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How Grievance And Disciplinary Procedures Work And Exerting Your Rights

By: Chris Hogan MSc - Updated: 5 Feb 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Disciplinary Procedure Grievance Workers

Disciplinary procedures refer to the processes that are followed when a business investigates a problem with an employee or if an employee has a problem with their employer. This is referred to as a grievance procedure. In both cases, there are statutory minimum guidelines laid down by the government regarding Workers' Rights, but a company's procedure, as long as it follows those minimum guidelines, can add steps into the processes if they wish, and many do.

What to Do Before Grievance and Disciplinary Procedures Begin

In both disciplinary and grievance procedures, it's wise to try to deal with the problem informally first. No one enjoys going through these processes and if a problem can be sorted out by some communication between the people involved, so much the better. It doesn't make sense for an employer to throw the book at an employee because of, for example, lateness, without having a quiet word first to see if they can start getting in earlier.

It is also necessary to follow the procedures to the letter. If the situation is not resolved and has to go to an Employment Tribunal or other court, then it will not look good to the court if disciplinary or grievance procedures weren't followed by the business. This is because the procedures are seen as ways of resolving situations and courts will expect businesses and employers to use all means possible to settle a dispute before resorting to legal action. In an extreme case, it could be construed as a waste of the court's time.

What Are Disciplinary Procedures?

Regulations came into force in 2004 to make it compulsory for all businesses in the UK, regardless of size, to have a formally laid down procedure for resolving workplace disputes regarding staff. The procedure should, as a minimum, cover issuing employees with written statements about the grounds for disciplinary action, followed by a meeting to discuss it.

As part of their workers' rights, employees are allowed to be accompanied by another employee or a union representative at this meeting and any other meetings necessary throughout the process. There are time deadlines imposed for each. Employees are allowed to appeal against any decisions taken by employers after the meeting or meetings and if they are not satisfied after that appeal they may take to case to an employment tribunal.

In fact, many businesses have procedures that are more complex than those described above, this is just the minimum permitted by law. Employers must produce disciplinary procedure documentation and make it available to them – this only applies to employees. There is now a distinction between workers and employees with regard to workplace legislation.

What Happens with Grievance Procedures?

In essence, grievance procedures are similar to disciplinary procedures. The legal minimum is a three-step procedure; a written statement, a meeting, and an appeal meeting, if necessary. The written statement should be produced by the employee who has the grievance and handed to the person indicated in the procedure. If past written statements have not been acted upon (there are time limits for this), or the person that the employee has the problem with is the person who should accept the statement, then it should be passed to a human resources manager, and failing that, the owner of the business.

As with disciplinary meetings, as part of his worker's rights, an employee is allowed to be accompanied by either another member of staff or a union representative if they are a union member, and can take whatever notes they want. The purpose of the meeting is to first establish exactly what has happened and, hopefully, get agreement on those facts. Then the employee should detail what it has meant to them and why they have a grievance about the situation. Finally, an agreement will be arrived at as to how the problem can be resolved.

If the employee is not happy about the outcome of the meeting they have a right of appeal. At the appeal, which would follow much the same format of the previous meeting, the employee can outline their reasons for disagreeing with the decisions taken by the employer at the first meeting.

What Can You Do if the Dispute is Left Unresolved?

With both disciplinary and grievance procedures if an agreement still can't be reached after the appeal process, then the next step will have to be taking the dispute to mediation, conciliation, arbitration or an employment tribunal. Seek advice from the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) or the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS), details of which can be found online or in telephone directories.

