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Discipline and grievance: which half are you in?

Published: 16/12/11

Discipline and grievance: which half are you in?

Discipline and grievances are part and parcel of staff management and whatever size or type of business you’re in it requires careful and skilled handling.

A little over two years ago, ACAS launched its revised Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance procedures. The new Code set out a flexible, principles-based, good practice approach and fast became one of the cornerstones of conflict management in the workplace.

Recent research by ACAS has shown that the Code is already a key trigger in prompting organisations to review their disciplinary and grievance policies. Businesses that have revised their policies in line with the new Code have reported more positive handling of cases and faster resolution of issues.
ACAS’ own research in January 2011 showed that not all businesses had written formal procedures for discipline and/or grievances; in fact just over half surveyed had them in place.

The ACAS Code of Practice is available for download contains easy to understand sections on:


  1. Establish the facts of each case
  2. Inform the employee of the problem
  3. Hold a meeting with the employee to discuss the problem
  4. Allow the employee to be accompanied at the meeting
  5. Decide on appropriate action
  6. Provide employee with the opportunity to appeal
  7. Special cases (with Union Representatives; where a criminal offence has been committed)


  1. Let the employer know the nature of the grievance
  2. Hold a meeting with the employee to discuss the grievance
  3. Allow the employee to be accompanied at the meeting
  4. Decide on appropriate action
  5. Allow the employee to take the grievance further if not resolved
  6. Collective grievances

Help is at hand
There is a further guide on the ACAS website that covers the subject in much more detail with advice on mediation. And for those who need more help, ACAS run training courses in this area, they say: “As the authors of the Code, our training is among the best placed in this area and is led by experts who have extensive expertise in this field”.

The ACAS Code describes what to do and the training explains how to put it into practice. You will learn how to:

- develop a policy

- carry out a workplace investigation

- run a fair hearing and appeal

- handle an employee grievance

- assess seriousness and decide on appropriate outcomes

- tackle sensitive issues

- address issues early to prevent problems escalating

- increase your knowledge of the law surrounding the handling of Discipline and Grievance in the workplace.

Courses run at various dates and venues throughout the UK, check out the ACAS website www.acas.org.uk and you can also sign up for their email updates.

If you need to speak to someone from Flint call Shelley Ainsworth on 0845 371 1452 or email shelleyainsworth@flintinsurance.co.uk


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