B/8.5 Disciplinary action for misconduct and serious misconduct - senior staff
This policy outlines the procedures to be used in cases where an allegation(s) of misconduct/serious misconduct is made against a senior staff member.
The policy aims to provide a fair and just process by which an allegation(s) of misconduct/serious misconduct may be investigated and determined by the Vice-Chancellor.
This policy, and the associated procedures, applies to senior staff members employed on an ongoing or fixed-term appointment at classification levels SSG1 to SSG6 inclusive. It excludes those senior staff on probation and those employed on a casual basis.
Before the Vice-Chancellor takes disciplinary action against a staff member for conduct amounting to misconduct or serious misconduct, the Vice-Chancellor must take the steps in this policy except that, where a matter which may involve misconduct or serious misconduct has been dealt with in good faith as if it were a case of unsatisfactory performance under the Managing Unsatisfactory Performance - Senior Staff Policy ( B/9.5 ), the procedures in this policy are not required.
" Misconduct " means conduct that is unsatisfactory but which is not so serious as to justify the possibility of termination of employment.
" Serious Misconduct " is misconduct of a serious and wilful nature and is usually conduct of a type that would make it unreasonable to require the University to continue employment of the staff member concerned (Section CM (1)(c) of the Workplace Relations Act 1996).
Conduct which may constitute serious misconduct includes, but is not limited to, such things as:
" Misconduct Investigation Committee " is the Committee established by the Vice-Chancellor to investigate allegation(s) of misconduct and serious misconduct. The Misconduct Investigation Committee will comprise:
" Disciplinary Action " means action by the University to discipline a staff member and may include:
" Representative " means:
and in either case, excludes a person who is currently practising as a solicitor or barrister.
The principles which underlie this policy are as follows:
(a) Senior staff have a responsibility to ensure their conduct is of the highest ethical standard, consistent with the University's Code of Conduct, Statutes and policies.
(b) The University has a responsibility to support the conduct referred to in paragraph (a) and to assist staff in identifying and resolving ethical issues which may arise in the performance of their duties.
(c) In situations where allegation(s) of misconduct/serious misconduct are made against a staff member, it is reasonable for the University to investigate the allegation(s) and, where appropriate, to take disciplinary action, including, in the case of serious misconduct, termination of employment.
(d) Procedures for dealing with allegations of misconduct/serious misconduct should be fair, observe principles of natural justice and should be conducted expeditiously allowing sufficient time for the staff member to understand, consider and respond to the allegation(s).
Despite any reference to the Vice-Chancellor throughout this policy, the Vice-Chancellor may, at any time, delegate his/her roles or obligations under this policy to another senior officer of the University. The Vice-Chancellor may not delegate his/her role to a senior officer who is directly involved in the matter which is the subject of the procedures governed by this policy, or to a senior officer who the Vice-Chancellor intends to nominate as a member of a committee established under these procedures.
There are four key phases in the procedures for managing allegations of misconduct/serious misconduct and the determination of disciplinary action:
There are exit points from the procedures at the end of Phase 2, or the matter may continue to Phase 3, investigation by the Misconduct Investigation Committee.
The procedures provide the Vice-Chancellor with the authority to determine whether or not misconduct/serious misconduct has occurred, whether or not to impose disciplinary action and, if so, what that action will be.
Under the procedures, where the allegation(s) is wholly or partly denied by the staff member, or where the staff member has not responded to the allegation(s), the Vice-Chancellor may refer the matter to the Misconduct Investigation Committee for investigation and provision of a report to the Vice-Chancellor. Where referral of the matter to the Misconduct Investigation Committee occurs, final determination of the matter remains with the Vice-Chancellor.
(a) Any allegation of misconduct or serious misconduct will be considered by the Vice-Chancellor. If he/she believes such allegation(s) warrant further investigation, the Vice-Chancellor will:
(b) At the time of notifying the staff member in accordance with section (a) above, if the Vice-Chancellor is of the view that the alleged conduct is such that it would be unreasonable to require the University to continue the staff member's attendance at work pending investigation of the allegation(s) in accordance with the procedures outlined in this policy, he/she may suspend the staff member with or without pay.
However, where suspension without pay occurs:
(c) During any period of suspension, the staff member may be excluded from the University. An exception to this is that the staff member will be permitted reasonable access to the University for the preparation of his/her case and to collect personal property.
(a) If each of the allegation(s) made against the staff member is denied by the staff member, and the Vice-Chancellor is of the view that there has been no misconduct or serious misconduct, he/she will immediately advise the staff member in writing and may, at the request of the staff member, publish the advice in an appropriate manner.
(b) If one or more of the allegation(s) are admitted by the staff member and the Vice-Chancellor is of the view that the conduct constitutes misconduct or serious misconduct, the Vice-Chancellor will advise the staff member in writing of the decision and the operative date and details of the disciplinary action to be taken.
(c) If each of the allegation(s) is wholly or partly denied, or if the staff member has not responded to the allegation(s), the Vice-Chancellor may:
(a) Where a matter is referred to the Misconduct Investigation Committee for investigation:
(b) The Misconduct Investigation Committee shall conduct its proceedings consistent with the principles of natural justice and procedural fairness and shall:
The Misconduct Investigation Committee will provide the Vice-Chancellor with a written report containing a finding. The Committee's report will indicate whether any mitigating circumstances are evident and, whether or not, in the Committee's view, the allegation(s) have been established on the balance of probabilities. (Where the view of the Committee is not unanimous, the minority view holder shall include in the report to the Vice-Chancellor the reasons for his/her view).
Following consideration of the report from the Misconduct Investigation Committee (which will not be binding on the Vice-Chancellor), the Vice-Chancellor shall determine whether or not misconduct or serious misconduct has occurred.
(a) Where the Vice-Chancellor determines that misconduct or serious misconduct has occurred, the Vice-Chancellor shall decide whether or not to impose disciplinary action and, if so, what that disciplinary action will be.
The Vice-Chancellor shall communicate his/her decision to the staff member in writing.
(b) Where the decision is that the misconduct or serious misconduct has not occurred the Vice-Chancellor may, at the request of the staff member, publish the decision in an appropriate manner.
(c) A decision not to impose disciplinary action where there has been misconduct or serious misconduct can not be construed as an admission that there was no conduct justifying a previous decision to suspend without pay and any payment for lost salary during a period of suspension shall be at the Vice-Chancellor's discretion.
(d) Where a staff member has been suspended without pay pending the decision of the Vice-Chancellor, then any lost income will be reimbursed if there was no misconduct or serious misconduct.
(e) All actions of the Vice-Chancellor under these procedures will be final, except that nothing in these procedures will be construed as excluding the jurisdiction of any court or tribunal which, but for these procedures, would be competent to deal with the matter.
MOPP B/8.1 QUT Staff Code of Conduct
MOPP B/8.3 Public interest disclosure management
MOPP B/9.5 Managing unsatisfactory performance - Senior Staff
MOPP D/2.6 QUT Code of Conduct for Research