We sincerely hope never to have a situation where we need a disciplinary procedure. But just in case we do, here it is…

Our disciplinary procedure is designed to support our code of conduct and create an orderly and fair working environment for all. It also helps to maintain consistency should we have to deal with allegations of misconduct or negligence. It applies to all employees and applies to conduct during, and outside of, working hours when on company business.  It does not form part of your contract of employment and may be amended from time to time.  Any, and all, personal data used in conjunction with this policy shall be collected, held, and processed in accordance with our ‘Data Protection Policy.’

Minor Issues

We aim to resolve all minor issues of conduct informally. If you’re found to be behaving in a manner that’s disruptive, offensive, unprofessional, or that goes against Wholegrain policies, your Line Manager will sit down with you and have a chat to ensure it never happens again. To ensure we are all clear on what needs to be done differently going forward, they’ll document the changes that are necessary to bring about the required improvements and share these with you. The same goes for issues involving poor performance, albeit this would be resolved via the Capability and Performance Policy.  We appreciate that we’re all human and therefore all capable of mistakes. So we aim to talk things through on an informal basis where it is appropriate to do so.

If you keep repeating the same conduct or the behaviour is considered to be too serious or deliberate to be classed as minor, then we’ll move onto the formal disciplinary procedure which commences with a preliminary investigation to establish the facts of the alleged misconduct.

Preliminary Investigation

Where reasonably possible, the preliminary investigation will start within three working days of the misconduct issue occurring and will be conducted by your Line Manager or another Manager at Wholegrain.  If you would like a companion to join you at this meeting then that’s fine with us.  Notes will be taken at the meeting and relevant records and documents will be gathered as part of this process. Likewise if there are witnesses to the alleged misconduct then we will speak to them too.  

In the event that serious misconduct is being investigated, then you might be suspended from work on full pay and benefits (see below) for the duration of the investigation.  Ideally investigations are completed within 14 working days however, if this needs extending then we’ll keep you informed as we appreciate it’s a worrying time.

Disciplinary Hearing

If following the completion of the investigation it is deemed that there is a case to be heard, we’ll give you a minimum of 72 hours written notice of the disciplinary hearing.  We’ll detail the alleged misconduct that has resulted in this situation and we’ll set out the possible consequences of it.  This will help you to prepare for the hearing and you can also decide whether you wish to bring either a colleague or registered trade union rep with you for support. Please let us know if you’re bringing somebody with you and if you have any documentation (such as witness statements) you’d like us to see and consider before the hearing.  Likewise if you wish to call a witness to come into the hearing to support your point of view then please let us know that too. Your companion is welcome to input into the hearing however, is not permitted to answer questions on your behalf or prevent you or us from explaining a point of view.  

The disciplinary hearing will be chaired by a Manager with either another Manager, or the HR Consultant, in attendance. We’ll discuss all the documentation and listen carefully to your point of view. Then we’ll adjourn to make a decision and reconvene to deliver it to you. This will be followed up in writing within a week of the hearing which will also detail your right to appeal, in the event that you think the decision that we have come to is too severe or because there is new evidence which would bear on the fairness of the original decision.  If we need to adjourn the hearing for longer, to conduct further investigation or obtain clarification on something, then we will let you know and give you an indication of when the hearing can be reconvened. 

If for some reason you, or your companion, is unable to attend the hearing then we will rearrange it for some time in the following five working days.  If you decide not to attend the hearing then a decision may be made in your absence and on the available information.

Possible Outcomes of a Disciplinary Hearing

There are various outcomes of a disciplinary hearing, depending on the severity of the misconduct. 

Stage One: First written warning. If there are no active written warnings on your record, you could be issued with a first written warning. This will state the reason for the warning, give you a deadline for improvement (usually between one and three months) and the support that is available to you during this period. A first written warning is usually active on your employment record for six months.

Stage Two: Final written warning. If you’ve failed to improve following a first written warning or there’s been a further incident of misconduct, we could issue you with a final written warning. In more serious cases of misconduct, we could jump straight to this stage. We’ll outline the reason for the warning, any improvements you need to make, and it will remain active on your employment record for one year.

