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Grievance Procedure

These conditions of service are only applicable for those staff employed at UCL Qatar

1. Purpose

1.1 In any organisation members of staff will from time to time have concerns regarding their work, working relationships or the working environment, including concerns of harassment and bullying. Mostly such concerns are resolved informally through discussions within the department. If however an employee considers that his or her concerns have not been addressed adequately s/he may raise a formal grievance under this procedure.

1.2 The procedure aims to ensure that where problems are identified, they are dealt with promptly and consistently and in accordance with good practice.

1.3 This procedure only applies to current employees.

1.4 Academic staff are also covered by the provisions laid out in Statute 18 of the Charter and Statutes. A grievance from an academic member of staff not resolved at the formal grievance stage (see section 6) may be referred in writing to the Provost with a copy to the Director of Human Resources and the Statute 18 procedure will apply.

2. Definitions

2.1 In this procedure "complainant" refers to the employee with a grievance and "respondent" refers to the employee against whom the grievance has been raised. The term "parties" refers to the complainant and the respondent.

2.2 In this procedure "employees" are people who work for UCL Qatar under a contract of employment.

2.3 Any reference to Divisional Director/Chief Operating Officer or Director, HR Consultancy and OSD also includes anyone deputed by them.

3. Application

3.1 The following procedure applies to grievances (including those relating to harassment and bullying) by employees concerning their employment. In circumstances where a grievance applies to more than one employee it may be appropriate for the matter to be dealt with through a collective grievance using this procedure.

3.2 This policy will be applied without any distinction as to sex or gender, age, sexual orientation, marital or parental status or other family circumstance, race, ethnic or national origin, colour, creed, disability, political belief, membership of or activities as part of a trade union, or social or economic status.

4. General Principles

4.1 Confidentiality

This procedure will be followed in the strictest confidence throughout. Grievance records will be treated as confidential and kept in accordance with UCL Qatar Data Protection Policy.

4.2 Representation

4.2.1 At every formal stage of this procedure an employee may be accompanied by a workplace colleague1.  The workplace colleague does not have the right to answer questions on the employee's behalf, address the hearing if the employee does not wish it, or prevent the employer from explaining their case.

4.2.2 A request to be accompanied at a meeting must be reasonable, i.e. the workplace colleague should not be someone who may have a conflict of interest or who may prejudice the hearing. The employee should notify the Hearing Manager of his/ her chosen workplace colleague prior to a meeting.

4.3 Time Limits

4.3.1 The time limits within the procedure are designed to ensure that grievances are addressed promptly but may be amended where necessary. Please note ‘working days’ is based on a 5 day working week. For part time staff this includes any ‘non working days’.

4.4 Mediation

4.4.1 Mediation is a fair and impartial method for the resolution of conflicts and disputes, which aims to clarify the issues involved in the case and explore options for resolution. The process is entirely voluntary and mediated disputes involve no obligation to accept decisions or proposed options. It can be especially beneficial in problems associated with working relationships. Mediation can be used at any stage of the grievance process; the grievance procedure will be suspended pending the outcome of the mediation and may be withdrawn if the mediation is successful. A local mediation service may be sourced where practical.

4.5 Grievance and Disciplinary Action

4.5.1 Any concerns that an employee has regarding disciplinary action being taken against him/her should be raised in response to the disciplinary action (see UCL Qatar Disciplinary Procedure) and will normally be considered within that procedure.

4.5.2 Where a grievance has been raised prior to the date of an incident or allegation that is to be investigated under the Disciplinary procedure, the grievance will normally be held first. Exceptions may be where the disciplinary allegation is of a sufficiently serious nature to warrant dismissal or a risk around matters such as health and safety.

4.5.3 Any grievance raised by an employee who is already subject to a disciplinary process (and which does not relate to it) will normally be heard on completion of the disciplinary procedure, where still in employment. Where two or more grievances are raised which relate to each other, they may be dealt with together.

4.5.4 An employee who raises a grievance in good faith will not suffer any detriment even if the grievance is not substantiated.

4.5.5 Where an employee raises a grievance that is frivolous or vexatious or any person involved gives deliberately misleading statements, s/he may be subject to disciplinary action.

5 Informal Grievance Stage

5.1 In the first instance, an employee should raise a matter of concern informally with his/her line manager. If the individual feels it would be inappropriate to raise the matter with his/her immediate manager as it is related to the behaviour of the immediate line manager, s/he must raise this with the Chief Operating Officer or Director. Where the matter relates to the Director or Chief Operating Officer it should be referred to the Faculty Dean.

5.2 Both parties should make every effort to resolve the problem at this stage because this will allow it to be settled promptly, informally and locally. The employee should explain the nature of concern to his/her line manager. Normally within five working days of gaining this information, the line manager will consider appropriate action which may be required to address the matter. The employee will be orally notified of the outcome, with confirmation of any agreed actions in writing.

6 Formal Grievance Stage

6.1. If the matter cannot be resolved informally, the employee should raise the grievance formally in writing addressed to the Director or Chief Operating Officer (or Faculty Dean where the grievance relates to the Director or Chief Operating Officer). The grievance should explain the outstanding matter of concern focusing on the facts of the case. This should include why attempts to resolve it have proved unsuccessful, providing evidence where appropriate and outlining the desired outcome for the grievance. Dependent on the circumstances, it may be necessary for an investigation to be undertaken prior the Grievance Hearing being held. A manager will be appointed by the Director / Chief Operating Officer to hear the grievance.

