legal aspects and organisational policies in place to assist the manager in dealing with disciplinary
issues. Discussions will also include the purpose of the process and the behaviour and skills
required by management to monitor discipline in the area of work.
The legal aspects and organisational policies relating to discipline in the workplace:
The Employments Rights Act 1996 states that an employee should receive a contract of
employment within eight weeks of the commencement of employment. This sets out the
expectations of the employer as well as the terms and conditions and is also meant to provide an
evidential basis on which to bring a claim for the breach contract in a court or employment
tribunal (Employment Rights Act 1996).
The Equality act of 2010 is also an important piece of work related legislation, it replaced previous
anti-discriminatory laws with a single act. This made it easier to understand and provide strength
(GOV.UK). The purpose of the act is to protect people from discrimination in the workplace.
If an employee breaches the contract of employment they may be face consequences. What action is
reasonable or justified will depend on all the circumstances of the particular case and to ensure
issues are dealt with quickly, fairly and with consistency (ACAS).
Palmer (1998) proposes that the disciplinary procedure should be used when an employee’s conduct does not meet acceptable standards. The procedure is designed to encourage all employees to
achieve and maintain standards and to ensure fair and consistent treatment for all.
Sheffield Teaching hospitals has its own disciplinary policy that is used for guiding its managers.
The most recent disciplinary procedure was issued on the 12th January 2007, this policy relates to all
As with most disciplinary policies Sheffield Teaching Hospital disciplinary procedure states that whenever possible all other avenues should be explored e.g. support, counselling and training before resorting to formal disciplinary proceedings.
Policies are in place to allow a manager to decipher if an issue is a breach of conduct and one which requires the use of the disciplinary procedure, the most fundamental policy being the contract of employment. As mentioned previously the contract of employment will define terms and conditions that the employer has set out, these will include holidays, sickness pay, location and period of employment. The advantages being that the employer can justifiably terminate the contract if the employee breaches the terms.
Sheffield Teaching Hospital has a number of other policies to assist in guiding managers, these include the Dress Code Policy (2010) has an aim to both provide a smart/professional image and support infection prevention and control. It also discusses the importance of identifying ourselves to service users and visitors by the use of name/trust badges and the need for personal protective equipment as required.
The Sickness and Absence Management Policy (August 2012) highlights the need for a more stringent approach and formal stages of abscess management particularity in this recent climate. It discuses more robust arrangements of managing intermittent and short spells of sickness and a clearer plan to manage long term sickness.
Confidentiality is a matter of great importance in order to keep both staff and service users safe and protect the reputation of the trust. The confidentiality – staff code of conduct (2012) policy covers many aspects including the use of social networking sites. It says employees should consider what they post on such sites and that they should not be used whilst at work. Other aspects include confidentiality when dealing with telephone calls and other authorities e.g. the police and the protection of data whilst working from home.