Grievance and disciplinary procedures
It is the intention of ARDS and all its Member Schools to treat licensed Instructors fairly and equitably, provide a safe and pleasant working environment and create opportunities for personal and professional development. Instructors, for their part, are expected to act in the best interests of the School, provide their services in a conscientious and professional manner, and recognise the necessity to provide excellent customer service and observe all Health & Safety regulations.
The Grievance and Disciplinary procedures are designed to help both Instructors and Schools deal with problems in a fair, open and non-prejudicial way to resolve any disputes as swiftly as possible and at the earliest possible stage.
It must be clearly understood that Schools are under no obligation to offer work to self-employed instructors and self-employed instructors are under no obligation to accept work offered to them by Schools. Such arrangements as are made must be on an appropriate commercial basis that is satisfactory to both parties and enables them to conduct their ongoing business, and as such they fall outside the grievance and disciplinary procedures. Any failure to honour agreed or contractual supplier / client arrangements may, however, result in a grievance or in disciplinary action.
A grievance is defined as some action that a School or colleague has taken or proposes to take which affects the Instructor and which they consider has been taken for some reason that is not connected with the way they are doing their job.
Instructors are encouraged to raise these issues informally with their Chief Instructor or School Director. This may solve the problem quickly, but if it does not work then the Instructor must formally raise the grievance.
Both parties are expected to behave in a calm, respectful and reasonable manner. Neither party can be expected to sit down with the other if they are behaving in a violent or unreasonable way.
The following three step procedure should be followed:
The Instructor must set out their grievance in writing and send it to their School Director
The School must invite the Instructor to a meeting to discuss the grievance. The meeting should not be unreasonably delayed and the School should examine the reasons for the complaint and what action has been taken in similar cases.
The meeting should be at a reasonable time and location and the Instructor must not unreasonably refuse to attend.
The Instructor has the right to be accompanied by a colleague.
After the meeting the Instructor must be informed in writing of the decision and they can, if they wish, appeal against the decision.
If the Instructor is still dissatisfied, they should indicate to the School that they wish to appeal against the decision or lack of one. The School must then arrange a meeting to discuss the appeal. If possible, a more senior representative of the School than the one who chaired the initial grievance meeting should chair the appeal meeting.
If the size or structure of the School makes this impossible, the appeal must be a complete re-hearing of the complaint. After the meeting the employee must be informed in writing of the decision, making it clear that it is final.
If the grievance does not relate to a specific School but to ARDS or the MSA, the grievance should be set out in writing to the School Director, who will endeavour to deal with it on behalf of and in consultation with the ARDS Board. In such cases, the final appeal will be heard by the Chairman of ARDS and may, if location means that meeting may be impractical or introduce excessive delays, be dealt with by correspondence rather than meeting.
If the grievance relates to licensing procedures or a licensing decision it should follow the standard procedure but may, if unresolved, be referred to the Chairman of ARDS.
The following procedure should be followed where the School proposes to take disciplinary action against an Instructor by way of a warning, demotion, reduction of pay or dismissal.
The School must set out in writing what the Instructor has done or failed to do that may result in disciplinary action. This document must be sent to the Instructor and a meeting arranged to discuss the matter.
The conduct or issues which have led to the decision to have a meeting must be set out to the Instructor prior to the meeting, not presented at the meeting.
The Instructor has the right to be accompanied to the meeting by a colleague.
The meeting must be held at a reasonable time and in a convenient location.
The meeting should be arranged so that the Instructor has had time to think about the allegation or situation. It should not be delayed for too long. The Instructor has a duty to take all reasonable steps to attend.
After the meeting the decision can be made and then communicated to the Instructor and confirmed in writing.
At this time the Instructor must be offered the opportunity to appeal.
If the Instructor wants to appeal they must inform the School and a meeting must then be arranged.
Wherever possible a School manager, more senior than the manager who held the disciplinary hearing, should hold the appeal meeting. If the size of the organisation makes this impossible the appeal must be a complete re-hearing of all the facts and the decision completely re-appraised. Following the appeal meeting the Instructor must be informed in writing of the decision and that it is final.
There may be some circumstances where it is impractical to undertake to above procedure before taking disciplinary action. Such circumstances would include but are not confined to:
• Unacceptable behaviour beyond unpleasantness where there is real reason to fear violence, harassment or vandalism;