Discipline and grievances at work
This factsheet was last updated in June 2015.
What are disciplinary and grievance procedures?
Disciplinary and grievance procedures are frameworks which provide clear structures for dealing with difficulties which may arise as part of the working relationship, from either the employer’s or employee’s perspective.
These procedures are needed to make sure everybody is treated in the same way in similar circumstances and to deal with issues fairly and reasonably. They also ensure that employers comply with current law and follow the relevant Acas Code of Practice (see below). Most employers will have their own procedures which comply with the Acas code.
Disciplinary procedures are needed to:
- let employees know what is expected of them in terms of standards of performance or conduct (and the likely consequences of continued failure to meet these standards)
- identify obstacles to individuals achieving the required standards (for example training needs, lack of clarity of job requirements, additional support needed) and to enable employers to take appropriate action
- enable employers and employees to agree suitable goals and timescales for improvement in an individual's performance or conduct
- try to resolve matters without recourse to external dispute resolution processes or an employment tribunal
- demonstrate to an employment tribunal that an appropriate process has been followed should an employee complain about the way they've been dismissed.
Grievance procedures are needed to:
- provide individuals with a course of action if they have a complaint which they're unable to resolve through regular or informal communication with their line manager
- provide points of contact and timescales to resolve issues of concern
- try to resolve matters without recourse to external dispute resolution processes or an employment tribunal.
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