How to identify, deal with and report breaches of legislation, regulations and codes of practice
|📌Published:||29 March 2021|
Unfortunately, some individuals do not adhere to the rules and regulations of legislation, and we need to make sure that we can understand why this has happened. We also have a duty to report the individual/s involved to the local authority. The implications of not reporting the breach or breaching the legislation can include fines, closure notices, disbarment, blacklisting and even prison time. Therefore, when we believe there to be a breach, we must report this to the right authority.
When we identify a breach of legislation, or rules, we can call for an investigation and we do not have to let the employee know in advance. Investigations are great for establishing the facts; understanding the what, why, and any relevant mitigation, and it is fundamental to a fair process. As part of the ACAS code of practice (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service), it is essential that we have evidence of a thorough investigation to arrive at a fair decision. It also saves us time and costs in the future, if it goes on further, because we already have evidence of the investigation. We have to make sure that if this does eventually lead to dismissal, that we have been fair and consistent.
When we investigate, we need a note taker with the investigator and this is to write everything the investigator and employee have to say. The note taker needs to be a team leader or higher management, this cannot be a team member. To ensure that the note taker is as accurate as possible they can ask for the individuals to slow down, clarify what was said and note any significant details, i.e., gesturing, nodding, shouting, crying, etc. It is also important that we clarify to the employee that this is a confidential meeting and should not be spoken about with anyone else from the business.
After the investigation meeting, we adjourned. We then ask the individual to take any belongings with them for the adjournment, check for any recording devices, and stop taking notes when we adjourn. We have a Helpdesk in order to give us the best advice and source evidence, but we ensure that the employee in question is not within earshot when discussing the case. After we adjourn, we want to close the meeting, so we can ask if there is anything else the employee wishes to add and to summarise our findings. This is where we need to clarify the next steps to the employee; is further investigation required? Is suspension required, and if so, this would be made known to the team member now, agreeing on a method of communication and to confirm that these details are correct. Following the investigation, there are four possible outcomes, no further action, letter of concern, or two forms of disciplinary, misconduct and gross misconduct, the latter requiring suspension. We only suspend employees if the outcome is likely to lead to a dismissal. Whilst the team member is on suspension, they receive full pay. Some instances may occur when you have to suspend an employee prior to an investigation. This may be for a few reasons, being that you cannot investigate immediately, but have evidence to imply that the employee poses a substantial risk to the business or if the employee is under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.
When conducting a disciplinary we have to ensure we are following the guidelines and procedures that are set in place. We have to create a formal invite to the employee, and all evidence gathered is to be sent to them prior to the meeting, which is within a forty-eight-hour notice period. Additionally, the employee has a right to representation, which can include a trade union representative or another Stonegate employee. When conducting a disciplinary meeting we start by introducing the meeting, explain the structure of the meeting, and make sure the employee knows the allegations and understands the potential outcomes of the meeting. Once introducing the meeting has been completed, we take time to understand more about the employee, i.e., training needs, length of service and job roles and this leads on to understanding why this has happened. After this we can make our decision, depending on the circumstances of the incident, this can be a first written warning, first and final written warning or dismissal.