6.2. The grievance procedure should normally be conducted within the following timescales. In exceptional circumstances, it may be necessary to extend these time limits.

Process

Timeframe

Employee raises formal grievance in writing to HR Director(or Director HR Consultancy and OSD if relating to the HR Director)

As soon as possible and normally within 5 working days of informal grievance outcome, if unresolved

Written acknowledgement of grievance by HR Director and a copy of this procedure provided to the complainant

Within 5 working days of receipt of formal grievance

Respondent notified in writing by HR of grievance and provided with a copy of the grievance and any supporting papers. Date set for response to any allegations.

Within 5 working days of receipt of formal grievance

Arrangements made for grievance hearing. Complainant and respondent notified of hearing date

 

All written submissions, including details of any witnesses to be called and their statements to Hearing Manager

No less than 7 working days before the hearing

All parties involved in the hearing to be provided copies of all written submissions received by the Hearing Manager

5 working days before the date of the hearing

Hearing

Normally within one month of grievance being raised

Complainant notified of outcome of grievance hearing in writing and informed him/her of right to appeal.

Within 5 working days of the hearing

6.3 The HR Director will support and provide professional HR advice to the Hearing Manager throughout. A note taker will be present at the meetings. Typed notes will be made available to all parties in advance of an appeal hearing.

6.4 The parties will be reminded of the confidential nature of the proceedings and will be asked not to discuss the issue other than with their workplace colleague or witnesses.

6.5 The Hearing Manager can decide on the witnesses to be called at the Hearing, in consultation with the parties, taking into account the information each witness can offer. Where it is not practical for witnesses to attend, the hearing manager may continue to proceed with the Hearing if s/he is of the view that verbal evidence from the witnesses will not affect the consideration of the complaint.

6.7 All information submitted to the Hearing Manager prior to the Hearing must be in writing, signed and dated and shall be provided to all parties involved in the Hearing. Written information not provided to the Hearing Manager in advance of the Hearing within the timescales specified (see 6.2) will not usually be admitted.

7 Hearing

7.1 The hearing manager will ensure equal treatment of the individuals concerned and that all parties have received copies of all relevant papers. The hearing manager will ensure that all aspects of the grievance are considered and may seek further clarification of the written submissions and the Hearing may be adjourned pending any further investigation.

7.2 The complainant and respondent shall attend throughout the hearing. The hearing manager shall be empowered to call any person s/he considers appropriate to clarify evidence. Witnesses who are required to attend meetings under this procedure at times other than their normal working hours will be paid overtime or given time off in lieu.

7.3 The order of the hearing will be as follows:

8 Decision

8.1 The complainant and respondent shall withdraw and the Hearing Manager, with the HR adviser, shall deliberate in private. A decision will be made on what proposed action, if any, needs to be taken.

8.2 Upon completion of deliberations the Hearing Manager shall notify its decision in a report to the Director, HR Consultancy and OSD within five working days of the meeting. The report will include whether the grievance was upheld, the reasons for the decision and any proposals the Hearing Manager may deem appropriate for the redress of the grievance. The Director, HR Consultancy and OSD will then inform the parties and the Director/ Chief Operating Officer for action. The complainant will be informed of his/her right to appeal against the decision.

8.3 The deliberation of the hearing manager cannot be challenged. However the parties may raise factual inaccuracies of the Grievance Hearing notes with the hearing manager.

9 Appeal

9.1 Where an employee feels that his/her grievance has not been satisfactorily resolved through the grievance hearing, s/he may submit notice of appeal to the Director HR Consultancy and OSD in writing within the appropriate timescale (see 9.2) stating the grounds of appeal.

9.2 The grievance appeal procedure should normally be conducted within the following timescales. It may be necessary to extend these time limits.
Appeal Procedure

Process

Timescale

Complainant raises appeal to Director, HR Consultancy and OSD

Within 7 working days of receipt of grievance hearing outcome

Grievance appeal hearing arrangements confirmed and notified to the complainant

Within 7 working days of receipt of appeal letter or as soon as reasonably practicable

Director HR Consultancy and OSD notifies complainant of outcome of appeal hearing in writing

Within 5 working days of the appeal hearing

9.3 The complainant must be specific about the grounds of the appeal; these will effectively form the agenda for the Appeal Hearing and determine who shall be present at the appeal hearing.

Arrangements will be made for appeals against grievance outcomes to be heard as soon as reasonably practicable. The complainant will be notified as soon as possible of the time, date and place of the appeal hearing. Consideration may be given to the use of video conferencing, or other suitable technology, to hear the grievance at a distance.

9.4 The Appeal will be heard by a senior manager who has not been involved at the grievance hearing. An HR Adviser will support and provide professional HR advice to the appeal hearing manager and a note taker present.

9.5 The result of the appeal will normally be notified to the complainant in writing by the Director HR Consultancy and OSD.

9.6 The decision of the Appeal stage is final.

HR Policy and Planning
February 2013

1Only Qatari nationals are entitled to belong to a Trade Union and be represented by a TU official