Disciplinary Procedures & Grievance: A Guide for Managers

Our guide to dealing with disciplinary and grievance with an employee

As an employer, you will encounter staff with poor performance or who commit minor breaches of the company’s rules or are guilty of serious breaches.

All of these people problems need timely and correct handling. We will make sure you have a comprehensive disciplinary and grievance procedure.

If desired, we can carry out investigations and even be there in person to make the whole process as painless as possible.

With our advice, you can be reassured that your processes will be legally compliant.

Disciplinary issues fall into two main categories: misconduct for minor infringements and gross misconduct which may result in summary dismissal.

The disciplinary grievance policy we provide will meet your specific needs.

Investigations into staff misconduct

A thorough investigation into any employee misconduct or a grievance allegation must be undertaken, unless the situation is irrefutable.

It is critically important that an investigation into an employee is seen to be thorough, fair, and independent, otherwise there is risk of unfair dismissal.

Where possible, the investigating officer should not be involved with any subsequent hearing.

Failing to follow procedures correctly can be incredibly costly and damaging for a company’s reputation, which is why it is so important to hire a professional to ensure you are legally compliant from start to finish.

We can provide impartiality for smaller firms who do not have sufficient resources in-house.

What are the Disciplinary and grievance processes & procedures?

A disciplinary procedure helps employers to deal with employee misconduct, which relates to improper behaviour or poor performance at work.

A grievance procedure is a process by which an employee raises an issue or complaint they have at work. An employee may choose to do this by raising it informally at first, then if not satisfied, raise it formally in writing.  Employers must meet with the individual to understand the issue and then, if appropriate, investigate the complaint.

Businesses should document disciplinary and grievance processes and procedures so that these are clear.

What happens during a Disciplinary Procedure?

A disciplinary procedure should include:

Investigation – It is crucial to have all the facts and details about the case before taking any further action. Employees usually do not have the right to be accompanied at investigatory hearings.

Communication –The employee is informed in writing that a disciplinary hearing will take place and that they have the right to be accompanied by a work colleague or Trade Union representative. They must be given the investigation report and informed of the possible penalty.

Meetings – Such as an investigation meeting or disciplinary hearing. We can explain the difference and what should happen when.

Conclusion – The disciplinary hearing must come to a fair and reasonable conclusion. The employee has a right to appeal.

What are the steps of a Grievance Procedure?

Upon receiving a grievance letter from an employee, you should take the following steps.

Hold a meeting – Set up a meeting to discuss the grievance raised. This should give all parties involved the opportunity to make their case and discuss how the grievance can be resolved.
Keep written records of what is discussed during the grievance procedure and whether an outcome is achieved.

Investigate – If appropriate, you may wish to investigate the grievance further before making any final decisions.

Conclude – Once the grievance has been investigated thoroughly, you will need to decide whether you uphold the grievance and if any action is necessary.  You will also need to agree a timescale with the employee for which you plan to do this. If you find that the grievance is not upheld the employee may decide to appeal. On rare occasions an appeal can lead to mediation, otherwise the grievance could end up being dismissed.

Capability policies and guidance

There are some employees who underperform because they do not have the necessary skills to do their job and there are others who’ve had so much sick leave that an unfair burden is placed on their colleagues.

To handle these situations, you’ll need a capability policy and guidance on how to manage an employee back to full performance or, if necessary, out of the business.

The process for which typically involves regular meetings with the employee and agreeing targets to assess performance over a set period of time.  It is only if these targets are not met that a disciplinary process may be required.

Care is needed when handling ill health dismissals to ensure you’re not faced with a disability discrimination claim. We can help with all of this and so much more so get in touch with one of our experienced HR professionals today.

Moving forward

If you’ve reached a dead end, The HR Dept can help you get back on track.

Want to know more about disciplinary and grievance procedures? Simply call or email us and we’ll discuss next steps.

Up next read more about staff performance appraisals

Disciplinary & Grievance FAQ

Can a grievance result in a disciplinary?

Yes. If the grievance involves allegations against another individual such as a colleague or manager, then disciplinary action may be appropriate. The grievance should be investigated thoroughly before taking any disciplinary action.

What is the difference between a complaint and a grievance?

A complaint should be considered as a grievance. The main difference is whether or not it has been raised and dealt with informally or formally in writing.

What happens if a grievance cannot be resolved?

On the rare occasion that a grievance cannot be resolved, mediation may be used to help both sides reach an agreement or manage conflict between two parties. The ‘mediator’ is independent and impartial so they do not take sides and they cannot force a solution – both parties must agree. Mediation is a service that we can provide.

Why do organisations need both grievance and disciplinary procedures?

Disciplinary and grievance procedures both service distinct purposes and are equally important for employers and employees. They ensure concerns and complaints are dealt with fairly and consistently from both sides of the workplace.

What are the different types of grievance in the workplace?

There are many different types of grievances in the workplace. Some of the most common include:

Bullying and harassment
Work conditions

What are the benefits of disciplinary procedures?

Disciplinary procedures are an important management tool because they make clear what is and is not acceptable conduct and behaviour in the workplace. Disciplinary procedures also ensure employees are treated fairly and consistently, which minimises the risk of being accused of discrimination or unfair dismissal.

Should a grievance be heard before a disciplinary?

If an employee raises a grievance before a disciplinary hearing, it may be appropriate to suspend the hearing, however this is not a necessary action and will always be at the employer’s discretion.

What should I do after a grievance is filed?

After a grievance is filed, a meeting will be held between an employer and employee to discuss the issue and to see if a decision on how to resolve it can be reached. If an employee is not satisfied with the outcome, they might decide to appeal the decision.

Related Services

Staff Training & Development

Company Policy Production

Employment Tribunal Insurance

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