Failure to adopt procedure over discipline risks heavy penalties

From 1 October, companies that have not brought their procedures into line may face increased awards and defeat at tribunals if they fail to comply.

The DTI said the legislation is aimed at encouraging employers and staff to communicate, thereby reducing the number of cases taken to tribunal.

Under the new legislation, employers must first write to employees outlining the problem and invite them to attend a meeting, after which the employer informs the employee of the outcome. The employee must be given an opportunity to appeal.

If companies need to revise their procedures, employees will need to be properly informed.

Research by the CBI employers’ group found that two in three firms had reported a rise in dubious tribunal claims. And almost half of the employers surveyed said the new disciplinary and grievance procedures would not cut the number of tribunal claims.

The Employment Tribunals Service said the number of applications to tribunals has risen by 17 per cent in the past year.

More online – go to

– Government: Employment relations minister Gerry Sutcliffe explains what the forthcoming dispute resolution laws will mean for employers and employees.

– Legal: Julian Yew, employment solicitor in the employment pensions and benefits group at Stephenson Harwood, outlines the changes and their impact.

– Legal: Dina Lucas, an associate in Allen & Overy’s employment, pensions and incentives department, outlines the implications of the procedures.

– Legal Q&A: The benefits of mediation, by Julian Hemming, head of the employment, pensions and incentives department at Osborne Clarke.

– Legal: Karen Ozzard, assistant solicitor, and Pattie Walsh, partner, Richards Butler

– Guides: Personnel Today one-stop guide to Managing Disputes:

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