Discipline and grievance procedures ― general requirements

Produced by Tolley in association with Becky Lawton at Charles Russell Speechlys LLP

The following Employment Tax guidance note Produced by Tolley in association with Becky Lawton at Charles Russell Speechlys LLP provides comprehensive and up to date tax information covering:

  • Discipline and grievance procedures ― general requirements
  • What elements must be included in the written statement of particulars?
  • The right to a fair trial?
  • ACAS Code of Practice
  • Disciplinary action
  • Investigation
  • Disciplinary hearing
  • Disciplinary sanctions

Discipline and grievance procedures ― general requirements

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

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

They provide a clear framework for both employer and employee to assist in the efficient and systematic resolution of grievances and disciplinary issuesBoth employer and employee should know where they stand at any given point in the procedure, what their rights and entitlements are under it, and what should occur next to resolve the issue
Provided they are followed, they can protect the employer against the pitfalls of a poor procedural approach if the parties end up litigating issues that cannot be resolvedOperating a full, fair procedure is a central consideration in unfair dismissal scenarios. In order to be fair, a dismissal must be procedurally fair and for one of five potentially fair reasons. An employer is unlikely to be successful in defending an unfair dismissal claim where a fair procedure has not been followed, even if the reason for dismissal was, in itself, uncontroversial.
In the context of discrimination claims, procedural irregularities and imperfections can lead to allegations or inferences that a particular employee has been treated less favourably on the basis of a protected characteristic in the course of disciplinary or grievance proceedings. The ACAS Code of Practice applies in respect of discrimination claims and also detriment claims, which involve similar considerations to discrimination
They should ensure that managers comply with the ACAS Code of Practice when conducting disciplinary and grievance procedures, which will aid the employer in case of a dispute with employeesThe ACAS Code of Practice states that employers should have written disciplinary and grievance policies developed with

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