This policy determines the procedures to be followed when standards of conduct give rise to problems that cannot be resolved by advice and encouragement, training, or increased support.
- Policy principles
- Appendix A: Misconduct and gross misconduct
- Appendix B: Managing a disciplinary investigation
- Appendix C: Procedure for disciplinary hearing
- Appendix D: Levels of disciplinary action
- Appendix E: Appeals procedure
ISB expects satisfactory standards of behavior, conduct, and attendance from all its ISB members and community members. This policy determines the procedures to be followed when standards of conduct give rise to problems that cannot be resolved by advice and encouragement, training, or increased support.
This policy applies to all ISB members and community members.
3.1 In this policy, “associates” include formal members of the ISB (including the Executive Committee (EC)) and community members who participate in ISB activities, including but not limited to the ISB conferences, meetings or webinars, the ISB email distribution list and Slack channels.
3.2 In this policy, “parties” refers to the associate against whom the disciplinary action is being considered and the EC member who initiates the procedure.
4. Policy principles
4.1 Fairness: This procedure should be applied consistently, promptly, impartially, reasonably, and without discrimination.
4.2 Confidentiality: Information relating to an allegation of misconduct should only be divulged to any parties directly involved in the disciplinary process and must remain strictly confidential to those people.
4.3 Natural justice: At every formal stage of the disciplinary procedure, the associate will be advised of the nature of the complaint in writing and will be allowed to state their case before a decision is made. Where a warning is given, the associate will be provided with appropriate support to improve their conduct.
4.4 Informal Action: Informal action should be used wherever possible and appropriate to resolve conduct or behavior before formal disciplinary action is considered.
4.5 Investigation: No disciplinary action should be taken (i.e. disciplinary hearing arranged) against an associate until the case has been fully investigated.
4.6 Removal: No associate should have membership revoked or be removed from the mailing list and/or Slack for a first breach of discipline except in the case of gross misconduct.
4.7 Right of Appeal: An associate has a right to appeal against any formal disciplinary sanction. Sanctions, including removal from membership, mailing list or Slack or warnings issued as a result of procedures, will remain in place pending the outcome of any appeal.
4.8 Discipline and Grievance: Any concerns that an associate has regarding disciplinary action being taken against them should be raised as part of their response to the disciplinary action and will normally be considered within this procedure.
4.9 Recordings: Audio/Visual recordings of the proceedings by the associate are not acceptable at any stage of the disciplinary procedure and will not be admissible within this process unless agreed as a reasonable adaptation.
4.10 Legal advice: If required the ISB EC may seek professional legal advice and the legal advisor may be asked to attend the disciplinary hearing and/or appeal.
Informal Action (applies to ISB members and ISB community members)
The ISB EC Chair should be notified if an ISB associate has not met ISB standards of conduct. At which point the following course of action should be taken:
5.1 As part of the membership and community engagement process, the EC should bring to the attention of the associates the standards required and any incidences of failure to meet those standards. Cases of minor misconduct of the associate should be dealt with by the ISB EC Chair informally and without delay.
5.2 A one-to-one confidential discussion via email or via conference call should be held between the ISB EC Chair and the associate to ensure that the associate understands the nature of any concerns. This discussion should enable the ISB EC Chair to provide constructive feedback and the associate to express views on the issue.
5.3 The ISB EC Chair should ascertain whether any alleged failure to meet required standards or breach of policy or procedure is due to misconduct, capability or other reasons when determining the appropriate approach to take.
5.4 Where the need for improvement is identified, the ISB EC Chairshould explain to the associate what needs to be done, how the conduct will be reviewed in a given period, and the nature of any support available.
5.5 Brief confidential notes of this meeting, including details of any required actions or improvements, should be kept by the ISB EC Chair, and a copy sent to the associate.
5.6 It is important that both parties understand that informal action is not part of the formal disciplinary procedure.
Formal Disciplinary Action (applies to ISB members only)
5.7 Where informal action does not lead to improved behavior or where the alleged misconduct is more serious so that informal action is considered inappropriate, formal action should be initiated. This entails appointing an Investigating Manager to investigate the facts of the allegation/complaint and provide a report, setting up a Disciplinary Hearing Panel to review the misconduct case and, potentially, removal of the associate from the ISB membership. Unless there is a conflict of interests, the ISB EC Chair will usually be responsible for appointing the Investigating Manager and setting up a Hearing Panel.
