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In order to run efficiently, every workplace requires its workers to adhere to certain minimum standards of conduct. As such every employer must put in place procedures to deal with breaches of their code. If you are an employee or employer, and you are facing disciplinary or grievance issues in your workplace, Miller Samuel Hill Brown can help.

Conduct at work- disciplinary procedures

All workplaces will adhere to some code of conduct. Disciplinary procedures are the means of enforcing these. They allow employers to bring breaches of the code to their employees’ attention, and allow employees to defend themselves against accusations of breaches of company discipline. It gives everyone an opportunity to discuss what went wrong and impose sanctions, including dismissal in serious cases, where this is appropriate.

ACAS (the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) publishes guidelines on how disciplinary procedures should be implemented. Of particular importance is the ACAS Code on Discipline and Grievance. This code exists to ensure everyone is treated equally and fairly in disciplinary matters. Disciplinary procedures should, among other things:

  • Be fair
  • Be prompt
  • Ensure employers take a consistent approach to matters of discipline
  • Ensure any disciplinary allegation is properly set out in advance of any hearing
  • Allow for a meeting to discuss the issue
  • Allow the employee to be accompanied at the meeting
  • Allow an employee to appeal that decision.

It may be possible for an employer to suspend an employee (on full pay) pending the result of a disciplinary hearing. Employees would retain their other normal employment rights (both statutory and contractual) during this period.

If you are an employer who requires to address a disciplinary issue or an employee who is facing disciplinary action, and are unsure what to do, contact Miller Samuel Hill Brown’s employment law experts on 01412211919.

Grievance Procedures

Unfortunately, workplace disputes happen. If you are an employee who wishes to raise a grievance with your employer, or an employer who requires to address a grievance that has been raised, Miller Samuel Hill Brown can help.

Again, employers should ensure that they adhere to the principles laid down in the ACAS Code on discipline & grievance whenever an employee raises a grievance.

Common causes of grievances include:

  • Poor/unsatisfactory working conditions
  • Dissatisfaction with the terms of employment
  • Disputes/disagreements between colleagues
  • Issues around pay/bonuses
  • Mistreatment, discrimination or bullying issues

In some cases, dealing with the grievance informally may resolve the situation. If it does not, or the conclusion is unsatisfactory, it may be necessary to take matters a step further. Grievance procedures should be in writing and available to employees, for instance in the company handbook, in the contract of employment or available online or via an intranet.

An employer’s grievance procedure should allow:

  • employees to raise concerns in writing;
  • allow for a meeting (at which the employee can be accompanied/represented);
  • provide for the employer to properly investigate any grievance that is raised; and
  • allow for an appeal of any decision arrived at.

If you are an employee or employer and would like more information on raising, defending or appealing a grievance in the workplace call Miller Samuel Hill Brown on 01412211919

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