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Employment Law

Disciplinaries and Grievances

A disciplinary procedure is a procedure that should be adopted whenever an employer wishes to give an employee a formal warning or to dismiss them due to misconduct.
Failure to follow a reasonable disciplinary procedure could lead to any compensation awarded as a result of a successful Employment Tribunal claim being increased by up to 25%. A grievance does not have any statutory definition, and so any complaint by an employee anything related to their employment could amount to a grievance if the employee wishes to treat it as such.

We have set out some helpful FAQ’s to better explain the process of disciplinaries and grievances. If you would like to speak to our experts and received tailored advice please do contact us today.


Frequently Asked Questions:

  • What are the components of a disciplinary procedure?

    A disciplinary procedure will provide for three distinct stages: investigation, hearing and appeal.

    Before issuing any disciplinary sanction it is necessary to hold a reasonable investigation, hold a fair hearing, in which the employee is given a full opportunity to state their case, and then offer a right of appeal to a more senior manager.

  • Who should chair the disciplinary procedure?

    Usually the employee’s line manager chairs the procedure, unless they are a witness to the misconduct in question, in which case a manager from another department should chair the process, unless that is not possible in the case of a small employer.

  • Does the employee have the right to be accompanied?

    An employee has the right to be accompanied by a work colleague or trade union representative (even if the employer does not recognise any trade union) at any disciplinary or appeal hearing (but not at any investigation meeting).

  • What is a grievance procedure?

    A grievance procedure is a procedure that must be followed by the employer whenever an employee raises a grievance.

    The procedure should provide for a meeting or meetings with the employee, an investigation, an outcome and should any aspect of the grievance not be upheld.

  • Who should chair the grievance procedure?  

    Usually it will be the employee’s line manager, unless the grievance is against that line manager, in which case the line manager’s manager should chair the process, or a manager from another department who has not been involved in anything in relation to the grievance.

  • Does the employee have the right to be accompanied?

    Yes, the same right applies as in a disciplinary hearing.

  • Is there a relevant ACAS code of practice?

    Yes. The ACAS Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures applies to all disciplinary and grievance situations, and should form the basis of any disciplinary and grievance procedures. Failure to comply with any requirement of the Code could render an employer liable to a 25% uplift in any compensation awarded against them in any Employment Tribunal case.

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