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Top tips for managing discipline and grievances effectively

Written by Simon Morgan,  HR Dept South East London and North Kent

No matter the size of your business, or however informal the culture, it’s essential that you have effective disciplinary and grievance procedures in place.

What are the benefits of an effective disciplinary and grievance process?

Whilst employers are required by law to have written disciplinary and grievance procedures, they exist to protect both employers and employees. They ensure that:

  • Everyone knows how disciplinary and grievance problems will be dealt with.
  • Everyone is dealt with fairly and consistently.
  • Challenges are resolved as quickly and as smoothly as possible.

What do effective disciplinary and grievance policies look like?

Though each policy should be tailored to the specifics of your organisation, it’s crucial that you follow the Acas Code of Practice. Should a dismissal or grievance be taken to an employment tribunal, any awards may be adjusted by up to 25% for an unreasonable failure to comply with the Code.

As with any employment policies, your discipline and grievance policies should be formal, written ones that can be easily accessed by all employees.

How can you make sure that your disciplinary and grievance policies are effective?

For them to be effective, you need to make sure that:

  • They are communicated to all staff. As a minimum, each employee should know that the policies exist and know where to find them, eg in an employee handbook.
  • Every line manager is properly trained on the discipline and grievance processes.
  • Managers and staff are encouraged to deal informally with any disciplinary and grievance issues that may arise (if appropriate) and always as early as possible.
  • The policies are kept under review to ensure that they comply with current law and follow the Acas Code, as well as after each time that they are used.

For more help understanding how to manage discipline and grievances effectively, contact