At Davenport Solicitors, we understand that dealing with disciplinary and grievance issues in the workplace is distressing for employers. Before taking disciplinary action against an employee, it is important to consider whether formal action is at all required. Can the matter be resolved through informal discussions? If the informal discussion results in giving the employee a warning in writing which is retained on their personnel file, it could be viewed as a formal disciplinary warning.
Thus, it is essential for you to get expert employment law advice if you want to conduct a fair disciplinary or grievance procedure in compliance with the ACAS code. This is the area where we can help you.
As an award-winning law firm in the City of London, Davenport Solicitors has considerable experience in advising employers on all aspects of disciplinary and grievance procedures. We ensure that the process is carried out in a fair and proper manner to protect our clients’ position and avoid employment tribunal claims.
In some circumstance, employers may consider entering into “without prejudice” correspondence with an employee involved in a disciplinary or grievance matter which may result in a settlement agreement to end the matter and the employment relationship. Without prejudice, correspondence cannot be disclosed to the employment tribunal in the event of a claim by an employee at the Employment Tribunal. However, they can only be held in certain circumstances, and advice should be sought before it is initiated.
The ACAS code details the recommended process that employers should follow when dealing with a grievance or disciplinary issue. The code is complex and failure to follow the code correctly may result in an uplift of 25% of any compensation awarded to an employee if they bring a successful tribunal claim in relation to their disciplinary or grievance. Failure to handle a grievance correctly may provide the affected employee grounds to bring a constructive unfair dismissal claim for breach of trust and confidence, an implied term in an employees contract of employment.
Some companies may have their own disciplinary and grievance policy and where a dispute arises, it should be followed. A Company’s own policies should not afford employees less rights or protection than those recommended by ACAS.
Employees can raise a grievance in relation to a wide range of workplace issues, including health and safety, bullying and harassment and discrimination. Once a grievance has been raised, an employer is expected to respond within a ‘reasonable’ period of time. If it is appropriate given the nature of the grievance, an employer may speak to the employee on an informal basis to resolve the issue. There may be situations where this is inappropriate or unsuccessful.
If this is the case, the employer should invite the employee to a meeting, giving them reasonable notice and confirming their right to be accompanied. As a result of the information provided during the meeting, it may be necessary to carry out an investigation, for example, if the grievance involves another employee. After the investigation, an employer should hold another meeting with the employee who raised the grievance to inform them of the results of the investigation. An employer should always communicate the outcome of their grievance to the employee in writing and provide them with the chance to appeal the decision.
An employer may commence disciplinary action where there is an allegation that an employee has committed an act of (gross) misconduct. Before holding a formal disciplinary meeting, an employer should investigate the allegation and hold an investigatory meeting. Depending on the employees’ terms and conditions of employment, the employer may have the right to suspend the employee while the investigation is being carried out. Once the investigation has been conducted, the employer should write to the employee to confirm if disciplinary action will be taken.
If this is the case, the employer should invite the employee to a disciplinary meeting, giving them reasonable notice, confirming their right to be accompanied and provide them with any evidence that shall be used at the meeting as well as asking the employee to provide any evidence they would like to rely on. At the meeting, the allegations should be put to the employee, and they should be given a chance to respond. An employer should always communicate the outcome of their disciplinary action to the employee in writing and provide them with the chance to appeal the decision.
Employers should always take details notes of any correspondence in relation to a disciplinary or grievance matter.
If you require expert legal advice and support related to a disciplinary or grievance issue at work, we can help you by guiding you through the procedure on a step by step basis, thereby minimising the risk of an employment tribunal claim. Our assistance and guidance will enable you to resolve disciplinary and grievance issues in the best possible way.
Read our advice on Disciplinary Decisions and HR Influence >>
For legal advice on how to handle Disciplinary and Grievance matters, speak to one of our expert Employment Law Solicitors. Call on 020 7903 6888 or request a call back at a time convenient for you. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We aim to reply within 24 hours.
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