5.8 Definition of what could constitute misconduct and examples of potential offenses of gross misconduct, either of which may lead to formal action, can be found in Appendix A.
Removal from communication platforms (applies to ISB members and ISB community members)
5.9 There may be occasions when it is necessary to permanently remove an associate from ISB communication or social media platforms such as ISB email list, Slack, or Twitter. Careful consideration must be given before a decision to remove is taken. Reasonable grounds for removal include but are not limited to, an event where an associate accused has posted inappropriate content on Slack, Twitter, Mastodon via the email distribution list or verbally at a conference or meeting; or when there is a potential risk to other associates or ISB property. The fact and conditions of the removal should be confirmed via email to the associate at the earliest opportunity.
5.10 The decision to remove an associate will be agreed upon by the Executive Committee.
Formal Disciplinary Hearing (applies to ISB members only)
5.11 Where, following receipt of an investigation report, the ISB EC Chair decides that there is a case to answer to, the ISB EC Chair should establish a disciplinary hearing. The process for establishing and conducting a disciplinary hearing can be found in Appendix C.
5.12 If a hearing decides that removal from the ISB membership is justified, a sanction should be awarded from the list that can be found in Appendix D.
An associate has the right to appeal against any formal disciplinary sanctions issued. The Appeals procedure can be found outlined in Appendix E.
Appendix A: Misconduct and Gross Misconduct
Misconduct is any type of behavior or conduct that breaches the ISB Code of Conduct, including, but not limited to issues such as bullying and harassment, disrespect, discrimination, and non-compliance with research and ethical guidelines.
Minor offenses or breaches should be dealt with informally. More serious offenses should be dealt with formally. Persistent offenses of misconduct will lead to removal from the ISB membership and communications.
Gross misconduct is misconduct of such a serious nature that it fundamentally breaches the relationship between the associate and the organization. If an associate commits an act of gross misconduct, the ISB EC Chair will be entitled to remove the associate summarily.
Examples of Gross Misconduct that may lead to removal include but are not limited to:
- theft, fraud or deliberate falsification of records or ISB documents;
- serious or gross negligence resulting in unacceptable loss, damage or injury;
- intentional serious breach of ISB policy or Code of Conduct;
- assault or attempted assault of a physical or sexual nature;
- malicious damage to ISB social media platforms;
- intentional misuse of confidential information;
- fraudulent misuse of ISB’s name;
- unauthorized entry to computer records or inappropriate use of ISB data, including social media;
- bringing ISB into serious disrepute
Appendix B: Managing a disciplinary investigation
B1. Initiating an Investigation
B1.1. Where it is suspected or alleged that an associate has acted in a way that could lead to formal disciplinary action being taken, the ISB EC Chair or a member of the EC should be appointed as the Investigating Manager to investigate the facts of the allegation/complaint. The Investigating Manager must have confirmed that they have no conflict of interest with either the associate or the accuser.
B1.2 The nature and extent of the investigation will depend on the seriousness of the concerns. The investigation must be sufficiently prioritized so that the report is completed promptly, while maintaining sufficient rigor. If there is no disagreement concerning the facts of the case because the associate admits misconduct, further investigation may not be necessary before a disciplinary hearing is arranged.
B2. Conducting an Investigation
B2.1 The Investigating Manager’s role is to establish the facts of the alleged misconduct case so that it can be determined whether there is a disciplinary case to answer. They should investigate all aspects of the allegation.
B2.2 An associate should be informed promptly, normally within five working days, in writing by the Investigating Manager that an investigation is being undertaken and given the opportunity to respond to the allegation. As part of the investigation, the associate who is the subject of the allegation will normally be invited to an investigatory interview. The associate must be notified of the meeting, so they have reasonable time to prepare for it. The investigation will also include the collation of evidence for a possible hearing, taking statements from and usually meeting with relevant parties, including, where appropriate, any witnesses to the alleged incident(s) of misconduct. Any witness to the alleged misconduct may be required to make a signed and dated written statement as soon as possible after the investigation meeting.
