In the course of business, employers will inevitably have to deal with problems that arise in relation to their employees. This could be disciplinary matters where an employee is underperforming or their conduct has been inappropriate, or a grievance raised by an employee in relation to a workplace issue. In these situations, employers should have procedures in place to appropriately deal with these matters when they arise.
If your business requires assistance in implementing disciplinary or grievance procedures, or if you are an employee currently going through one of these processes, the expert employment solicitors at Miller Samuel Hill Brown can help.
An employer can start formal disciplinary action against an employee if they have concerns about an employee’s capability, absence record, conduct, or a specific incident which has taken place. It is good practice for an employer to have some form of written disciplinary procedure in place. Formal disciplinary action against an employee could result in a verbal or written warning or, in some circumstances, dismissal from employment.
The procedure should set out what kind of behaviour or conduct might lead to disciplinary action, and what action the employer might take (e.g. a verbal or written warning). The procedure should be provided to staff, or at least be available upon request.
Before taking formal disciplinary action, an employer could raise the issue informally with the employee. This will not always be an option, however, particularly in circumstances where there are serious concerns or allegations against the employee.
In general, disciplinary procedures will involve carrying out an investigation, informing the employee of the relevant allegations against them, holding a disciplinary hearing and offering an opportunity to appeal against the outcome.
An employee is entitled to be accompanied by a work colleague or trade union representative at a disciplinary hearing.
If an employer fails to adequately carry out a fair disciplinary procedure, this could have a bearing on a decision of an employment tribunal, should the affected employee choose to raise a claim for e.g. unfair dismissal. If an employer includes their disciplinary procedure in an employee’s contract and then does not follow this procedure, this could leave the employer open to a breach of contract claim.
Miller Samuel Hill Brown are experts in preparing disciplinary procedures for employers and helping them implement these in the workplace. We are also able to guide both employers and employees through the disciplinary process when required.
We can also assist in carrying out disciplinary procedures where a business does not have an internal HR function or have sufficient internal personnel to carry out the procedure independently.
If you are an employee going through a disciplinary procedure which may impact your registration with a professional body (i.e. the Scottish Social Services Council, General Medical Council) you may have the right to legal representation at a disciplinary hearing. We can assist with such representation.
If an employee has tried solving a problem informally with their employer, but are not satisfied with the outcome, they can raise a formal grievance. Businesses should have a procedure in place for dealing with employee grievances, and this should be available to employees upon request.
A grievance procedure should usually include information on:
After hearing a grievance and ingathering evidence, the employer should inform the employee of their decision in writing. An employee is entitled to be accompanied by a work colleague or trade union representative at a grievance hearing.
Raising a grievance can be beneficial for employees, as it can allow for a workplace issue to be resolved without the need to raise a claim with the employment tribunal. Following a formal grievance procedure has similar benefits for employers, as it gives them the opportunity to nip problems in the bud, improve workplace relationships and avoid further issues and litigation.
If you are planning to raise a grievance against your employer, or if you operate a business where one of your employees has raised a grievance, then the experts at Miller Samuel Hill Brown are here to assist you.
If you are an employee and wish to raise a grievance with your employer, we can assist with drafting letters of grievance or appeal and advising on outcomes.
If you are an employer, we can assist with drafting and implementing grievance procedures and advise on ongoing processes.
We can also act in the capacity of investigating and hearing a grievance on behalf of a business, such as where there are insufficient internal personnel to deal with the grievance, it concerns a senior person within the business or it is considered more appropriate in the circumstances for the grievance to be heard by an objective third party.
We can provide assistance and guidance on dealing with disciplinary procedures or workplace grievances. Contact our expert Employment Law Solicitors in Glasgow today on 0141 473 6818 or fill in our online contact form.