employment law advice

Issues around unacceptable behaviour in the workplace may cause an employer to complain about an employee (worker). Unacceptable behaviour could include matters relating to absence, behaviour and quality of work.

Under Employment Law, there are procedures in place that must be followed to protect your rights. Initially the complaint is usually investigated by the employer internally.

Employers must have written rules about behaviour at work and what disciplinary action they will take if the rules are broken. Employees who take their employers to an Employment Tribunal and win could be paid more compensation if their employer did not follow the Acas code relating to grievance and disciplinary procedures. The amount of compensation you can win is reviewed annually and is subject to change.

If a complaint (grievance) is not properly dealt with, as an employee, you may be able to allege Constructive Dismissal or Unfair Dismissal at work.

Resolving a problem

If your employee has a complaint about you, you should first try to solve the  problem informally. If this does not solve the problem, your employer will need to make a formal complaint or grievance according to a set procedure.

The employer will have all the details of how this procedure works. There are also usually details about the procedure in your employment contract or staff handbook.

Your employer should arrange a disciplinary meeting/hearing or grievance meeting/hearing to provide the opportunity to officially raise a grievance and for each party to explain their side of the story. You have the right to be accompanied during the meeting.

Before the meeting, your employer should inform you of the allegation in writing, along with evidence and an invitation to the meeting. During the meeting, your employer should:

  • listen to your response to the allegations
  • take a break to consider all the evidence
  • make a decision on whether to issue a warning and if so, which level of warning

The outcomes could include no action, a written warning, final warning, demotion, dismissal or mediation with a co-worker. If you don’t agree with your employer’s decision, you can appeal against it. If the problem remains unresolved you may need to take it to an Employment Tribunal.

Find out more about disciplinary and grievance matters.

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