Disciplinary and grievance hearings

Employers may need to take action about unsatisfactory performance or behaviour of the employee. A hearing is a formal opportunity where both parties can see relevant evidence and should be part of a formal improvement or disciplinary process.

An employer could face increased costs at an Employment Tribunal if he or she acts unreasonably in not following the disciplinary or capability procedure.

A hearing or meeting should be held as soon as possible. Both parties can bring evidence and witnesses to support their case and also ask questions.

When the procedure could result in a formal warning or other disciplinary action, employees have a statutory right to be accompanied at the hearing by a companion. The companion could be a fellow worker or a trade union representative or official. After the hearing, opportunities to improve, final written warnings and appeals should also be part of the process.

When an employee has a complaint about the employer or circumstances in the workplace, then he or she can lodge a grievance. The law does not set out a prescribed form for a grievance but Employment Tribunals have regard to the ACAS Code of Practice, 1 April 2009. The Employment Tribunal will take into account any failure to follow a procedure.

An employee’s complaint could involve: terms of employment, pay and working conditions, disagreements with co-workers, discrimination, and statutory employment rights.