One of Lancashire’s top employment lawyers has welcomed the removal of the ill fated compulsory statutory disciplinary and grievance procedures, which have been in force since October 2004. These procedures will be abolished on 6th April 2009 in favour of a new ACAS Code of Practice. One of the key effects of the new code is that the employer’s failure to follow the code will not result in a finding of automatic unfair dismissal.
David Southern, Partner at Marsden Rawsthorn believes the change is good news for employers. “The current statutory disciplinary and grievance procedures are so complex that businesses with finite resources often fall foul of the current law simply because they do not have the legal expertise or time to devote to its labyrinthine nature. The new code reintroduces many of the positive attributes of previous procedures in terms of simplicity and clarity.”
Southern also believes that we may also see a levelling off in the number of cases going to tribunal as a result of the changes. “The current procedures encourage employees to pursue a case all the way to tribunal if they can demonstrate a failure to follow the statutory procedure regardless of the merits of the dismissal itself, since a failure in procedure renders the dismissal automatically unfair. I believe that the new code will discourage this tactic.”