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Disciplinary and grievance – top tips for businesses

An HR expert has given her top tips for businesses to properly deal with disciplinary and grievance procedures.

Nicola Mason, HR consultant at Napthens solicitors, explains that many businesses may find themselves in the position where it is necessary to conduct disciplinary or grievance proceedings.

These can be costly, with time and resources spent in dealing with them, and it can be easy for businesses to make a mistake.

Now Nicola has given her top tips to help businesses manage these processes effectively.

She explained: “Businesses should have policies, standards and procedures in place and ingrained into the ethic of the business which can help prevent these situations arising in the first place.

“Setting appropriate boundaries and values which employees are required to work within help demonstrate what the employee should be working towards and should help both divert grievance proceedings and identify where disciplinary proceedings are required.

“Being clear about what the company expects from its employees in terms of how they approach their work, their colleagues and customers should leave little to no room for manoeuvre when approaching a disciplinary scenario.

“Behavioural frameworks and values should make this unquestionably clear, however, further work on what these mean for employees on a daily basis will set good foundations to operate on. It is important that managers relay this message.”

Nicola’s top tips for managers when employees start to operate in a way that contradicts these expectations:

  • Make clear to employees that their behaviour is unacceptable and give them the opportunity to improve (except in serious misconduct cases). Where a grievance has been raised, give them the opportunity to resolve the issue informally in the first instance.
  • Act without unnecessary delay and appoint an investigating manager to investigate the occasion of misconduct/ the grievance with the appropriate employees and recommend next steps.
  • Appoint a new, impartial hearing manager who will carry out various steps including invite the individual(s) to a hearing, giving notice and the right of representation where required, consider whether an adjournment is necessary if the employee cannot attend the disciplinary hearing/meeting, and hold the meeting before adjourning to consider if further investigation is required into the allegations, or if a decision can be reached.
  • The hearing manager should ensure that where internal recommendations are made as part of the process, that these are followed up on to ensure that they do take place.
Employment and HR - HR Consultant - Nicola Mason