General requirements for discipline and grievance procedures

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

  • General requirements for discipline and grievance procedures
  • Written statement of particulars
  • Procedures implemented by the employer: requirements
  • Acas Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures
  • Right to be accompanied
  • Warnings
  • Contractual challenges where procedures are incorporated into the contract
  • Right to a fair trial: Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights

General requirements for discipline and grievance procedures

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Issues relating to handling disciplinary and grievance matters during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic are considered in Practice Note: Coronavirus (COVID-19)—handling disciplinary and grievance issues during the pandemic.

Many employers have their own procedures for dealing with disciplinary issues or for employees to raise grievances. These tend to be contained in employee handbooks or staff manuals. In some organisations, they may be made available by alternative means, eg on corporate intranets.

It is desirable to implement well-drawn, written disciplinary and grievance procedures for at least three reasons:

  1. they provide a clear framework for both employer and employees to assist in the efficient and systematic resolution of grievances and disciplinary issues. Both employer and employee should know where they stand at any given point in the procedure, what their rights and entitlements under it are, and what should occur next to move towards resolution of the issue

  2. they protect the employer against the pitfalls of a poor procedural approach if the parties end up litigating. Operating a proper, fair procedure is a central consideration in unfair dismissal law (see Practice Note: Procedural fairness), and an employer is likely to lose claims made against it where a fair procedure has not been followed, even if the reason for dismissal was, in itself, uncontroversial. In the context

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