handling discipline and grievance issues


Most HR managers do not relish disciplining or dismissing employees but sometimes you will have no option.

We advise on disciplinary/dismissals. Dismissal except in a gross misconduct situation should always be the last resort. It is always important to bear in mind that you may end up dismissing an employee that you have given a series of warnings.

If you need to dismiss, you will need a statutory fair reason to rely on. In a disciplinary situation these can only ever be ‘conduct’, ‘capability’ or possibly in exceptional cases, ‘some other substantial reason’ (SOSR). These are potentially fair reasons set out in the Employment Rights Act 1996.

We can advise you on which statutory fair reason we think you should rely on and also advise you on whether we believe you would be able to prove that any dismissal was fair. We will also advise you on the procedure that you need to follow. This will involve us understanding your business and the facts of the situation to advise you on whether we believe you can show that you have acted within the ‘band of reasonable responses’ which is one of the legal tests. Our advisers have over 15 years’ experience of advising on these situations and find that only a small proportion of employees whose disciplinary sanctions or dismissals we have advised on, ever take it any further. By taking legal advice at an early stage, you are likely to save costs and litigation risk further down the line.

We also find that training line managers in the first place helps to reduce disciplinary matters – for information on the training we can offer, click here for more details.

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