B2.3 The Investigating Manager will be accompanied by a member of the ISB Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) committee at such meeting(s) to provide advice and guidance. The associate concerned may be accompanied at such meeting(s) by a companion. Witnesses do not have the right to be accompanied at these meetings as they are not the subject of the investigation.
B2.4 Once the investigation has been completed, the Investigating Manager will prepare a report on the findings of their investigation for the attention of the ISB EC. There may be exceptional circumstances where the identity of the person making the complaint will not be revealed as part of the investigation report i.e. where someone’s welfare may be put at risk.
B2.5 The ISB EC will then meet to determine whether or not a disciplinary hearing is required based upon the findings of the investigation. If it is agreed that no disciplinary hearing is required, the associate should be advised accordingly. Where the investigation concludes that there is a potential case to answer, a formal disciplinary hearing should be convened. If the ISB EC considers that it is not appropriate to convene a formal disciplinary hearing, but that informal advice or guidance is appropriate, any resulting discussion should take place under the informal procedure.
Appendix C: Procedure for Disciplinary Hearing
C1. Procedure for Establishing and Running a Disciplinary Hearing
C1.1 The disciplinary hearing will be undertaken by the disciplinary hearing panel. If the charge against the associate could result in removal/suspension, the disciplinary hearing panel will consist of two members of the ISB EC and one member of the ISB EDI committee appointed by the ISB EC Chair. All members of the disciplinary hearing panel must have confirmed that they have no conflict of interest with either the associate or the accuser. The disciplinary hearing panel would normally include the ISB EC Chair. The associate will be notified of the names of the disciplinary hearing panel members at least 10 days before the date fixed for the disciplinary hearing.
C1.2 An approximate timeframe over which the procedure should run is set out below.
|The disciplinary hearing panel Chair notifies the associate in writing that they are requested to attend a disciplinary hearing and provides a list of the names of the panel members. Associate provided with details of the alleged disciplinary offense.||No later than 10 working days before the date of the hearing|
|Associate raises any objections to the disciplinary hearing panel members. If new disciplinary hearing panel members are required the date of the hearing may be changed.||No later than 5 working days before the date of the hearing|
|Associate requests witnesses to be called at the hearing. Associate is responsible for organizing their own witnesses’ statements.||No later than 8 working days before the date of the hearing.|
|All written submissions, including witness statements, should be submitted to the disciplinary hearing panel Chair.||No later than 7 working days before the date of the hearing or in line with the deadline agreed by both parties.|
|Disciplinary hearing panel Chair approves requested witnesses and/or identifies additional panel witnesses.||No later than 6 working days before the date of the hearing|
|Disciplinary hearing panel Chair invites required witnesses to the hearing, providing a copy of this procedure.||No later than 5 working days before the date of the hearing|
|Both parties and all panel members are provided with copies of all written submissions received||No later than 5 working days before the date of the hearing or in line with deadline agreed by both parties|
|Disciplinary hearing panel Chair notifies associate orally of the outcome of disciplinary hearing.||Within one working day of the decision.|
|Disciplinary hearing panel Chair notifies associate of the outcome of disciplinary hearing in writing and informs associate of right of appeal||No later than 5 working days after decision made|
C2. Arranging the Hearing
C2.1 If an associate subject to the disciplinary process objects to the composition of the panel they should make that objection known to the disciplinary hearing panel Chair at the earliest opportunity who will consider the objection and amend panel membership if appropriate.
C2.2 Before the hearing takes place the associate should be:
a. given a minimum of ten working days advance notice of the date, time and location of the hearing in writing;
b. provided at the same time, with sufficient details of the charge against them and its possible consequences (including risk of removal, where appropriate) to enable her/him to prepare a response to the charge at the hearing;
c. advised of their rights to be accompanied at the hearing by a companion;
d. provided with names of any witnesses, written copies of evidence and all relevant documentation gathered in relation to the alleged misconduct no less than five working days in advance of the hearing or in line with a deadline agreed by both parties.
C2.3 The associate should inform the disciplinary hearing panel Chair in writing of the names of any witnesses they would wish to call with brief reasons for each request at least eight working days in advance of the hearing. They should provide any written statements or documentary evidence that they have not already provided as part of the investigation, to the disciplinary hearing panel Chair, at least seven working days in advance of the hearing, unless agreed otherwise by both parties.
