Disciplinary and grievance
Employers have a duty to give employees a written statement of the main terms and conditions of their employment, generally within 2 months of the commencement of their employment. The written statement must contain disciplinary rules and the procedures for disciplinary decisions and appeals, or refer the employee to some other easily accessible document which contains that information, for example, a staff handbook.
The ACAS Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures contains recommendations for the handling of disciplinary situations at work. It also sets out the principles that an employee should follow when raising a grievance and how an employer should investigate and hear a grievance. Failure to follow the ACAS Code must be taken into account by a Tribunal where relevant and an unreasonable failure to follow the code may lead a tribunal to adjust the amount of any compensation payable to the employee by up to 25%. It is therefore advisable for an employer to put in place a compliant disciplinary procedure.
The ACAS Code only applies to ‘disciplinary situations’, which includes misconduct and poor performance. Dismissals on the grounds of redundancy or the non-renewal of a fixed-term contract are specifically excluded. In respect of grievances, the ACAS code does not apply to all claims, although most types of claim commonly brought in the tribunals (including those related to discrimination, unfair dismissal, equal pay, breach of contract, deduction of wages etc) are covered. The code does not apply to collective grievances.
Our solicitors can assist you with a variety of complex Employee Relations issues and advise you on best practice and the application of the ACAS Code, to ensure that you adhere to a fair procedure when dealing with issues in the workplace, particularly if you are contemplating disciplinary or dismissal action.
If you don’t have a disciplinary or grievance procedure in place, ask us about our Employment Response Scheme. If you would like advice or assistance in connection with a workplace issue, please call Lianne Payne, Head of Employment on 024 7623 1000.