With effect from 6 April 2009, employers should follow the basic practical guidance outlined in the revised ACAS Code of Practice on Discipline and Grievance which replaces the 2004 Statutory Procedures.
Although a failure to follow the Code does not, in itself, make an employer liable to proceedings, Tribunals will take the code into account when considering relevant Cases, and are also able to adjust any awards by up to 25 per cent.
This procedure must include the right for the employee to be accompanied in grievance hearings. It must give the employee the right to appeal against the initial decision.
Employers are encouraged, wherever possible, to attempt to resolve all grievances informally to avoid a formal grievance being presented.
In the event of a formal grievance being presented by an employee, employers should arrange a meeting without reasonable delay in order to discuss the complaint.
Employees have the right to be accompanied by a workplace colleague or a Trade Union Official at all formal grievance hearings.
Once the complaint has been fully investigated the employer should take one of the following routes:
- If a grievance is upheld, the employer should confirm in writing the result and then take the appropriate corrective action.
- If a grievance is partially upheld, the employer should confirm in writing the outcome, giving the employee the right to appeal and then take appropriate action.
- If the grievance is refuted, the employer should confirm in writing the outcome, giving the employee the right to appeal.
- If the employee appeals against the decision, the employer should arrange for the next level of the grievance procedure to be implemented.
Under the old 2004 procedures, employees could raise a grievance after they have left employment.. Employers need to ensure that if they receive a letter from their ex-employee or their legal advisors which sets out a complaint that took place prior to 6 April 2009, that they offer the person the opportunity to have the matter considered through the ‘old’ Statutory Grievance procedure.