C2.4 The disciplinary hearing panel Chair will notify any requested witnesses of the date/venue of the Hearing and assist with their release to attend the hearing if required. (Witnesses will not have the right to be accompanied by a companion). The disciplinary hearing panel Chair is entitled to query the purpose of any witness being called and has the right to limit the number of witnesses called, where they believe there will be no additional value or insight added by their presence. The disciplinary hearing panel Chair may also call additional witnesses that can give insight or provide expert evidence.
C2.5 Where it is not practical for witnesses to attend, the disciplinary hearing panel Chair may continue to proceed with a hearing if they are of the view that the lack of verbal evidence from that witness will not affect the outcome of the hearing.
C2.6 The associate and their companion must make every effort to attend the hearing. If the chosen companion is not available at the time proposed for the meeting, the associate has the right to request that the meeting be postponed and to suggest an alternative time within five working days of the original hearing date. If the associate fails to attend for reasons outside of their control e.g. sickness, another suitable date may be proposed for the hearing. If an associate fails to attend a scheduled disciplinary hearing on two occasions without good reason, the hearing shall proceed in their absence and a decision will be made on the evidence available.
C3. Disciplinary Hearing
C3.1 The disciplinary hearing panel Chair must ensure equal treatment of all parties and that all aspects of the case are considered. During the hearing, the disciplinary hearing panel Chair may seek further clarification of the written submissions from any parties they feel are necessary or adjourn the hearing at any time they think appropriate.
C3.2 The associate and any companion should be present throughout the hearing. The companion shall have an opportunity to address the hearing, put and sum up the associate’s case, respond on behalf of the associate to any views expressed at the meeting, and confer with the associate during the hearing. The companion does not have the right to answer questions on the associate’s behalf, address the hearing if the associate does not wish it, or prevent ISB from explaining their case.
C3.3 The Investigating Manager will normally be required to attend the hearing in order to present their report and outline evidence against the associate. They may also present any witnesses. The associate (or their companion) will be able to present their case in response to the charge including calling any witnesses that the disciplinary hearing panel Chair has agreed can be presented (see para. 2.5). Both parties shall have the right to question the other party’s witnesses and raise any issues they wish to be considered. Panel members will be able to question all parties.
C3.4 Notes will be taken of all disciplinary hearings. These should be made available to all parties as soon as possible after the hearing. Any factual inaccuracies of notes should be raised with the disciplinary hearing panel Chair within five working days of receipt.
C4.1After the hearing, the disciplinary hearing panel should consider the evidence in private, undertaking any further investigation where necessary, before deciding whether or not the allegations are upheld. Each allegation must be considered separately. Where the facts of the case have been in dispute and a full investigation has been conducted, there must be a ‘reasonably held belief on the grounds of probability’ that the associate committed an act of misconduct, for a sanction to be justified. The disciplinary hearing panel will then consider any mitigation put forward and, taking into account any existing ‘live’ warnings, decide what level of disciplinary action is appropriate from the list of sanctions in Appendix D.
C5. Notification of Outcome
C5.1 The disciplinary hearing panel Chair should advise the associate orally of the decision within one working day of it being made. Written confirmation with full reasoning for the decision will be provided to the associate no later than five working days after the decision is made.
C5.2 If it is decided that disciplinary action will be taken, the written confirmation of the outcome should include:-
- The nature of the misconduct.
- The disciplinary sanction awarded including the level of any warning given.
- The reasons why the disciplinary action was taken.
- The consequences of any further failure to adhere to acceptable standards of conduct. In cases where a final written warning is given it should be made clear that further formal disciplinary action may result in removal.
- The provision of any support, counseling or corrective action that is required and if not immediate, the time period within which improvement will be expected.
- The time period within which the warning will be considered to have lapsed.
- The fact that a record of warnings will be kept.
- The right of appeal.
C6. Procedure for Disciplinary Hearing
C6.1 The order of the hearing should be in line with the following:
- The disciplinary hearing panel Chair introduces those present and outlines the complaints/charges against the associate.
- The Investigating Manager presents the evidence supporting the charges against the associate and presents any witnesses.
