The consultation, which ended last month, asked whether the 2004 regulations should be scrapped, and set out options for simplifying and improving current disciplinary and grievance procedures, which many employers have labelled too inflexible.
The CBI called for major reform, claiming the three-step statutory procedures had caused an increase in “weak and vexatious” tribunal cases. Its proposals included awarding costs against unsuccessful claimants and assigning assistants to ensure correct procedures were maintained.
The TUC was also critical of the current ‘tick-box’ statutory procedures, but warned against completely overhauling the system without anything adequate to replace it.
Sarah Veale, TUC head of equality and employment rights, told Personnel Today: “It is essential the government ensures that employers maintain or introduce effective grievance and disciplinary procedures.”
Proposals included toughening the existing code of practice issued by the conciliation service Acas on handling grievances and disciplinaries. The TUC is pushing for the introduction of penalties for employers that fail to follow the code.
But manufacturers’ organisation the EEF said the government should offer new, clearer guidelines. Its consultation response said: “The Acas code is neither of general application to all types of dismissal nor is it as short and simple as it might be.”
The government said it would publish an official response to the consultation in the autumn.