Friday, 25 November 2022 09:01

Disciplinary & Grievance Procedure

Disciplinary and Grievance are amongst the top issues that come to mind when HR is the topic of conversation. As we return to business-as-usual following Covid, we have seen a steady increase in the number of cases. We are quite often asked to intervene for businesses in disciplinary and/or grievance cases as, understandably, most people don’t find it a pleasant process to go through.

It can be very tempting, and all too easy, to err towards taking a relaxed approach when somebody raises a grievance or when an incident arises that requires some form of disciplinary action. There are times when keeping a situation informal can be the right approach. It saves time and, as colleagues still need to work with one another, can keep a lid on conflict in the workplace.

However, the main problem with informality however is that there is rarely proper closure to a matter. We would recommend that only experienced managers who have a good understanding of their team members try to handle issues informally.

Whilst taking the formal route will be a lot more time consuming, handled properly it will put an issue to bed. Formality also means notes and records are kept so that if a situation ever escalates, there is a documented audit trail to refer to.

By law, your disciplinary and grievance policy must be readily available for scrutiny by any employee and should ordinarily reside within your staff handbook. Make sure that your procedure is clear and unambiguous and plainly states the various levels of disciplinary action which is usually verbal warning through to dismissal.

All disciplinary and grievance matters should undergo a fair investigation in the first instance, and this would normally be carried out by a line manager. The investigation should gather all relevant evidence and interviews should be held with all involved parties and with anyone who is able to provide evidence for the case. This may be any number of employees or just the subject of the disciplinary matter. Since Covid and the rise of working from home, it can be acceptable to hold these interviews via Zoom or Teams.

At the investigation stage, for a disciplinary subject there is no right of representation. However, where someone has raised a grievance, they do have a right to be accompanied by a representative, but his person should be a work colleague or appointed official of a recognised Trade Union during the investigation.

Once your investigation is concluded, for disciplinary matters, if some form of discipline is required, you may then call the subject to a disciplinary meeting. You must give reasonable notice of a disciplinary meeting and we recommend at least 48 hours.

In grievance cases, you should again call a meeting to discuss your findings and whether the grievance point(s) have been upheld or not.

Employees have a right to appeal any disciplinary or grievance decision and this should be heard in a timely manner and by someone at least equal in status to the original case handler.

Representation during the disciplinary meeting should be offered. If the employee chooses not to be represented, make sure he or she is aware of their right and have this minuted.

Because of the difficult conversations that are usually involved it’s easy to see why disciplinary and grievance procedures are often carried out poorly, consequently becoming costly. However, you should apply rigour in all policies, procedures and processes.

You'll be pleased to know that we’re here to help, assist with, attend at, and carry out disciplinary procedures and grievance hearings for clients and customers. If you require some support call us on 01452 331331 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Read 701 times Last modified on Friday, 25 November 2022 10:20


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