Disciplinary and Grievance

Disciplinary Procedures

Under section 3 of the Employment Rights Act 1996, the employee must be notified in a written statement (i.e. their contract of employment) what the business’ disciplinary procedures are.  The contract can therefore set out the disciplinary procedure in full or make reference to where the full procedure can be found. For example, the procedure could be set out in an Employee Handbook together with any other relevant policies and procedures.

Further, employers are required by law to go through certain disciplinary procedures before dismissing an employee. Failure to do so may make you liable for unfair dismissal.

A fair procedure, as a minimum should include:-

  • An initial investigation in most cases
  • A disciplinary hearing if there is a case to answer from the investigation
  • The employee should be told in advance of the disciplinary hearing the reasons for it. This should be put in writing.
  • The employee should be given the right to be accompanied to the disciplinary hearing by a work colleague or a full time official employed by a trade union or a lay official, so long as they have been certified in writing by their union as having experience of, or as having received training in, acting as a worker’s companion at disciplinary or grievance hearings;
  • After the disciplinary hearing the employee should be informed of the findings made and the sanction to be imposed if any. This should be confirmed in writing.
  • The employee should be told of their right to appeal the decision.
  • The appeal should include a meeting with the employee to be conducted by a more senior manager if possible.
  • The employee should be given the right to be accompanied to the appeal meeting by a work colleague or a full time official employed by a trade union or a lay official, so long as they have been certified in writing by their union as having experience of, or as having received training in, acting as a worker’s companion at disciplinary or grievance hearings
  • After the disciplinary hearing the employee should be informed of the findings made and the outcome (i.e. whether or not the decision is upheld and if not, what (lesser) sanction, if any, is to be imposed). This should be confirmed in writing.

The above is only the minimum standard. Any disciplinary procedures should be designed so as to allow for a reasonable investigation/disciplinary process to be carried out as well as complying with best practice. It is therefore advisable to have a comprehensive disciplinary procedure and then to follow it correctly so as to limit the chances of an unfair dismissal claim being held procedurally unfair. If you require a comprehensive procedure drafting, then please Contact Us for an initial free consultation.

Whilst getting the disciplinary procedure right is vital also of importance is what is actually said and done within the meetings and the further investigations that are carried out. This will determine whether in the event of a dismissal, it is substantively fair or unfair. If you are about to enter into a disciplinary process or are already undergoing one with an employee and want to ensure you get it right and impose a fair sanction (e.g. written warning, final written warning or dismissal) then Contact Us now for a free initial consultation.

Grievance Procedures

A grievance procedure should be designed in such a way so as to ensure that you an employee is able to raise any grievance that they have about their employment or working environment.

It is important that an employee is able to air any grievances that they have about their employment or working environment without feeling worried about making a grievance. This is a useful procedure as it will then allow the employer to address and resolve any grievances brought.

If you require a comprehensive procedure drafting, then please Contact Us for an initial free consultation.

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