Disciplinary & Grievance Procedures

 

Every business, no matter how large or small, should have a disciplinary procedure and a grievance procedure. These procedures should be set out in your contract of employment or staff handbook.

Disciplinary Procedure

The Disciplinary Procedure is a process which enables an employer to address issues regarding an employee which are causing concern. These may be matters such as conduct, performance, attitude, attendance etc. Disciplinary procedures will vary from company to company but at the very least must involve three distinct stages:

STEP ONE
Any complaint relating to the conduct or performance of an employee must be put in writing and given to the employee. The letter should give full details of the complaint and invite the employee to a meeting to discuss the situation. The employee should be advised of the right to be accompanied at the meeting by a companion who is a colleague or trade union representative. The letter should also state who will be attending the meeting.

STEP TWO
At the meeting the employee should be given ample opportunity to address the issues that have been raised. Minutes should be taken at the meeting and it is advisable for the employee to ask their companion to take notes as well.  Following the meeting there should be a clear written outcome of the meeting.

STEP THREE
The employee must be given the right to appeal against any decision made by the employer. If an employee does lodge an appeal, a meeting should be held to hear the appeal and again the employee has the right to be accompanied and to receive a written outcome of the appeal.

Disciplinary outcomes can include no action, an informal warning, a personal improvement plan, a formal warning, demotion, removal of discretionary benefits, or in more serious cases dismissal. If dismissal is a possible outcome, the employer must advise the employee of that possibility in the STEP ONE letter.

If an employer fails to follow the Disciplinary Procedure, and the employee successfully pursues the matter in the employment tribunal, the tribunal has the power to increase any award made by up to 25%

Grievance Procedure

The Grievance Procedure can be used by an employee who has a complaint relating to their employment. This may be relating to terms and conditions of employment, training, promotion, or the conduct of a colleague or manager. Generally it is better to deal with such issues informally; however if this is not possible or if it doesn’t resolve the problem then the Grievance Procedure should be used. Grievance procedures will vary from company to company but must include a three-stage process as a minimum:

STEP ONE
Any complaint must be put in writing, including as much detail as possible, and given to the employer. The employer should invite the employee to a meeting to discuss the complaint. The employee should be advised of the right to be accompanied at the meeting  by a companion who is a colleague or trade union representative. The letter should also state who will be attending the meeting.

STEP TWO
A meeting must be held to discuss the issues raised by the employee. Minutes should be taken at the meeting and it is advisable for the employee to ask their companion to take notes as well.  Following the meeting there should be a clear written outcome of the meeting.

STEP THREE
The employee must be given the right to appeal against the outcome.
If an employee does lodge an appeal, a meeting should be held to hear the appeal and again the employee has the right to be accompanied and to receive a written outcome of the appeal.


If the Grievance Procedure has been exhausted and the employee is still not happy with the outcome it may be a good idea at this stage to take legal advice.

If an employee wants to present a claim to an Employment Tribunal on an issue which amounts to some sort of grievance or complaint it is generally necessary to complete the Grievance Procedure before submitting a claim.

Generally employees have three months from the date upon which the issue relating to the complaint arose within which to present a claim to the employment tribunal. This deadline can, in certain circumstances, be extended by a further three months.

If you need assistance with a grievance please contact Emplex on 01753 583 222 or e-mail:  info@emplexlaw.com

 


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