- The disciplinary hearing panel member(s) and then the associate (or their chosen companion) have the opportunity to ask questions of the Investigating Manager and witnesses and raise points about information provided by them.
- The associate (or their companion) sets out his/her case in response to the charges and presents any witnesses.
- The disciplinary hearing panel member(s) and the Investigating Manager have the opportunity to ask questions of the associate or their witnesses and raise points about information provided by them.
- The disciplinary hearing panel members(s) ask(s) any final questions of the associate or Investigating Manager. Witnesses may exceptionally be recalled at this stage.
- The Investigating Manager and then the associate (or their companion) have the opportunity to sum up their case and make any final comments. No new evidence should be introduced at this point.
- The disciplinary hearing panel Chair summarizes the key points made and closes the hearing*. They should advise the associate when they might reasonably expect a decision.
- The Pandisciplinary hearing panel Chair considers whether allegations are substantiated. They then consider any mitigation put forward. On combining the two aspects they will decide what, if any disciplinary action is necessary.
*If the disciplinary hearing panel believes that further investigation of points raised at the meeting is needed before a decision can be made, the disciplinary hearing panel Chair can adjourn the hearing to allow this to take place and if required can re-convene the hearing at a later date.
Appendix D: Levels of Disciplinary Action
D1 Disciplinary action
Disciplinary action can range from a Formal Oral Warning to Removal dependent upon the gravity of the case and/or the ongoing nature of misconduct. Levels of disciplinary action are:
D1.1 Formal Oral Warning: This should normally be issued if:
- it is considered that the conduct of an associate has fallen below an acceptable standard and the associate has committed a minor offense.
Where an oral warning is issued this will be recorded in writing by the ISB EC Chair. A formal oral warning will normally lapse 6 months after issue.
D1.2 Written Warning
This should normally be issued if:
- there is no improvement in conduct about which the associate has previously been warned; or
- another instance of misconduct has occurred during the currency of a previous warning; or
- misconduct is confirmed which is more serious than justifying an oral warning.
Where a written warning is issued to the associate it will normally lapse 12 months after issue.
D1.3 Final Written Warning
This should normally be issued if:
- a written warning has already been issued and another instance of misconduct has occurred while it is current; or
- there is no improvement in the conduct about which the associate has previously been warned; or
- the conduct is of such seriousness that a Formal Oral Warning or Written Warning are not appropriate but would not justify removal.
Where a Final Written Warning is issued to the associate it will normally lapse 18 months after issue.
This will normally occur if:
- an allegation of Gross Misconduct is found to be proven; or
- there is no improvement in the conduct within the specified period which has been the subject of a Final Written Warning; or
- another instance of misconduct has occurred during the currency of a previous warning and a final written warning has already been issued.
When an associate is dismissed they will receive a written statement of the reasons for this, the date on which this will apply, payment of any outstanding annual leave and notification of the right of appeal. Where removal arises from accumulative misconduct the appropriate period of notice or payment in lieu will also be given.
Should the Hearing Panel considering removal decide that, in light of all the circumstances, removal is not warranted, an alternative to removal may be imposed in the form of extending the period of the existing Final Written Warning for a further 12 months, exceptionally demotion to a lower graded role, disciplinary transfer to another role or loss of seniority.
D2 Gross Misconduct
Some acts termed Gross Misconduct are so serious in themselves or have such serious consequences that they may call for a removal/suspension on the first offense. Any removal/suspension for Gross Misconduct will take immediate effect once the decision has been made and the associate will not be entitled to any notice period regarding the termination of their employment/membership. A list of some examples of gross misconduct is at Appendix A.
D3 Expired Warnings
Disciplinary action taken will normally be disregarded for disciplinary purposes after a warning has expired and a decision to dismiss/suspend cannot be based on an expired warning. There may however be occasions where the existence of such a warning could impact a decision to dismiss/suspend e.g. where an associate’s conduct is satisfactory throughout the period a warning is valid but ceases to be satisfactory very soon thereafter.
Appendix E: Appeals Procedure
E1. Principles Governing Appeals
E1.1 Appeals must be submitted in writing to the ISB EC Chair no later than five working days after receipt of the decision in writing. The formal action as a result of a decision taken under the Procedure will remain in force unless or until it is modified as a result of the appeal.