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[Add a Comment]
Chan - Your Question:
I am self employed driver working for a big company. I had to ring up to find out that I was being dropped. I also had to put up with sexual discrimination and sexual harassment. Is there anyone out there who is willing to help as all I keep getting told is your self employed you done have rights

Our Response:
You can see more via the CAB link here, which should help answer your question.
WorkingRights - 6-Feb-18 @ 9:18 AM
I am self employed driver working for a big company. I had to ring up to find out that I was being dropped. I also had to put up with sexual discrimination and sexual harassment. Is there anyone out there who is willing to help as all I keep getting told is your self employed you done have rights
Chan - 5-Feb-18 @ 12:19 PM
Hi, I applied for an internal vacancy, full time position, and was told I was a very close second and that I would be offered the next available position. I was then offered a 16.5 hour contract, within the department that I had applied, shortly after but my Manager said the they would not be able to facilitate it in conjunction with my existing position. I have since applied for another vacancy, which is exactly the same criteria and position in the same department but have been unsuccessful. Not only do I not understand this but am furious to have been told, even before the job vacancy was officially closed, that others had been short listed and then have interview dates!! How do I officially complain? Stujay .
stujay - 5-Jan-18 @ 4:41 PM
Dean - Your Question:
I was dismissed from my job for faulsafing documents. Can they sack you on the spot for this

Our Response:
You can see more via the ACAS link here . You may wish to speak to ACAS directly.
WorkingRights - 21-Sep-17 @ 4:13 PM
I was dismissed from my job for faulsafing documents.Can they sack you on the spot for this
Dean - 21-Sep-17 @ 1:07 PM
@Lou - Did you call the police? It's the first thing I would have done.
Jo89 - 12-Sep-17 @ 2:17 PM
I have been working as an apprentice hairdresser for 3 months. I had money taken from my handbag which was left in the staff room. When I asked for the cctv to be checked they wouldn't do it and then sacked me the next day with no warning for apparently being rude which I wasn't. What can I do?
Lou - 11-Sep-17 @ 6:01 PM
Lasaint - Your Question:
I have had a investagation meeting with my manager now I been called to a disciplinary meeting-for misconduct can I be sacked I have been with the company for a year

Our Response:
You can see more via the gov.uk link here which should answer your question.
WorkingRights - 3-May-17 @ 2:51 PM
I have had a investagation meeting with my manager now I been called to a disciplinary meeting-for misconduct can I be sacked I have been with the company for a year
Lasaint - 30-Apr-17 @ 9:32 PM
I work in a shop.I ended up serving my self but only scanned 3 items when there was four.got receipt etc but I left the items there anyway. Found nxt day
Ally - 27-Apr-17 @ 10:11 PM
Reggie - Your Question:
I was dismissed from Sainsbury I did not keep in con tact with them as was told to look on line see what else I could do I was off becuase my sister was told she had a brin tuma I had the meeting he said it still stands as I had only done 2 shifts there I told him I wanted to go back he was not haveing any of it

Our Response:
If you were on your probationary (trial) period with the company (usually a period of three or six months), the company has a right to dismiss you if it does not think you are suitable for the job.
WorkingRights - 15-Mar-17 @ 10:38 AM
I was dismissed from Sainsbury I did not keep in con tact with them as was told to look on line see what else I could do I was off becuase my sister was told she had a brin tuma I had the meeting he said it still stands as I had only done 2 shifts there I told him I wanted to go back he was not haveing any of it
Reggie - 14-Mar-17 @ 9:31 AM
Robin - Your Question:
Hi I was suspended with pay on Friday as they said I stole a tool out of a workmates van but I did not take anything as I had borrowed a saw and was putting it back and picked a tool up to look at it and they said I stole it but the tool was in the van and it was then taken further and I was suspended and told I would be lettered to tell me what was being done I received my letter this morning and was told to attend a informal meeting to which they said I will need to attend a disciplinary to see what will be done and to take a person with me my union rep

