Acas disciplinary and grievance code—effect of non-compliance
Acas disciplinary and grievance code—effect of non-compliance

The following Employment guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Acas disciplinary and grievance code—effect of non-compliance
  • Key principles
  • Failure must have been unreasonable
  • Just and equitable adjustment
  • Breach of the Code of Practice by employers
  • Breach of the Code of Practice by employees
  • Remedy

This Practice Note explains the effects of non-compliance with the provisions of the Acas Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures.

Both employers and employees are obliged to comply with the principles of fairness set out in the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures. The foreword to this Code of Practice additionally encourages employers and employees to seek to resolve disciplinary and grievance issues in the workplace, before resorting to the tribunals. Because this encouragement is found in the foreword of the Code of Practice rather than in its body, it is not a statutory requirement.

Acas has also produced a guide to the Acas Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures. This guidance has no statutory authority, but in the event of uncertainty regarding the Code of Practice itself, may be referred to by tribunals.

Key principles

A failure to observe any provision of a relevant Acas Code of Practice does not, on its own, give rise to liability.

However, in the case of the Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures (referred to from here onwards simply as the ‘Code of Practice’), failure to comply with it is relevant in two circumstances:

  1. the Code of Practice is admissible in evidence in employment tribunal proceedings and the tribunal must take into