Key questions for disciplinary matters
What happens if the board/principal receives a complaint?
The board/principal must ensure that the complaint is dealt with in accordance with the school’s policies and relevant collective agreement. The complaint must be signed by the complainant and give specific details of the issues raised. NZSTA recommends that boards/principals seek advice as early as possible when dealing with complaints and potential disciplinary issues.
Has the board/principal followed the school’s policy?
The board/principal must follow its own policies and procedures as well as the relevant collective agreement with regards to any complaints or disciplinary procedures. Most schools’ policies require them to contact NZSTA for advice regarding complaints or disciplinary issues.
Can a board member/principal advocate for a complainant?
A board member or principal is not able to advocate for a complainant.
If a complaint is brought to an individual board member’s attention, it is essential that you refer the complainant to the school’s complaints policy and, if required, provide them with a hard copy of the policy. It is not the job of the board/principal to raise a complaint on behalf of the complainant as this will cause a conflict of interest for the board member/principal.
Has the principal had the opportunity to resolve the issue with the employee?
All of the collective agreements allow for the principal to attempt to resolve the matter at the lowest possible level. This is usually an informal process. However, NZSTA still recommends that the principal seeks advice before starting this process to ensure that procedures and policies are being followed.
Has the employee been offered the opportunity to seek representation?
It is important to offer any employee the opportunity to seek advice and/or representation at any investigation or disciplinary meeting. This is in line with the collective agreements and the Employment Relations Act as well as the need to be a good employer and act in good faith when dealing with your employee.