Disciplinary and grievance | 5 practical tips | Paris Smith | Southampton Skip to content

Tabytha Cunningham | 2nd November 2021

5 practical tips to effectively manage disciplinary and grievance issues


Tabytha Cunningham | 2nd November 2021

5 practical tips to effectively manage disciplinary and grievance issues

Our next line manager training session will provide a guide to dealing with disciplinary and grievance issues, looking at the key issues employers need to be aware of via practical examples. Ahead of the training session, here are our top five practical tips to ensure effective management of disciplinary and grievance issues.

  1. Don’t ignore minor issues

    It is important that managers act promptly to deal with minor issues as and when they arise. In relation to conduct issues, this helps ensure that employees clearly understand the standard that is expected of them, for example, raising an employee’s failure to attend work on time informally before it escalates to a more serious issue. In relation to grievance issues, this helps to try and address minor issues before they escalate and positions become more entrenched. Managers should be trained to look out for concerns raised by employees that may become grievances and, if appropriate, take steps to resolve these informally.

  2. Treat employees consistently

    One of the most common issues raised by employees is consistent treatment. Employees accused of misconduct will regularly point to another employee who they perceive has “got away with” the same behaviour. You need to be clear that all employees are treated alike. Equally many grievance issues are connected with concerns that managers are treating other employees more favourably, for example giving key projects to favoured employees, or treating other employees’ input more seriously. Managers should ensure that they are seen to act consistently in the way they treat all employees and do not show favouritism.

  3. Follow your procedures!

    When dealing with any disciplinary or grievance procedure it is crucial to ensure that any company policies or procedures in place are adhered to. You also should follow the ACAS Code of Practice. These standard procedures are designed to ensure that you follow a fair process and give the employee a full opportunity to participate in the process. By failing to act promptly or to follow these procedures, you are giving employees easy points to raise against you, and potentially the basis for an unfair dismissal claim.

  4. Don’t miss grievances

    Usually an employee will be clear when submitting a grievance that they intend for this to be dealt with via the grievance procedure. However, there is no legal requirement that an employee state that their concern is a grievance. A grievance is simply any concern the employee raises regarding their employment. Employers are expected to be alert to grievances and to offer the employee the opportunity for their concerns to be treated as such, even if this is not clear from the outset. The biggest risk area for employers is potential grievances contained in resignation letters. Many employees seeking to bring a constructive unfair dismissal claim will raise concerns within their resignation letter. Even if not stated to be a grievance, employers should offer the opportunity for these concerns to be considered under the grievance procedure to protect their position in any subsequent claim.

  5. Determine the best route to take

    Often disciplinary and grievance issues will overlap. An employee may raise a grievance as part of the disciplinary process. Alternatively, a grievance may lead to a disciplinary process against other employees, if concerns regarding conduct are upheld.

In each scenario employers must consider the best route to take, for example whether the grievance is really part of the employee’s response to the disciplinary allegations and therefore can be considered as part of this, or whether the disciplinary should be adjourned to allow a grievance investigation to take place. Where you have overlapping issues it is also important to consider at the start who should investigate and hear the various matters, to ensure that you leave suitable individuals available for the appeal stage.

If you would like to book on to the next training session on 18 May 2022 please visit the event and book your place.

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