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Procedures for Disciplinary Action

Procedures for Disciplinary Action and Dismissal of Volunteers at Hawkesbury Radio


Background

Volunteers are an invaluable resource to Hawkesbury Radio and our primary aim is to encourage and support their contribution to our station. However, it is also recognised that there may be times when a volunteer needs to be counselled, disciplined, suspended and perhaps dismissed.

We undertake to handle such situations in a professional manner, ensuring communication between our station and the volunteer is clear, fair, objective and remains within the policy outlined below. The volunteer will always be given a right of reply to any action proposed against them.

Throughout the process our board will reflect on its own operations as well as those of the station and will consider the circumstances, actions and behavior leading to the situation.

The following questions will guide this process:

  • Have the roles, values and expectations of the organisation been clearly communicated to the volunteer and subsequently reinforced during prior conversations regarding the volunteer's performance?
  • Are there any other factors that may be contributing to the volunteer's poor performance e.g. learning difficulties or language barriers?
  • Has the volunteer been reminded of expected codes of conduct and consequences for breaches?
  • Has the volunteer received training/mentoring and or coaching to improve performance?
  • Has verbal and written warnings been given to the volunteer explaining the circumstances for the warnings and that any further noncompliance will result in suspension, termination or other action of the volunteering opportunity?
  • Did the volunteer have the opportunity to respond to prior verbal and written warnings?

Purpose

This section outlines a policy and procedure for disciplinary measures and dismissal. It aims to provide a clear and fair structure that is understandable to both management and volunteers.

The policy includes an appeals mechanism to ensure a ‘right of reply’ to a volunteer who is facing being disciplined. This is further complemented by Hawkesbury Radio’s grievance and dispute resolution policy and procedure, which may be used in a situation where a volunteer believes they have not been fairly heard or that the Procedures for Disciplinary Action and Dismissal of Volunteers has not been adequately followed.

This document does not include the procedure for expulsion of a member from the co-operative, which is laid out in the constitution of Hawkesbury Radio Communications Co-operative Limited.

Policy

  1. The procedure for disciplinary action is a three step process which includes:
    1. First formal notice in writing;
    2. Second formal notice in writing; and
    3. Written notice to the volunteer of dismissal from duties.
  2. For issues that are considered minor a conversation with the volunteer may be appropriate; however this will not be considered part of the formal disciplinary action (although it may be referred to in later action).
  3. Written notice will include details of the issue and, where feasible, evidence. In a case where the disciplinary measure has been instigated by a complaint, it may be appropriate to include a copy (with identifications removed) or extract of this complaint.
  4. Further disciplinary actions, such as a suspension of volunteer duties for a period of time, may also be appropriate. In such cases these actions will be included with the formal notice in writing
  5. Every effort will be taken to ensure that notice of a disciplinary measure, whether formal or informal, will be given at an appropriate time, eg: not immediately prior to, or during a broadcast
  6. Notice of a disciplinary measure will be given by a designated board member
  7. Volunteers will be provided an appeal against the action. This may take the form of a meeting with the appropriate board member or a representation in person and/or in writing to the board
  8. Should an appeal result in a change of the disciplinary action, or removal of it, this will be confirmed in writing to the volunteer.
  9. Conduct which may lead to disciplinary action includes, but is not limited to:
    1. Poor timekeeping and unreliability
    2. Not following pre-existing station rules and policies, including programming policies and programme briefs,
    3. Not playing scheduled station and sponsorship announcements on air without reasonable excuse
    4. Engaging in acts or broadcasts which may breach the Community Radio Broadcasting Codes of Practice
    5. Engaging in broadcasts which may breach other related legislation such as the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (which includes sponsorship provisions), copyright or defamation laws
    6. Inappropriate handling or use of station equipment or other property
    7. Rudeness or hostility towards other volunteers or members
    8. Intoxication through alcohol or other substances whilst at the station
    9. Publicly bringing Hawkesbury Radio into disrepute
  10. Some conduct may be tantamount to ‘gross misconduct’, in this instance a volunteer may be dismissed without prior warning
  11. Conduct which may be classed as gross misconduct may include, but is not limited to:
    1. Verbal or physical harassment of any other volunteer, employee, member or guest of Hawkesbury Radio, particularly in respect of race, sex or religion
    2. Willful damage to or theft of property belonging to Hawkesbury Radio or any other volunteer, member or guest of Hawkesbury Radio
    3. Falsification of any of the station’s records for personal gain
    4. Commercial misrepresentation of Hawkesbury Radio
  12. In a case of a volunteer being dismissed without prior warnings the volunteer will be provided an appeal as outlined in paragraph 7.

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