Handling Grievance & Discipline Procedures

The grievance procedure

Any worker may have concerns or complaints about their work, employment terms, working conditions or relationships with colleagues that they want to discuss or bring to your attention. They will want you to address and, if possible, resolve these grievances.

Handle these issues before they develop into more serious problems that can affect performance, morale and discipline.

Where a grievance applies to more than one person and you recognise a trade union, then you could resolve the problem through a collective agreement with that union.

There is no exhaustive list as to what you should include in your grievance procedure. It should aim to resolve problems as fairly and quickly as possible. The ACAS Code of practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures (PDF) sets out that a procedure should:

  • be straightforward and in writing
  • allow for the rapid resolution of problems
  • be made known to all workers

The stages contained in the procedure will vary with the size, type and structure of the business. It will usually specify:

  • how and to whom a worker should raise an issue
  • where to go next if the issue can’t be resolved at this level
  • what the time limits are for each stage of the procedure
  • the right to be accompanied by a colleague or trade union official at any hearing

Follow the guidance in the ACAS Code when dealing with grievances as in any later tribunal claim, the tribunal will take into account whether you have followed the Code.

The ACAS Code was revised in October 2004 to reflect changes requiring the introduction of minimum statutory grievance procedures. For more information on changes in the law, see discipline and grievance procedures and the employment contract.

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