FAQs BT discipline procedure

From BT intranet Frequently asked questions

Q. Can I bring a non BT person to accompany me to a Discipline hearing?
A. You are allowed to be accompanied by either another BT worker, or an accredited representative from a trade union. You may however seek advice from an outside person.

Q. If I feel I have been unfairly treated by the Discipline Procedure what is my right of appeal?
A. You may use the appeal process which is outlined within the procedure.

Q. What happens in cases involving officials of recognised unions?
A. The case would be discussed with the Union Headquarters or other Union representative depending on the status of the individual concerned. Should the issue relate to the representative in their Union capacity managers should refer to the National Agreement on Facilities for Recognised Unions at http://tradeunioncontacts.intra.bt.com/TradeUnions/FacilitiesProvidingPolicy/index.htm

Q. Are line managers allowed to search an individual's property as part of the investigation?
A. Managers can search BT property eg van, computer, desk in the course of the investigation. However managers must obtain the permission of individuals to search any private property stored on BT premises or before searching any BT property which is provided for an individual's private use, eg a locker. Should such items require searching the owner or a representative of the owner should be present.

Q. What mitigating circumstances should be considered by the line manager?
A. Account should be taken of the individual's current conduct record, health and welfare. It may also be relevant to review the individuals general record, position and length of service.

Q. What happens when someone is absent from work when the disciplinary issue is raised?
A. The individual must normally return to work before disciplinary action can commence. However if the absence occurs after the fact finding interview consideration should be given to the seriousness of the offence and the health of the individual. (An OHS view may be sought). At any stage , the disciplinary action will be progressed with the consent of the individual and/or OHS, either by the individual supplying a written submission or by attending a hearing.

Q. What happens if the individual is due to leave the company?
A. The case should still be brought. Any proven disciplinary matter could effect the terms on which they leave the company and any state benefits entitlement. Newstart/VR leavers commit to maintaining satisfactory standards of performance, attendance and conduct during the period between the signing of the agreement and their last day of service. Failure to do so could result in BT rescinding the agreement. Also BT reserves the right to rescind the agreement in respect of misconduct prior to the date of this agreement but first brought to BT's attention between the signing of the agreement and the individual's last day of employment.

Q. Should an investigating manager accept an anonymous witness statement?
A. Anonymous witness statements are rarely used. In some cases individuals may have justified reasons for retaining anonymity from the accused. However the identity of the individual will be known to BT and their accusations will have been verified by further investigation.

Q. When might BT Security be involved?
A. BT Security may highlight a infringement of BT's policy following an investigation. Line managers can request BT Security assistance if they believe there has been a infringement of BT's policy but require further evidence.

Q. What happens if after an initial warning, either informal or formal, an individual repeats the same misconduct?
A. The individual should have been advised that any repeat of the misconduct will lead to further disciplinary action. They will be invited to attend a disciplinary hearing to explain their actions.

Q. Does the investigating manager need to retain a copy of all the case papers?
A. No. All papers should be returned to the HR Case Management Service Centre (CMSC) Team.

Q. What is the definition of serious?
A. Serious misconduct is misconduct which is likely to need more than an Informal or Oral Warning applied as a corrective measure. This applies to any single serious breach of conduct rules and to minor misconduct which has arisen in spite of previous disciplinary action (eg Informal Warning(s) followed by Oral Warning(s).

Q. Are witnesses normally called to attend a disciplinary or appeal hearing?
A. There is provision within the accepted code of practice for witnesses to attend disciplinary and appeal hearings. Attendance of witnesses however does not happen as a matter of course at all disciplinary hearings but may take place where it is believed the witness could provide vital additional evidence . It should be noted however that although a witness can be called to attend a hearing they cannot be mandated to do so. Accordingly if a witness declines the offer, the parties are obliged to accept their response. In cases where a witness is asked to attend a hearing they may be questioned by either side. The investigating manager must however make every effort to protect witnesses from any form of intimidation either to attend a hearing or as a result of their statement and any request made to the investigating manager that a witness should attend will be considered on a case by case basis.

Q. What happens to any annual leave I have owing if I am dismissed?
A. If you are dismissed with notice, you would normally be expected to take any outstanding annual leave within the notice period. If you are dismissed without notice, arrangements should be made for any outstanding annual leave to be paid back.
See https://intra.bt.com/bt/hr/joining_leaving_bt/leaving_bt/miscellaneous/Pages/index.aspx for more