Disciplinary Policy and Procedure

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Comment This policy was adopted by the Board on 11 February 2012 and reviewed and updated by the Chief Executive in June 2016. It is part of a series of Staff Policies.

Purpose and scope

Wikimedia UK’s aim is to help and encourage all employees to achieve and maintain standards of conduct, attendance and job performance. This procedure applies to all employees and sets out the action which will be taken when rules and procedures are breached. The aim is to ensure consistent and fair treatment for all in the organisation.


Informal action will be considered, where appropriate, to resolve problems.

No disciplinary action will be taken against an employee until the case has been fully investigated. For formal action the employee will be advised of the nature of the complaint against him or her and will be given the opportunity to state his or her case before any decision is made at a disciplinary meeting. Employees will be provided, where appropriate, with written copies of evidence and relevant witness statements in advance of a disciplinary meeting.

At the disciplinary hearing, the employee will have the right to be accompanied by a trade union representative, or work colleague. No employee will be dismissed for a first breach of discipline except in the case of gross misconduct, when the penalty will be dismissal without notice or payment in lieu of notice. An employee will have the right to appeal against any disciplinary penalty.

The procedure may be implemented at any stage if the employee's alleged misconduct warrants this.

The Procedure

Stage 1 – first written warning

If conduct or performance is unsatisfactory, the employee will be given a written warning or performance note. Such warnings will be recorded, but disregarded for disciplinary purposes after 12 months of satisfactory service. The employee will also be informed that a final written warning may be considered if there is no sustained satisfactory improvement or change. (Where the first offence is sufficiently serious, for example because it is having, or is likely to have, a serious harmful effect on the organisation, it may be justifiable to move directly to a final written warning.)

Stage 2 – final written warning

If the offence is sufficiently serious, or if there is further misconduct or a failure to improve performance during the currency of a prior warning, a final written warning may be given to the employee. This will include the reason for the warning, the improvement required and the timescale. It will also warn that failure to improve may lead to dismissal (or some other action short of dismissal) and will refer to the right of appeal. A copy of this written warning will be kept on the employee's personnel file but will be disregarded for disciplinary purposes after 12 months subject to achieving and sustaining satisfactory conduct or performance.

Stage 3 – dismissal or action short of dismissal

If the conduct or performance has failed to improve, the employee may be subject to demotion, disciplinary transfer, loss of seniority (as allowed in the contract), or dismissal.

Gross misconduct

If, after investigation, it is confirmed that an employee has committed an offence of the following nature (the list is not exhaustive), the normal consequence will be dismissal without notice or payment in lieu of notice:

  • theft, fraud or act of dishonesty
  • deliberate and serious damage to property
  • fighting, physical violence or serious abusive behaviour towards people
  • incapacity for work due to being under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs
  • failure or refusal to obey a reasonable instruction without good reason
  • transmitting confidential information outside the organisation
  • serious breach of health and safety obligations
  • serious breach of organisation’s rules, policies and procedures
  • serious misuse of computer, email or internet facilities
  • bringing the organisation into disrepute

While the alleged gross misconduct is being investigated, the employee may be suspended from work, during which time he or she will be paid their normal pay rate. Any decision to dismiss will be taken by the employer only after full investigation. If, on completion of the investigation and the full disciplinary procedure, the organisation is satisfied that gross misconduct has occurred, the result will normally be summary dismissal without notice or payment in lieu of notice.


An employee who wishes to appeal against any disciplinary decision must do so within five working days of receipt of the letter outlining the grounds for the appeal. The appeal hearing will be chaired by a senior manager who was not involved in the original disciplinary hearing. They will review any disciplinary penalty imposed and their decision is final.

Related documents

Please refer to Redundancy policy and procedures for redundancy dismissals and the non-renewal of fixed term contracts.