Discipline and grievance

Your employer should have written procedures on discipline and grievance and if you are on the receiving end of a disciplinary letter make sure you have seen these and ask for a copy if you have not.


Regardless of any written procedures:


  • There should be a reasonable investigation.
  • Employers should inform employees of the basis of the problems.
  • Employers should allow employees to be accompanied at disciplinary or grievance meetings.
  • There should be a right of appeal.
  • It is also recommended that in misconduct cases, different people should carry out the investigation and disciplinary hearing.
  • If there is a disciplinary case to answer the employee should be notified of this in writing and offered enough information to allow the employee to prepare and answer a case. They should also be advised of their right to be accompanied.


The ACAS code can be downloaded here.


The employee is encouraged to try and resolve grievances informally, but if not able to do this, should raise the matter formally and without unreasonable delay. This should be done in writing so that the employer can understand what the complaint amounts to. The employer should invite the employee to a meeting, allow the employee to be accompanied and provide for a right of appeal.


Before lodging a grievance you should think carefully about what you want to achieve i.e the outcome you want. Try to be realistic. If you feel intimidated by a colleague or superior, you might not achieve their dismissal, but say what the impact of the person’s behaviour is for you and how you could be protected. This might be a move or even some training for the other person to help with their behaviour issues.


Where a grievance is raised during the disciplinary process, Acas suggests that the disciplinary process should be temporarily suspended to deal with the grievance unless they are essentially the same subject matter.