in writing addressed to the College Dean. The appeal will be heard by the College Dean and the decision of the College Dean shall be final within the procedures of the University.