Disciplinary and grievance procedures
The operation and outcome of disciplinary and grievance procedures is often critical as to whether an employment relationship continues or breaks down. If an employer does not have his or her own procedures, then reference should be made to the ACAS Code of Practice and Guide which establishes certain principles.
In case of disciplinaries:
- Employers and employees should raise and deal with issues promptly and should not unreasonably delay meetings, decisions or written confirmation of those decisions
- Employers should carry out any necessary investigations to establish the facts of the case, and give the employee a reasonable opportunity to consider any evidence and give their response before any decisions are made
- Any decisions made should be reasonable, consistent and proportionate
- Employers should allow an employee to be accompanied at all formal meetings
- Employers should allow an employee to appeal against any formal decision made
A legal claim cannot be brought for failure to follow the ACAS Code of Practice. But, should there be a claim for unfair dismissal in which it is shown that the Code has not been followed, then an Employment Tribunal is more likely to find that there has been an unfair dismissal and increase the compensation by up to 25%.
Where there are workplace disagreements, discrimination, bullying and harassment, disputes over working conditions, salary and career progression, these complaints can either be raised informally or by way of a formal grievance in an attempt to resolve the matter. An Employment Tribunal would usually expect an employee to have done this before bringing a claim and in exceptional circumstances, will reduce compensation by up to 25% should they feel an employee has unreasonably failed to do so.