Disciplinary Action

  • Alcohol dependency and substance abuse are not in themselves disciplinary offences (unless this takes place whilst on university premises and / or has an adverse effect on the individual’s performance, safety of themselves or others or brings the University into disrepute) and in most cases will be dealt with as any other health problem.  Where there is an identified substance abuse problem the aim would be rehabilitation and support with re-entry to the work situation being an important part of that process. It is also important that the appropriate level of confidentiality is maintained, as would be the case with any other health related matter.  However, inappropriate and unacceptable behaviour whilst under the influence of alcohol / illicit drugs may warrant disciplinary action being considered.
     
  • Where the Head of College/Service and employee acknowledge there is a health problem and agree a course of action aimed at rehabilitation, disciplinary action may not be appropriate. There may be a requirement to move an employee away from their normal work duties during this time, to protect the safety of themselves and others who may be affected.
     
  • Where a Head of College/Service is satisfied that an offence or work problem has occurred e.g. absenteeism, violent behaviour, unsafe acts or substandard work, which results from or reflects alcohol or drug use, this must be taken into account in determining the appropriate course of action, following consultation from HR. There may be a requirement to move an employee away from their normal work duties during this time, to protect the safety of themselves and others who may be affected. The provision of alternative work will be subject to a timeframe that is considered “reasonable” for rehabilitation.
     
  • In more serious cases where an employee is working in a hazardous environment that is safety critical (e.g. using machinery, electrical equipment, dangerous substances, working at height) where instances of drug misuse could have serious consequences, the employee will be removed from the area of work immediately.
     
  • Employees should not be left in any doubt about the possible consequences of being caught using, growing, possessing or supplying controlled drugs. (i.e. disciplinary action and police involvement will be instigated).  Where illicit drugs, taking and or abuse of alcohol has resulted in actual harm, loss or damage affecting another member of staff, student or property belonging to the university then appropriate action will be taken.

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