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Discipline and grievance

Find out how to handle discipline and grievance issues at work with our selection of articles, books and online resources.

Legal Alert

Legal Alert is a monthly checklist from Atom Content Marketing highlighting new and pending laws, regulations, codes of practice and rulings that could have an impact on your business.

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The Library provides full text access to a selection of key business and reference eBooks from leading publishers. eBooks are available to logged-in ICAEW members, ACA students and other entitled users. If you are unable to access an eBook, please see our Help and support advice or contact library@icaew.com.


Briefings are four-page guides from Atom Content Marketing written for the busy practitioner, director and entrepreneur providing concise, practical advice on core business issues.

An email policy for your employees

A clear email policy helps prevent timewasting, protects data security and minimises the risk of legal problems. As well as setting out how employees can use email, the policy should cover any email monitoring you intend to carry out.

Comply with basic employment law

Employment law is a complex area that is full of pitfalls. Getting it right means keeping in touch with developments, thinking out your policies and implementing them with care. Getting it wrong could be extremely expensive.

Discipline and grievance issues

Good procedures enable you to deal with disciplinary and grievance issues consistently and fairly, with a view to sorting them out before they become serious. Fair and transparent procedures are also vital to help you avoid potential accusations of unfair dismissal.

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Online articles

The library provides access to a range of articles in full text from leading business, finance and management journals. Access to articles is provided to logged-in ICAEW members, ACA students and other entitled users subject to suppliers' terms of use.

Does a new tribunal decision mean expired warnings are past their "use by" date?

The author examines issues related to expired warnings for employee misconduct. He discusses the case Diosynth Ltd. v. Thomson wherein the company dismissed an operator at its chemical processing plant in relation to an explosion that led to a fatal accident after failing to conduct a safety process, four months after the expiration of a warning he received for failing to conduct the same safety process. He also analyzes the Scottish Court of Session's unfair dismissal decision on the case.

Do you hate your boss?

At least half of all employees have quit a job at some point because of their supervisor. People complain of bosses who bully them, micromanage, steal credit, hoard information, and otherwise make them unhappy—which threatens their productivity and the organization’s success. But don’t despair if you don’t get along with your boss. This article lays out steps you can take to improve the situation: Practice empathy. Behavioral research and neuroscience suggest that being mindful of the pressures on your boss and responding empathetically can trigger reciprocal support. Examine your role. Consider how you might be contributing to a negative dynamic, and seek training or advice to help you change your behavior. Talk to your boss. Start by asking how you can improve your performance and the relationship. If that isn’t fruitful, launch a frank conversation about the dysfunction in your interactions. Go to HR. As a last resort—and only if you have evidence to show that your boss is unfit—file a formal complaint. Leave. If you see no potential for change, it’s probably time to start job hunting

Disparity of treatment: when is it lawful to treat employees differently for the same misconduct

The article discusses the lessons from cases where employees in an organisation were dealt with differently for the same types of misconduct. Topics covered include ways disparity of treatment can arise, the focus of the tribunal in deciding if a dismissal is fair, and questions to consider to help determine if the circumstances of a particular incident are parallel and whether treatment may be justified.

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Useful links


Disciplining staff
Free templates for letters, forms and checklists produced by the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service. Example documents include:

  • letter giving an employee notice of a disciplinary meeting
  • letter giving an employee the decision of the disciplinary meeting
  • letter informing the employee what disciplinary action will be taken against them
  • letter giving the result of the appeal against the disciplinary action
  • employee's disciplinary record.

Code of Practice 1: Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures
Basic practical guidance for employers, employees and their representatives.

Discipline and grievances at work: The Acas guide
A comprehensive advisory handbook with appendices giving disciplinary rules for small organisations and sample disciplinary and grievance procedures.

Other resources

Handling an employee's grievance and Taking disciplinary action against an employee
Information from GOV.UK, mainly based on the ACAS Code of Practice above.

Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT)
The EAT hears appeals from decisions made by Employment Tribunals.

Appeal to the Employment Tribunal
Information about how to apply to tribunals in the event of a dispute and what to do if taken to a tribunal.

UK Employment Appeal Tribunal database
A searchable database containing full hearing judgments of the EAT which are transcribed or handed down by the Tribunal. Maintained by the British and Irish Legal Information Institute (BAILII).

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