Employment Disputes and Claims
Minimising conflict in the workplace is a valid aim to attempt to reduce distraction from your staff effectively performing their roles. However, to some degree conflict is inevitable and so knowing how to best deal with disputes when they arise and how to defend employment claims, is worthwhile.
How can we help with disputes in your workplace?
If your employee has a complaint, it is important that they can raise this and are aware of how to. If you would like a grievance policy to be drafted, reviewed or updated, we can assist you with this.
It is advisable to encourage informal resolution of a grievance where possible, and this should be stated clearly in your written grievance policy. There are ways you can make it easier for employees to raise issues of concern, for example an anonymous comments box, regular informal 1:1 meetings between managers and their staff, an ‘open door policy’ to your HR lead and a specific individual with specific contact details, to contact. If you would like any other practical ideas about how you can encourage good communication with your employees and early reporting, so that issues can be dealt with promptly, before they escalate into bigger issues, please contact us.
Following your business’ grievance policy and ensuring that you comply with the ACAS Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures (ACAS Code) will reduce your business’ potential liability, as failure to follow the ACAS Code means an employee’s compensation in a successful Employment Tribunal Claim could be increased by up to 25%. Our experts can guide you from an early stage in the process to follow and draft the relevant letters to be sent to employees during the process, to reduce and in some cases eliminate your business’ liability. If you can resolve grievances at an early stage, this can represent a significant cost and time saving in the longer term and so it is worth getting right.
What if a dispute remains unresolved?
If you do not find in the employee’s favour after investigating their grievance, you should offer the employee the right to appeal the grievance decision and make clear that the decision made on appeal will be independent of the first decision but will be the final one. Again we can draft the relevant documentation and advise you on how the appeal meeting should be carried out, if you would like this support.
Whilst employees will generally choose to submit a grievance whilst still employed and before giving notice, it may be that they resign and then raise a grievance during their notice period or after they have left. Particularly if the employee has resigned within the last 3 months, it is wise to investigate the grievance and treat it as if raised by a current employee.
If an employee chooses to leave your employment and resigns, threatening to bring claims, which you would rather attempt to settle; or if prior to the completion of the grievance you do not believe agreement will be reached, you may consider offering your employee a settlement agreement. We are experienced at drafting favourable settlement terms for employers to ensure amongst other things, that relevant post termination restrictions put in place to protect your business are maintained and in negotiating settlement agreement terms to limit the cost and time spent by your business in resolving outstanding complaints and claims.
If settlement is not reached and your employee chooses to pursue an employment Claim in an Employment Tribunal we have experience with representing employers throughout the ACAS Early Conciliation process and with drafting and lodging Employment Tribunal Responses for employers and can represent you in the Employment Tribunal, if required.
Whether you are currently dealing with an employee grievance, have completed the grievance process and are considering whether to offer a settlement package, or if you need help with defending an employment Claim, we can advise and support you.
Go back to: Employment Advice for Employers