Our Response:
You can see the how the procedure in full via the gov.uk link here.
WorkingRights - 17-Jan-17 @ 12:17 PM
Hi I was suspended with pay on Friday as they said I stole a tool out of a workmates van but I did not take anything as I had borrowed a saw and was putting it back and picked a tool up to look at it and they said I stole it but the tool was in the van and it was then taken further and I was suspended and told I would be lettered to tell me what was being done I received my letter this morning and was told to attend a informal meeting to which they said I will need to attend a disciplinary to see what will be done and to take a person with me my union rep
Robin - 16-Jan-17 @ 4:36 PM
I have been bullied at work after refusing to follow some of my employers unlawful "procedures" now i find out im up for a disaplinary on the grounds of negligence .Totally untrue and assumption made by another staff member(friend of the manager) but im worried this is being used topunish me ( like a threat to do it there way or else) .im also worried if i keep my job what in will be accused of next (in the health care prof )
Amzart - 22-Nov-16 @ 11:35 AM
Hi im facing a possible disciplinary procedure is there a certain length of time (by law) from when the incident happened to the disciplinary hearing as I've heard it is 2 weeks?
Ad - 18-Sep-16 @ 9:01 PM
I work as a HGV DRIVER for this company I have been employed since 2003. I was called into the office earlier this week, and was sent home on diseplinery until further notice.Someone reported that I pushed back their car with the lorry and they have it on CCTV, Ihad no knowledge of the accident.I do remember a Car Alarm going off on the said day ,I got out of the lorry had a look at the vehicle , but it was not touching the Car .The car did not have any damage to indicate that I have or may have touched it. Myself and my Co worker continued to do our daily work emptying the bins in the local area which is the same road the said car was parked. I did not reportan accident to the company as I had no knowledge of hitting or touching the car. I would definitely report this if I had knowledge of it , as I have reported other incidents in the past. It is COMPANY'S PROCEDURES. Itake my job very seriously,I enjoy my job .I do not take any sickness absence. I am quite surprised and shocked at all this , because as far as I am concerned to my knowledge I did not touch the car , until the management of the company showed me the video from the CCTV. Can they sack me?
Alfred - 8-Jul-16 @ 10:45 AM
A member of staff walked off their shift and refused to do it. What would be the legal way to go ? Verbal or terminated contract.
Gullible - 6-Jul-16 @ 9:17 PM
Crazy girl36 - Your Question:
Hi can you please give me some advice work for sainsburys an was off sick but never followed right absent procedures so ended up getting a straight written warning that was over 3 months ago so other week ended up goin out of hours dentist with the pain I had in my tooth was fit in work at 4am but never got intouch till the next day after wen my next shift started due to being up all night in pain so slept all day ,, work never entered my head at the time coz I need to get help with the pain I was in ended up being an abscess in my moth so now there looking on giving me a final warning

Our Response:
A final written warning is issued when the offence committed by the employee is seen to be serious, or there has been insufficient change in behaviour within a set time, or if a further offence of a similar kind has happened. This warning should be for a set time and state the change in behaviour needed and that further misconduct could lead to dismissal, please see ACAS link here.
WorkingRights - 27-Jun-16 @ 10:07 AM
Hi can you please give me some advice work for sainsburys an was off sick but never followed right absent procedures so ended up getting a straight written warning that was over 3 months ago so other week ended up goin out of hours dentist with the pain I had in my tooth was fit in work at 4am but never got intouch till the next day after wen my next shiftstarted due to being up all night in pain so slept all day ,, work never entered my head at the time coz I need to get help with the pain I was in ended up being an abscess in my moth so now there looking on giving me a final warning
Crazy girl36 - 26-Jun-16 @ 12:12 AM
Hi, an employee within my company has recently had a displinary, for what should of been Gross-misconsuct, for System abuse, and not hit basic KPI's. When attending the Disiplinary, he was asked if he was bringing anyone in with him, he stated no, 30seconds later the CEO/ MD attended saying he was his spokesperson. Staff within the company and myself feel this is unfair and the MD/CEO had unfairly represented this employee. Legally can we complain to the Head of HR, stating this was unfair.
MrCorporate - 23-May-16 @ 5:51 PM
We can use personal chat at work if 2 people were talking about you on this chat and you seen it as the chat was open. When confronted about the commentsthey were deleted this but kept your response and made a allogation about you for reading it. I am now facing a disciplinary can they do this just on there word
Noddy - 30-Apr-16 @ 6:42 PM
I've had days off work recently but they've all been scattered about the last few months and it's all because my girlfriend had a miscarriage and it's really hit me hard and is really affecting me I've now got a meeting to discuss why I've been off and why it's affecting my work, but my employer hasn't said to me directly as I'm a training school and they've told me that I've got to have one, help what do I do ?
Matt - 15-Apr-16 @ 12:16 PM
nyza - Your Question:
I fall asleep at work and some guy photo shoot me and send it to the office and was suspended said must wait for hearing and will be fired is it fair dismisall

