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Blog  »  April 2015  »  What you need to know when relationships are failing! - Blog
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Apr 15

Posted by
Michelle Arkins

What you need to know when relationships are failing!

All employers need to know how to discipline their employees fairly. Legislation and Codes of Practice place great emphasis on procedural fairness when dealing with grievances. In some instances, a grievance may lead to a constructive dismissal if it is not handled correctly. Mishandling disciplinary issues gives rise to a huge number of employment tribunal claims every year including breach of contract, unfair dismissal and discrimination.

Do you know employer’s in the UK are not legally obliged to follow the Acas statutory Code of Practice on discipline and grievance procedures should it become necessary to dismiss an employee. However, failure to do so can result in any compensation awarded in a subsequent claim brought by the employee being increased by up to 25% for not following fair and consistent procedures.

Employers who have disciplinary procedures in place must put their procedures in writing, and make it easily available to their employees (for example, by giving details in the staff handbook). It should include the procedures followed during the disciplinary process, what performance and behaviour might lead to disciplinary action, and what action your employer might take.

An employer should follow a proper disciplinary process if it believes that an employee may be guilty of misconduct. As far as possible, the aim of the disciplinary procedure should be to improve conduct, rather than simply to punish wrongdoing.

Employers are advised to follow the Acas statutory Code of Practice on discipline and grievance procedures. It provides basic practical guidance to employers, employees and their representatives and sets out principles for handling disciplinary and grievance situations in the workplace. Click here for a detailed overview.

Disciplinary procedures should include the following steps:

1. A letter setting out the issue.
2. A meeting to discuss the issue.
3. A disciplinary decision.
4. A chance to appeal this decision.

Having a well drafted company disciplinary policy and procedure in place is critical for all employers; without the latter in place, defending claims of unfair dismissal or constructive dismissal would be incredibly difficult.

The majority of unfair dismissal claims are lost by employers because they fail to follow fair procedures during the disciplinary process or simply don’t follow any!

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Posted in Company handbook, Contract of employment, Dismissals

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