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Getting tough in disciplinary matters.


The government sponsored arbitration service ACAS has issued a new draft code of practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures that will come into effect at the beginning of September. At the same time there will be a new right for any employee in the UK to be accompanied by a union representative or a work colleague in any formal grievance or disciplinary hearings.

The ACAS code contains advice on the handling of common situations and causes for grievance procedures including actions and processes to be followed both before and during any disciplinary action.

Whilst not compulsory for firms, the code is likely to regarded by employment tribunals and in legal circles as a reasonable model for grievance and disciplinary procedures. An employer who disregards the code without good reason is not likely to have the sympathy of any tribunal or court.

Government Minister for Competitiveness Alan Johnson said in announcing the code, “The new right – together with the new code – will set what is already widespread good practice as a basic minimum standard in dealing with disciplinary matters and workers grievances”.


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