The benefits of a disciplinary and grievance procedure is the structure and job security they provide, resulting in an increase in the efficiency of the organisation. Grievance and disciplinary policies and procedures are equally important for employers and employees.
What is a grievance procedure?
A grievance is a concern, problem or complaint that a member of staff raises. The benefits of a disciplinary and grievance procedure ensure staff are encouraged to informally discuss grievances with their managers are less likely to make a formal complaint. One to one sessions, team meetings or in general day to day communications can encourage this. Open and honest staff, comfortable with discussing concerns will promote a healthy and happy work environment.
As such managers should listen, engage and respond appropriately. Resolving issues early prevents concerns and problems from spiralling out of control and becoming serious. However, in some cases the issue may be too big to solve in this way. In this instance a grievance procedure is necessary.
A grievance policy and procedure gives both employers and employees clear guidelines and instructions. Grievance procedures must include the following steps:
- A grievance letter from the employee – providing details of the grievance. This can include the way they wish to resolve the matter. The letter must be dated and a copy kept by all parties.
- A meeting set up to discuss the grievance – this meeting will establish facts and explore ways to resolve the problem. Possibly carried over into a second meeting if further information is required. The employee is entitled to be accompanied by another person such as a colleague or trade union official.
- A decision – Clearly made with actions if necessary. Within an acceptable, agreed timescale.
- Appeal – Employees have the right to appeal if they are not satisfied with the decision.
What is a Disciplinary Procedure?
Like the grievance procedure, a disciplinary procedure will follow a pattern of steps. Importantly these steps must be followed in order. They are:
1. Verbal warning – delivered at a manager arranged meeting. Focused on a discussion of the problem. Following this the employee can respond and explain their actions. Subsequently a letter is sent to the employee stating a verbal warning was given. Details of improvements required and timescales for actions must be clearly outlined. The letter should also state failure to do so will escalate the matter to stage 2.
2. Written warning – clearly setting out the problem, suggests solutions and advises of the consequences (including dismissal) if no improvement is made within the 3 months.
3. Final warning – send if the agreed improvement is not made. Clearly stating improvement must be made or the employee will be dismissed.
4. Dismissal – if improvement doesn’t take place, dismissal is the only remaining option. This will take place at a meeting. The employee should be given 14 days to appeal the decision. A letter must be sent, confirming their dismissal.
Gross or serious misconduct – In this instance management are able to go straight to stage 4 or 5.
Who is responsible for dealing with Disciplinary and Grievance procedures?
Managers and HR are responsible for providing information and handling discipline and grievance issues. All businesses and companies must have an up to date grievance policy and procedure in place. This will outline exactly how grievances should be dealt with. This could be found in:
A company handbook
Human Resources manual
HR Internet site
As an employer it is important to follow a grievance procedure to make sure you have done everything appropriate to deal with the matter. Following a procedure will take emotion, hearsay, personal opinion and bias out of the matter. You deal with the facts of the situation in an ordered and systematic way. This will avoid the possibility of you and your company being accused of unfair treatment of staff and possibly ending up in front of an employment tribunal.
Engage in Learning provide and online Discipline and Grievance training course. This course will help you understand policies and procedures, apply these in your work and know who to talk to if you have questions or concerns on the issue.