Grievances & Disciplinary Issues

We're experts with difficult situations

Impartial investigations & hearings

When an employee raises a formal complaint or grievance it needs careful handling, especially if it involves sensitive issues or very senior stakeholders. We can manage the grievance for you, conduct any necessary investigation and deliver a findings report with a recommended outcome. Alternatively, we can hear any appeals against previous grievances investigated by your own officers.

Similarly, if you have a disciplinary issue that needs investigating, we can manage that for you. Our investigation process is robust and diligent, but we also use tact and discretion where the allegations are sensitive and to ensure the individual gets fair & impartial treatment.

Grievances against senior leaders

Issues involving very senior figures are difficult to investigate internally. The power, status and influence of the individual makes it hard to find someone who would be truly impartial.

We have experience investigating issues involving senior leaders. We've investigated grievances against executives, including Presidents & CEOs in multinational corporations, Executive Vice Presidents, Board members, Managing Directors and VPs.

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If you are dealing with a situation that involves delicate or sensitive subject matter, such as bullying, sexual harassment, or discrimination, we can help.

Grievance & Disciplinary Investigations

We specialise in conducting investigations that are both fair & thorough. We're able to work through sensitive issues, e.g. those involving discrimination or harassment, to uncover the facts of the matter in a way that is respectful to the people being interviewed.

Conducting fair and detailed investigations is essential. It helps ensure that the decision you reach is reasonable, justifiable and robust against any legal challenge.

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Common causes of grievances

An employee could complain about anything that’s work related, which can include interactions with your customers. However, because people managers have the most contact with employees, they're often involved in any grievance. Common causes of grievances include:

For relatively minor issues, you may be able to handle the matter informally. A quiet word between a manager and the employee may resolve the issue. We're strong advocates of mediation and early intervention to avoid problems escalating.

For more serious issues, or if the informal approach was unable to resolve the matter, you will need to handle it more formally. It’s important to follow a proper grievance process that complies with the Acas Code of Practice. Although there is no legal requirement to do so, there are two good reasons why we recommend it:

  1. First, following the Acas code helps ensure you handle things in a fair and balanced manner. This can reassure the employee that you have given their complaint a fair hearing. In addition, if the employee appeals against your decision, it’s less likely that they can base their appeal on a failure to follow the proper process.
  2. Second, if the employee later takes a claim to an Employment Tribunal, you will be in a stronger position. Employment Tribunals take a dim view of employers that have not complied with the Acas code. A failure to follow the Acas code can add up to 25% to any financial award the Tribunal awards to the employee.

How we can help

We are experts at grievances and the associated investigations. If you need assistance managing an employee grievance, especially if it is of a sensitive nature, we can help.

Sometimes you can anticipate a potential conflict, for example if you have to deliver bad news. Don’t wait for the problem to boil over, talk to us in advance and plan your approach.

We can help reduce the risk of conflict and limit your exposure at any future Employment Tribunal. If your matter requires legal advice or representation, we have trusted employment law partners we can refer you to.

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