Organisations are much happier with the new, shorter Acas code of practice than with its predecessor, the 2010 IRS survey on individual dispute resolution has found.
The survey, published exclusively on XpertHR, showed that more than 76% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that the new code – which was introduced a year ago – “makes it easier to handle individual grievances”.
The Acas code takes a less prescriptive approach than the more inflexible and much-maligned statutory procedures it replaced.
The IRS report is based on information from 197 organisations, with a combined workforce of more than 400,000 employees, about discipline and grievance. Of the 4,192 grievances documented, one in 10 were handled without resorting to a formal process. The average number of grievances handled formally per organisation is four.
Report author Rachel Suff from XpertHR told Personnel Today: “One of the core aims of the 2009 dispute resolution changes and new code of practice was to resolve individual employment disputes at an earlier and less formal stage.
“Given the significant proportion of grievances that progress to a tribunal, many employers could benefit from training their line managers to be more confident and competent to spot differences in the workplace and have those difficult conversations. Sometimes, that’s all that is needed.”
However, despite the popularity of the new Acas code, the research found that just three organisations have so far made use of Acas pre-claim conciliation (PCC), which is available where a workplace problem is likely to lead to a tribunal claim.
More than one in four (26.6%) organisations have faced at least one employment tribunal claim within the past two years as a result of unresolved grievances.
The survey found that three-quarters of organisations reported formal grievances concerning employees’ relationship with a manager, while only 3.8% of respondents reported claims of discrimination over sexual orientation.
Bullying is once again shown to be an area of real worry in the workplace as the survey found that grievances relating to this issue were raised frequently or occasionally at three out of four (74.6%) organisations.
Diversity issues were prevalent elsewhere, with three in 10 (30.0%) organisations reporting claims of race discrimination, and more than one in four dealing with claims of sex and disability discrimination (26.7% and 26.5% respectively).