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Disregard Of Policies


mrsbat
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Wow I've been asking lots of questions on here lately :o As you may have gathered, work is really rather stressful at the moment!

 

My latest problem is with a member of staff who ignores policies - namely our mobile phone one which is:

 

Mobile Phone Usage Policy

 

The pre-school accepts that employees and volunteers will bring their mobile phones to work. All mobile phones must be stored in the designated box in the buttery or kitchen.

 

Employees are not permitted to make calls/texts during work time unless it is urgent, if it arises that a call needs to be made, staff must not use their phones in the playrooms but should use the foyer or storage room.

 

If an employee needs to be contacted urgently during working hours staff are asked to give the pre-school telephone number to relevant people ensuring that calls are only received when absolutely necessary.

 

Staff are not permitted to use recording equipment on their mobile phones, For example: to take photographs or videos of nursery children.

 

Any one found to be storing pictures on their mobile phone could be liable to disciplinary action.

 

I had to impliment our disciplinary procedure with a member of staff last friday because she had been on her phone before the session started but did not put it in the designated box during the session (we have a sheet to sign when the phone goes in there, if it's not on the premises then staff write "home")

 

So today staff induction sheets have been given out as part of our annual review, it has things such as acknowledging health and safety rules etc, one of the places to sign says they are aware and agree with mobile phone rules such as placing in the box etc etc, well this staff member returned it with the phone part unsigned saying she wasn't going to sign it as she didn't agree with the rule.

 

So my question is can I stop her coming in to work? to me it is a blatent disregard of policies and if I want to look at worst case scenario it could be a serious breach of safeguarding.

 

When I spoke to her last week she said she knew I was doing my job but she didn't agree with it, thinks it's ridiculous, made the excuse she wouldn't know how to get a photo off her phone etc etc.

 

I'm getting to a point where I can't take much more of the disrespect for me as a supervisor xD

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Crikey, I think you might need to contact ACAS about this one 08457 474747. She seems to be deliberately flouting your rules. Presumably this policy was written and agreed by everyone in the first instance - was she one who agreed it initially or was she employed after the initial discussion took place? She has presumably agreed to abide by your rules and regulations, policies etc anyway at some point?

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Hi ask away thats what we are all here for to support each other.

We also have a policy which states all mobile phones are to be placed in our designated box which is situated in our main hall.

No staff have a issue with this and are quite happy to place them in the box each session, understanding our reasoning behind it.

I think you may need to take them to one side and discuss the issues involved in it and the implications if it is not adhered too.

We also remind all staff to pass on our land line number for "emergencies only" to anyone that may need it.

Does she have a genuine reason why she feels she needs to keep it with her?

Just trying to work out why she objects to it so much.

Like Cait suggests a call to ACAS for advice might be the best avenue to proceed with first.

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I think you need to find out and record exactly what her objection is. We had a member of staff last year who really objected to her phone being away form her, she didnt give any reason except she thought it was a knee jerk reaction, which I kind of agreed with but the idea had been passed to us form our safeguarding board so she just had to put up with it like everyone else.

I have never worked in a setting where a mobile phone was allowed and if your policy says they're not allowed and have to be stored somewhere then thats that.

Whether she agreed to the policy when it was written is immaterial, new policies cannot wait for one member of staff to agree or nothing would ever get done. Are you a committee run setting? If so they are the employers and officially the writers of the policies.

Good luck :o

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Thanks all :)

 

She has signed to say she agrees with policies etc in the past (she's been there nearly 20 yrs) but to be honest i think she just took them all home then signed to say she read and agreed to them xD

 

Her reasons for not signing it are that she doesn't agree with it, I've gone through the totally worst possible scenario with her that if staff time sheets show she is the only one who didn't sign to say her phone was in the box or at home and photos or something are found somewhere then she will be the one who is questioned over others - again her answer is that it's ridiculous and not needed etc etc. She knows that the pre-school number can be given out so to me there is absolutely no reason for her to refuse the policy :o when I mention the recent cases highlighted in the news she just answers that it wouldn't happen round here and that it's so rare it's ridiculous to bring in policies because of it.

 

She just flatly refuses to comply with the policy.

 

We don't have a committee at all so I write and update all policies (along with every other piece of paperwork - but that's another story!)

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I think that a refusal to sign doesnt negate the policy or her need to adhere to it. If I remember rightly, the policy is just so the staff know the ways of working, refusing to sign doesnt mean she doesnt have to follow it, signing just proves she was aware of it if anything comes of it in the future.

If I were you I'd get her to sign something that shows she was aware of the policy but chose not to sign it. Make sure you write this up to protect yourself in the future. Then tell her it changes nothing, she still has to put her phone with everyone elses.