Our Response:
It depends on what the reasons are and whether this is an isolated incident or one that is frequent, or whether it may be through the likes of illness, stess, or through late-night partying. Your line manager will have to first investigate the reason why and once investigated, the next task will be to decide how best to address it.
WorkingRights - 21-Mar-16 @ 10:57 AM
I fall asleep at work and some guy photo shoot me and send it to the office and was suspended said must wait for hearing and will be fired is it fair dismisall
nyza - 18-Mar-16 @ 8:27 AM
Hi I walked on on my office shift the other day, after the CEO phoned from home cos staff had been paid wrong, he told me one thing and I passed this on to staff and then he said this isn't what was said, although it's not written down. He phoned me when I got home and told me to have the rest of the day off and the weekend and would meet up Monday, he phoned again about an hour later and said I was being suspended and the reasons were Leaving the office without his permission Being violent to equipment in front of staff and a member of care staff As the senior in the office leaving the office Leaving a new member of staff to deal with my work Not giving a hand over Not sorting out shifts I didn't act violently I never said a word unhitched my computer As the CEO says there is no senior person in the office only the CEO himself All rotas were completed and needed to be emailed to staff I have my disciplinary meeting on Monday. Can they sack me? How shall I deal with the disciplinary meeting
Diseal - 9-Mar-16 @ 9:35 PM
Hi I walked on on my office shift the other day, after the CEO phoned from home cos staff had been paid wrong, he told me one thing and I passed this on to staff and then he said this isn't what was said, although it's not written down. He phoned me when I got home and told me to have the rest of the day off and the weekend and would meet up Monday, he phoned again about an hour later and said I was being suspended and the reasons were Leaving the office without his permission Being violent to equipment in front of staff and a member of care staff As the senior in the office leaving the office Leaving a new member of staff to deal with my work Not giving a hand over Not sorting out shifts I didn't act violently I never said a word unhitched my computer As the CEO says there is no senior person in the office only the CEO himself All rotas were completed and needed to be emailed to staff I have my disciplinary meeting on Monday. Can they sack me? How shall I deal with the disciplinary meeting
Diseal - 9-Mar-16 @ 6:44 PM
Hi I have had 3 to 4 days off work in the last few month firstly because my grandad died who I was really close to and the last time was due to being ill sick cudnt get out of bed. I spoke to my manager on the phone on my last day of sickness and she sed she wanted to have a meeting with me does this mean I will get sacked I havnt had any warnings
Amy1234 - 19-Feb-16 @ 9:09 AM
Hi, I have been at my job for 2 years now. I have had a lot of absences due to my health and my mum had a stroke, I am on my final written warning for absence. Now I left 4 mins early last week to take my medication and they have classed this as a misconduct I will have a disaplinary meeting tomorrow, this could lead to a no further action, first written warning or a final warning now I have never had a disaplinary meeting for misconduct so if I get a final warning could this lead to them terminating my contract as I have a live final warning on my file already?
Mesha - 17-Feb-16 @ 11:04 AM
nat - Your Question:
Hi just finished work.forgot to say thankyou to a customer.only time its happened.she told me I was rude.I apologised.she still waited told me it was rude.walked out.fear she may put in a formal complaint.can I be dismissed.didn't say anything else to customer as didn't want to argue.was no intent on my part.

Our Response:
Unless you have had previous warnings from your employer about conduct, this is not a sackable offence.
WorkingRights - 3-Feb-16 @ 1:53 PM
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