E1.2 Appeal Hearings may be a review of the disciplinary decision or sanction or a rehearing depending on the grounds of the appeal. associates must be specific about the grounds of an appeal as these will form the agenda for the Appeal Hearing and may determine who should be present. If an appeal is submitted on the basis of seeking a re-hearing this must be clearly stated. Appeals may be raised on grounds including:
- Procedure – a failure to follow Procedure had a material effect on the decision
- The Decision – the evidence did not support the decision reached by the disciplinary hearing panel or disciplinary hearing panel Chair.
- The Penalty – was too severe given the circumstances of the case
- New Evidence – which has come to light and was not available at the hearing.
E1.3 Appeals will be heard by a panel of two members of the ISB EC, who will not previously have been involved in the case, and one member of the ISB EDI committee. They will be appointed by the ISB EC Chair and must have confirmed that they have no conflict of interest with either the associate or the accuser. The associate will be notified of the names of the Appeal panel members at least 10 days before the date fixed for the Appeal.
E1.4 Any objections to the panel members appointed to hear the Appeal should be made to the ISB EC Chair, outlining reasons for the objection within three working days of notification.
E1.5 Arrangements will be made for appeals to be heard as soon after an appeal has been lodged as is reasonably practicable.
E1.6 The associate should be given a minimum of ten working days’ advance notice of the date fixed for their Appeal.
E1.7 The associate has the right to be accompanied to the Hearing by a companion. The associate may wish to call and present witnesses at the Hearing. If the associate wishes to do this, they should inform the Chair of the Appeal Panel in writing of an intention to do so. This written notice should be received by Chair of the Appeal Panel at least seven working days ahead of the scheduled hearing date and include the names of any proposed witnesses to be called along with a brief explanation as to their relevance with regards to the matters to be considered by the Appeal Hearing. The Chair of the Appeal Panel is entitled to query the purpose of any witness being called and may restrict the number permitted, where in their view there will be no additional value or insight added by their presence.
E2. Appeal Hearing Procedure
E2.1 At the Appeal Hearing the Chair of the Appeal Panel will explain the purpose of the meeting. They will outline the process to be followed at the Hearing, how it will be conducted and the actions open to the Appeal Panel depending upon the evidence they hear. The ISB EC Chair, or the disciplinary hearing panel Chair, who made the decision against which the appeal is being heard should, if requested, attend the Appeal Hearing and may outline the reasoning behind the original decision.
E2.2 The associate will be asked to explain the grounds of appeal including any new matters to be introduced. The appeal hearing will take into account any relevant new evidence which either party may present and consider its significance with regards to the sanction imposed at the original Hearing. If new witnesses are called, both parties and the Appeal Panel will have an opportunity to question them. At the end of the Hearing, the associate will have an opportunity to summarize the key issues in the case. At the end of the Hearing once all of the relevant issues have been aired sufficiently, the Chair of the Appeal Panel will (after an appropriate adjournment) briefly summarize the findings of the Appeal Panel and outline its conclusions.
E2.3 The outcomes possible from an appeal are:
- The Appeal is not upheld and the formal action or sanction of the original Hearing stands unchanged;
- The Appeal is not upheld but the Appeal Panel imposes a lesser sanction, for example a shortening of the period for which an extended Formal Warning remains ‘live’;
- The Appeal is upheld and the sanction imposed by the original Hearing is no longer applied.
E3.1 The Appeal Hearing decision will be made carefully and without undue delay. It will usually be conveyed verbally to the associate within a maximum of one working day of the Hearing. A decision will be made to either:
- Uphold the original disciplinary decision and sanction awarded;
- Uphold the appeal and confirm that the disciplinary action will be removed;
- Confirm that misconduct has occurred but reduce the level of disciplinary sanction.
E3.2 The outcome of the Appeal Hearing should be confirmed in writing to the associate by the Chair of the Appeal Panel no later than five working days after the decision has been conveyed verbally. Notes of the Appeal Hearing can be made available if a request is made to ISB EC Chair by the associate no later than ten working days after the written decision of the Appeal Panel has been issued.
E3.3 If an appeal against removal/suspension is upheld, the associate shall be paid in full for the period from the date of removal and continuity of service will be maintained.
E3.4 The decision of the Appeal Panel is final.