Employment Disputes. An Overview
An employment dispute can arise for a multitude of reasons and in diverse ways. Some of them may end up with the termination of the employment contract, but most disputes can be resolved without you having to lose your job.
A workplace dispute can be:
- A grievance: A complaint you raise before your employer or manager
- A disciplinary procedure: A measure taken by your employer if they believe you may have committed a fault or when they have concerns about your performance.
You can try to resolve any issues with your employer via informal talks that can take place in person or in writing without the need to go through a formal procedure.
During a disciplinary and grievance procedure, you have the right to defend yourself from any charges brought against you and bring any evidence to support your case.
You can also be accompanied by:
- A trade union representative
- A colleague
- A family member
- A Citizens Advice Bureau worker, whenever allowed by your employment contract, the staff handbook, or the company’s policies
Formal Grievance Procedure
A formal grievance is a complaint you can raise towards your employer or manager regarding issues you’re experiencing in the workplace.
Your grievance must be presented in writing, clearly describing the problem and what you’d want your employer to do to solve it. It could be a problem caused by either your superior (either by action or omission) and/or your coworkers.
Your employer should organise a meeting to discuss your complaint and the evidence you provided. This meeting, ideally, would have to take place within the next five days of filing the complaint.
While there is no set timeframe (unless explicitly stated in the company’s internal procedure), your employer should be able to decide within one to four weeks.
Your employer could initiate a disciplinary procedure due to a supposed shortcoming or misconduct on your end. Your employer must try to schedule meetings with you to let you know about their concerns and possible future disciplinary actions.
When initiating a disciplinary process, your employer has the duty to inform you of all the charges. He’d also have to summon you to a hearing wherein you can give your account of the events and provide evidence in your favour (including witnesses if you so wish). The person in charge of the procedure should give you reasonable time to gather all the material in your defence.
In normal circumstances, your employer would issue a written warning first at the end (unless the action is for gross misconduct). If it’s a performance issue, they ought to set goals for you to achieve and help you overcome obstacles by assigning a trainer or giving on-site support.
If you relapse or fail to meet your goals after receiving your first written warning, your employer can initiate another disciplinary procedure that could end up in your definitive dismissal. If that happens, you can challenge that dismissal in an employment tribunal if you find it unfair.
Can I Appeal the Decision?
You should be given the right to appeal the decision at the end of a procedure if you find it objectionable or if you believe there were errors along the way that affected it. In both grievance and disciplinary procedures, your employer should assign a person or department to hear appeals whenever possible.
Appeals work similarly to the original procedure. You should be allowed to voice your thoughts in a hearing and to bring your evidence.
Employment Tribunal Claims
You could make claims before an employment tribunal if you faced discrimination, payment issues, or unfair dismissal. Save for some exceptions, you must have been employed for a certain amount of time before you’re entitled to present a claim.
In most cases, prior to submitting your claim form, you should notify Acas so that they can offer an early conciliation.
Alternative Dispute Resolution
Apart from the mechanisms we just mentioned, you can try to devise alternative means for ending the dispute with your employer. These include:
- Arbitration: You and your employer choose an impartial third party who would issue a binding decision at the end, just like a judge would
- Mediation: Similarly to arbitration, both of you designate an impartial third party who will meddle in the dispute and try to come up with solutions that both could accept. The mediator can only suggest solutions, but they can’t enforce them upon you.
- Conciliation: It’s similar to mediation but utilised when you feel entitled to submit a claim to a tribunal or have already submitted it.
Settlement agreements are mutual arrangements by which you and your employer consent to make some compromises on some of your demands and commit to not bringing any claims to a tribunal for the dispute that prompted the negotiations. These agreements are usually reached at the end of the contractual relationship, though that’s not always the case.
You can enforce the terms of this agreement at a tribunal if your employer fails to comply with them.
Our employment disputes solicitors are resolved to act against abusive employers and businesses, no matter their size.
We also have all the necessary tools and knowledge to assist regular employees, senior executives, directors, partners, board members, and regulated professionals in their employment disputes with their bosses, especially in issues such as:
- Unfair and constructive unfair dismissals
- Discrimination, bullying and harassment
- Undue deductions to wages or non-payment
- Restrictive covenants
- Poor performance and misconduct allegations
- Regulatory investigations
Reach out to us by dialling 03334149244. Our lawyers are keenly awaiting your call.
The time limit for appealing the decision should appear in the company’s internal guidelines. If there is none, Acas (the Advisory, Conciliation, and Arbitration Service) recommends that you do so within the next five working days after being notified of the outcome.
Fortunately, the tribunal fees were done away with years ago, and you can make a tribunal claim without having to pay any fixed fees whatsoever.
This is different from the costs that each party must pay during the judicial process for legal fees, expert witnesses, or loss of earnings.
That depends on what you want. If you want your job back, your best bet is to come to terms with your employer. Employment tribunals can only help you get compensation in most instances, and only in rare cases do they order reinstatement when employment law allows.