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Business Employment

Disciplinary & grievance


Working relationships are often key to the success of a business, and our employment lawyers understand that where issues arise, they need to be dealt with fairly, swiftly and with as little disruption as possible. 

We offer commercial and practical advice on handling poor performance and conduct issues through disciplinary action, as well as responding to employee grievances, to minimize the risk of Tribunal claims whilst maintaining good industrial/employee relations wherever possible. 

Employee Exits

We can support you with negotiating the exits of both junior and senior employees, with guidance on negotiating exit terms and drafting your settlement agreements. We advise on tricky issues such as notice pay, garden leave, restrictive covenants, share schemes, pension contributions and other employee benefits. We can also help you prepare for and undertake protected conservations to ensure the best outcome for the business.

Performance Management

Underperforming employees can have a detrimental impact on your business’ reputation, performance and staff morale. We can advise you on all aspects of handling performance issues, including performance improvement plans, drafting capability policies, taking disciplinary action, disability discrimination risks and without prejudice negotiations.

An exceptional balance of expertise and personality.”

Legal 500

FAQs – Disciplinary & grievance

A disciplinary procedure is an internal process that an employer has in place to address and deal with allegations of misconduct relating to its employees.  In some cases it may also be used to address issues of poor performance though it is common for employers to have a separate policy for performance management.

Employers should create written grievance and disciplinary policies clearly setting out its expectations and the procedures it has in place.

ACAS produce a guide on these processes (often referred to as the ‘ACAS Code’) which provides a strong foundation for the development of rules and procedures.  Where relevant, a failure to follow the ACAS Code will be taken into account by a Tribunal.

Yes, in the first instance employers will usually try and resolve matters informally.  However, a formal process would be used if this is not successful and/or if the employee requests this.

A grievance refers to a concern an employee has and wishes to raise with their employer.  It’s important for an employer to have an effective procedure for dealing with these so that it can investigate and properly address any concerns raised.

ACAS has produced a guidance document (often referred to as the ‘ACAS Code’) for disciplinary processes which provides a strong foundation for conducting disciplinary meetings. Where relevant, a failure to follow the ACAS Code will be taken into account by a Tribunal.

ACAS sets out the procedure to follow at the disciplinary hearing itself (as well as procedures preceding and following this stage) which includes allowing the individual to be accompanied by a trade union representative or colleague; clearly explaining the complaint to the employee; going through the evidence gathered; and allowing the employee to state their case, raise any relevant points, present evidence, call witnesses and ask questions.

This may differ for different employers and depending on the job roles concerned.  There will also be some instances of misconduct that are so serious they are classed as ‘gross misconduct’.

Examples of misconduct could include minor breaches to policies or contracts; poor timekeeping; damage to property; refusal to follow instructions; obscene language and unauthorised absence.  Examples of gross misconduct could include theft; fraud; misuse of company property; being under the influence of alcohol/illegal drugs at work;  violence; discrimination and serious or repeated breaches of company policy.  These are not exhaustive lists and there are many more examples of misconduct and gross misconduct.

Key contacts

Monica Atwal

Managing Partner

View profile

+44 118 960 4605

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