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Successful Disciplinary & Grievance Handling: What Small Businesses Need to Know


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How to: follow procedures correctly, conduct a disciplinary meeting, communicate sensitively & effectively for the best outcome for your business and your people.

Unhappy or poorly-performing employees can have a huge impact on your business's performance.

It's not only their work that suffers, it can also affect staff morale, customer service and sales. You know you have to tackle the problem, but how do you do it in a constructive, fair and effective way?

To avoid an employment tribunal it is essential that you follow a fair procedure.

We describe very clearly the actions you should take to ensure that you treat your staff 'fairly'. We explain each stage of the process and give you practical tips for a successful outcome.

Getting it wrong can cost your business thousands of pounds. Discover exactly what you need to know to ensure you hand disciplinary and grievance successfully in your small business.

Debbie Glinnan
HR Consultant & Mediator, Parallel HR

Julie Howell
Communication Coach, Julie Howell Communications

Published in: Leadership & Management
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Successful Disciplinary & Grievance Handling: What Small Businesses Need to Know

  1. 1. Disciplinary & Grievance Handling Presented by Parallel HR Ltd & Julie Howell Communications Ltd Debbie Glinnan Julie Howell
  2. 2. This presentation is available as a recorded webcast that contains a great deal more information and a Q&A. To receive the link to the FREE webcast contact Julie Howell at
  3. 3. Outline ACAS Code of Practice The investigation How to prepare The disciplinary meeting Decision making Grievance
  4. 4. Carmelli Bakeries Ltd v Benali Follow a fair procedure Chef used non-kosher jam Potentially fair dismissal Failed to follow correct procedure. Ordered to pay £000s
  5. 5. Code of Practice Follow the ACAS code of practice. Not legally binding. Awards can be increased by up to 25%.
  6. 6. The ACAS Code of Practice Raise and deal with issues promptly. Act consistently. Carry out any necessary investigations. Give evidence and opportunity to put their case before any decisions are made. May be accompanied at any formal meeting. Right to appeal.
  7. 7. Disciplinary – Establish Facts Investigatory meeting. Investigate fully and collect evidence. No disciplinary action at the investigatory meeting. Suspension must be paid. Short a time as possible.
  8. 8. Disciplinary - Inform Ideally 3 days written notice Give full details Including copies of evidence Say if dismissal is possible Right to be accompanied
  9. 9. Right to be Accompanied A fellow worker Minute Taker Union Rep
  10. 10. The Meeting Review your evidence. Prepare questions in advance. In a confidential room. No interruptions. Remind of right to be accompanied. Stay calm. Adjourn before making a decision.
  11. 11. Disciplinary – Decision Making • Secret recordings. • Is any disciplinary action warranted? • Reasonable sanction? • Confirm in writing. • State the reason and the improvement expected. • Word it carefully. • Set a time for review. • If they fail to improve. • Remains current for limited time. • Right of appeal.
  12. 12. Gross Misconduct Immediate dismissal for a first offence. Follow a fair disciplinary process. No notice/notice pay will be due.
  13. 13. Appeal Process Can appeal against any disciplinary action. Insist appeals are made in writing by a set time. Mirrors disciplinary process. Manager not previously been involved. Inform of the outcome asap. No further right of appeal.
  14. 14. Grievances Establish the facts. Notice of formal hearing. Right to be accompanied. Decision after the meeting. Inform them accordingly. Right to appeal.
  15. 15. Recommended Actions • Follow the ACAS C.O.P. for all disciplinary & grievances. • Suspend with pay while investigating gross misconduct. • If you are unhappy with performance, act early.
  16. 16. Dignity & Responsibility • Keep dignity front-of-mind • Take responsibility for ensuring dignity Clarity • Ensure you have been understood • Ensure that you understand = rapport
  17. 17. Before the meeting begins Don’t leave sensitive documents on the printer or photocopier
  18. 18. Before the meeting begins Glass walls? Draw the blinds. No blinds? Use another room.
  19. 19. Before the meeting begins Allow the person who is subject to the meeting to sit closest to the door
  20. 20. Before the meeting begins Do not allow anyone to interrupt the meeting
  21. 21. Before the meeting begins Turn your smartphone off & divert your calls
  22. 22. Before the meeting begins Make a glass of water and a box of tissues available
  23. 23. Before the meeting begins A round table is less confrontational
  24. 24. Responsibility • It is your responsibility to ensure the employee understands what is happening & has a positive experience during the meeting regardless of outcome • The grievance meeting is NOT a confrontation • It is extremely difficult to predict how the employee will react • Even if the employee has openly expressed a desire to leave the company or talked openly about how little the situation bothers him/her, he/she may find the reality of the meeting distressing • You may find the employee’s emotional reaction surprising & distressing
  25. 25. During the meeting • Allow him/her to react • Be alert to signs that he/she understands what you’re saying and the implications of what you’re saying • Tell nothing but the truth • Pause frequently, don’t bombard, don’t overwhelm • Repeat the important information until you are sure it has been understood • Invite questions
  26. 26. After the meeting • Send a summary • Invite questions • Do not avoid eye contact • Use the person’s name when you speak to him/her
  27. 27. Thank you! Sign up for our newsletters at @parallelhr_uk @JulieHowellPR
  28. 28. This presentation is available as a recorded webcast that contains a great deal more information and a Q&A. To receive the link to the FREE webcast contact Julie Howell at