Grievance & Disciplinary Procedures to be followed by employers
These procedures apply to all employers.
Small employers are no longer exempt.
However there are certain situations in which an employer is not required to follow the statutory disciplinary procedure (in cases of collective dismissals where 20 or more employees are to be made redundant within a 90 day period (see our section on redundancy), or where there are other specified reasons for dismissal such as the employer's premises burning down or where continuing to employ the employee would breach a statutory duty imposed on the employer.
Also where an employee has applied to a Tribunal for interim relief or where industry level agreements are in place and include dispute resolution the appeal stage of the statutory disciplinary procedure need not be used.)
The following minimum standards for disciplinary procedures were introduced by the Employment Act 2008 and the ACAS Code of Practice (April 2009).
- An employer must set out in writing the reasons for the alleged misconduct.
- The employee must be invited to attend a disciplinary meeting and has a statutory right to be accompanied by a work colleague, trade union representative or official of a trade union.
- After the meeting, the employer must inform the employee in writing of the decision.
- The employee can appeal.
An Employment Tribunal can increase compensation by up to 25% for failure to follow the ACAS Code.
Employers can have their own contractual disciplinary and grievance procedures as long as these are not less than the minimum standards set out by the ACAS Code.
An employer must give a written statement to the employee setting out why the employer has decided to take disciplinary action i.e. the employee's alleged misconduct and the reasons for thinking the employee is guilty of the alleged misconduct.
The employer must arrange a meeting with the employee, who has the right to be accompanied by a work colleague or union representative. The meeting must take place at a reasonable time and a convenient location. At the meeting, the employer should state the case against the employee and give the employee an opportunity to respond.
Following the meeting, the employer should notify the employee of their decision and tell the employee that they may appeal against the decision.
The employee may appeal against the decision and choose to be accompanied at the appeal meeting, which should ideally be heard by a different or more senior manager. The employer should inform the employee of the decision of the appeal.
This procedure applies where the employee has a grievance which relates to statutory employment rights such as equal pay, discrimination, redundancy, maternity, etc. It may be used in constructive dismissal cases and where the employer believes they are being victimised. The ACAS Code recommends informal procedures are used to resolve minor grievances wherever possible where a quiet word may resolve the issue.
An employee must set out their grievance in writing and send a copy to their employer.
The employer must invite the employee to attend a meeting. The employee has the right to be accompanied by a work colleague or union representative or official. The meeting must take place at a reasonable time and a convenient location.
At the meeting, the employer should state his/her grievance and give the employer an opportunity to respond. Following the meeting, the employer should notify the employee of their decision and tell the employee that they may appeal against the decision if they feel the grievance has not been satisfactorily resolved.
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