Stage Three: Dismissal. If you have an active final written warning on your record and you’ve failed to improve or there has been a further incident of misconduct, you could be dismissed. You could also be dismissed outright in case of gross misconduct, which is outlined below. Notice of dismissal may be given to take effect immediately (in the case of gross misconduct), or at the end of a period of notice, without prejudice to your right of appeal.  In such circumstances, we might put you on gardening leave whilst you are serving your notice period.

Gross Misconduct

In the event that you do something that causes significant harm to the company, a client, an individual team member or the Wholegrain team as a whole, then you could be dismissed without warning and without payment in lieu of notice.

Examples of gross misconduct include (but are not limited to):

  • Serious misuse of Wholegrain property or name;
  • Providing misleading or deceptive information about Wholegrain business;
  • Theft, fraud, unauthorised use of Wholegrain property;
  • Bullying or physical violence;
  • Discrimination or harassment;
  • Bringing our name into disrepute;
  • Serious incapability, or attending work whilst under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs;
  • Serious insubordination;
  • Falsification of company records or information provided by you to the company; 
  • Absence from duty without authorisation or valid clause;
  • Serious breach of client regulations, confidentiality or any other serious and deliberate conduct that damages the company’s relationship with a client or is likely to;
  • Disclosure of confidential information about the company, our employees, contractors, clients, suppliers or business partners;
  • Deliberate or negligent conduct that causes a serious risk to health and safety of self and others;
  • Serious infringement of company policies; 
  • Causing loss, damage or injury through serious negligence;
  • Taking part in activities which result in adverse publicity to Wholegrain or which cause the company to lose faith in your integrity. 

Suspension on full pay

It may be necessary, whilst the investigation is progressing, to suspend you on full pay and contractual benefits. Suspension may occur at any time and is without prejudice.  Whilst it is a neutral act and not one we take lightly, it is not a disciplinary penalty and does not in any way indicate a pre-determined outcome.  Whilst suspended, please do not contact clients or colleagues. If you need to speak to or contact your Line Manager then that is absolutely fine.   If you have holiday booked during the suspension period then we will honour that. If you need to take further holiday, then let us know and we will see if such can be accommodated without unnecessarily extending the suspension and investigation process. 

Demotion/Loss of Seniority/Transfer/Reduction of Pay

In addition to, or instead of, the other outcomes detailed above, we may decide to either temporarily or permanently, demote or transfer you to another role. This may also incorporate a reduction in salary and/or benefits and will usually only be taken as a result of the abuse of a position of responsibility. Before taking such action we will discuss the reasons for this with you and the implications of doing so. 


In the event that you are issued with a disciplinary warning, you will be advised in writing of your right to appeal it.  Appeal hearings are conducted by two Managers (or one if the HR Consultant is present) who have had no prior involvement at either investigation or disciplinary hearing stage.  Appeals are normally organised within 7 days of the receipt of an appeal with a minimum of 72 hours’ notice being given of the hearing.  You are welcome to be accompanied at the hearing by either a colleague or registered trade union representative and like with the disciplinary hearing, their input is welcome albeit they are not permitted to answer questions on your behalf or negatively impact the progress of the hearing. 

The purpose of the appeal hearing is for the appeal Manager to understand any new evidence or additional information that was not considered at the disciplinary hearing and to decide if that alters the original sanction imposed.  You’ll need to submit any new evidence to the appeal Manager prior to the hearing.  The outcome of the appeal hearing will either uphold the disciplinary penalty or overturn the findings of the disciplinary hearing.  There may also be some recommendations that flow from it too.  We’ll confirm the outcome of the hearing as soon as we can and this decision will be final. 

Reasonable adjustments

If you, your companion or a witness, require any reasonable adjustment(s) to be taken into consideration at any stage of this procedure due to disability, then please let us know as soon as you can so that appropriate support can be given.    


In the event that you raise a grievance during the disciplinary process then we may temporarily suspend the disciplinary process in order to deal with the issues that have been raised. Alternatively we may decide that is ok for both grievance and disciplinary cases to be dealt with concurrently.  Either way, we’ll let you know. 


We’ll take notes at the investigation, disciplinary and appeal stages which will be shared with you.   We won’t be recording any of the meetings and ask that you do not do so either, covertly or otherwise.   If a disciplinary warning is applied then it will be placed on your employment file, however, will be disregarded once the warning has expired.