 

There is usually one staff member in our working lives that has to go against the grain, this one is yours :o

 

 

Edited to say I found this HR support

Edited by Rea
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Whether she agreed to the policy when it was written is immaterial,

 

 

No, I know that, what I meant was that if she was there at the time, you have another 'string to your bow' to ask why she didn't raise her concerns at the time. Also, if she wasn't there, then surely she's agreed to abide by them anyway, when she joined you

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As Rea says signing is just to confirm that the policy has been read so that you have evidence that it has been seen. I think it would be wise to check with ACAS but at the end of the day staff are obliged to conform to the policies of their employer. Apart from issues of staff being employed to work with children during their contact hours, this is also a safeguarding issue, so I wouldn't think that there is room for manoeuvre. You will need to assert this rule as supervisor. I would imagine that if you have given a verbal warning and discussed your reasons for the policy, and she has not come up with some really valid reason why she needs her phone at all times, then a written warning would be in order as per the discipline policy. If she still refuses to follow the policy then you will need to follow whatever else is laid down in the discipline policy.

Leadership can be hard at times can't it? :o

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Rea Thank you for that link! I am just in the process of renewing contracts so have lifted some of that to put in them :o

 

If she still refuses to sign to say she has read and will abide by the policies I will actually get her to write a letter with her resons and which policy then at least I have it documented.

 

The contracts have always said that they are to abide by the policies but apparently the contracts have never been legally binding because we had nothing in them about redundencies!! So I've managed to get hold of one and adapted it for the setting and have just printed them all off so it might be interesting to see what the staff think after reading them! I'm going to stand firm on this one, if they refuse to sign then they don't come in to work xD

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you could also argue that if she worked on a till in a supermarket or any other job she would not be allowed to have a phone with her then, so why should this job be seen as any different... it is unprofessional to have a phone during working hours unless it is needed for the job.

even before all the safeguarding issues arose we never had phones on us in the setting,

 

I did once though have a compromise for one member of staff who was a carer for her father and it was the quickest way he had of contacting her should she be needed.. so we allowed her to carry it and look at the display when it 'vibrated' only answering it if it was her dad, and then she had to leave the room to do so.Actually it never did but it gave them both peace of mind to know she had it. when the safeguarding issues with pictures arose she got a cheap phone with no camera in it so she could do this in the setting.. I must admit to doing the same when my son was very ill... but these were exceptional circumstances and we had a risk assessment as to why we were doing this against our usual policy.

 

Good advice to check with acas.. and then you may need to follow disciplinary policy. Possibly a threat may make her think again, but be ready to follow through.

 

and document everything.. all discussions, times, dates what was said, anyone present, get it signed as a true document by those present.. if they refuse say ion the document they were present and refused to sign with any reason they give.. may been needed at some point to show you have discussed it with her and she is aware of it,,

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In the meantime presumably she is still keeping her phone with her so this needs tackling straight away. I'm not sure that your 'contract' is invalid even though you have not put down the redundancy terms, which of course do need to be mentioned. Actually I think that what you are talking about is the Statement of Particulars of Employment, as a contract does not need to be written down. The contract is made between the employer and employee when they start work. ACAS has sample Statements of Particulars on it's website, and Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures, which can be used to help you write your own. They are very useful as they obviously contain all the legal requirements but you can adapt some aspects to your particular needs.

 

Perhaps once you have got on top of this member of staff you could get some lockers so that staff can keep their possessions in those, have their own key, and feel that are in control.

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Well she could always leave her phone at home couldn't she? As long as you have a number where you can be contacted in an emergency then what does it matter?

Just because you dont agree with a policy doesn't mean you dont have to abide by it.

Do yo think she has got muddled and thinks because she wont sign that means she doesn't have to do it? We have lots in our policies that I dont particularly agree with but doesn't mean I dont abide by them. We were asked to implement th esame sort of policy a while back and I have to say I also felt it was a knee jerk reaction. Mobiles never have been an issue with us but I had to think what it would be like if a new (& younger) member of staff joined us and when parents were in as well

 

Unfortunately you will have to act on this and act on it now, or else what happens when someone else wants to use their phone or worse when she decides that another policy is silly and doesn't have to be abided by?

Ring ACAS and ask them where you stand. I think youmay be within your rights to suspend if she refuses to follow procedures but you MUST follow due process and they will advise on this.

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if she does not adhere to yr policy . I would print off and explain it, set a dealine for improvement all written down and then would go down the disaplinary route if not adhered to. Make sure you follow your disaplinary procedure accurately and fully. and as mentioned ACAS are very useful

Edited by Suer
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  • 1 month later...
I think that a refusal to sign doesnt negate the policy or her need to adhere to it. If I remember rightly, the policy is just so the staff know the ways of working, refusing to sign doesnt mean she doesnt have to follow it, signing just proves she was aware of it if anything comes of it in the future.

If I were you I'd get her to sign something that shows she was aware of the policy but chose not to sign it. Make sure you write this up to protect yourself in the future. Then tell her it changes nothing, she still has to put her phone with everyone elses.

 

There is usually one staff member in our working lives that has to go against the grain, this one is yours :o

 

 

Edited to say I found this HR support

 

Dear Rea, thanks for the HR link, I found it hugely beneficial. You have just saved me weeks of writing! It should be recommended to all small business owners in particular. Nursery owners you will find this site very helpful and will save you time and oh yes-MONEY.

 

Thanks a mil, postive3

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