Disciplinary, Dismissal & Grievance Procedures

Guidance for employers

Chapter 3: When procedures overlap

Complications can arise when the employee feels that a disciplinary action is unfair and based on discrimination. It is very important that you carefully examine the case for any action to make sure that it is firmly based on the conduct or capability of the employee, and not on a discriminatory reason. If the employee has been dismissed he or she does not need to raise a separate grievance. But if you have taken some other disciplinary action (e.g. demotion), the employee would need to start a grievance procedure before being allowed to take you to tribunal.

In practice this should be less complicated than it looks. If you feel one of your employees deserves to be disciplined or dismissed and you are satisfied that your reasons are sound then you should start the disciplinary proceedings by giving the employee the written statement and arranging the first meeting. If the employee feels that you are being unfair it is up to him or her to raise the matter in writing to you. This written statement can then be discussed at the first hearing or the appeal meeting. If the case then goes to a tribunal the employee will not have disqualified him or herself on the technical grounds that he or she failed to start a grievance procedure and you will not have had to arrange two sets of meetings. The important thing is that the matter will have been properly discussed in the workplace before any further action is taken.

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