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Discipline and grievance - Acas Code of Practice

The Acas Code of Practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures gives practical guidance for handling these issues in the workplace. Failure to follow the Code doesn't make a person or organisation liable to proceedings, however, an employment tribunal will take it into account when considering relevant cases.

View or download the latest pdf  Acas Code of Practice on Discipline and Grievance [167kb].

You can also download pdf  Discipline and grievances at work: The Acas guide [852kb] or our guidance on pdf  Conducting workplace investigations [573kb].

Key points

  • Many potential disciplinary and grievance issues can be resolved informally.
  • Employment Tribunals are legally required to take the Acas Code of Practice into account when considering relevant cases.
  • Tribunal can adjust any awards made in relevant cases by up to 25 per cent for unreasonable failure to comply with any provisions of the code.
  • Employers and employees should always look to resolve disciplinary and grievance issues in the workplace.
  • A non-statutory guide (Discipline and grievances at work: The Acas guide) provides additional information on handling discipline and grievance solutions in the workplace.

Many potential disciplinary or grievance issues can often be resolved informally. Cases of minor misconduct or unsatisfactory performance are usually best dealt with informally. A quiet word is often all that is required to improve an employee's conduct or performance.

The Acas Code of Practice sets out the basic requirements of fairness that will be applicable in most cases; it provides the standard of reasonable behaviour for most cases. The Code will help employers, employees and representatives deal with disciplinary and grievance issues in the workplace.

Where some form of formal action is needed, what action is reasonable or justified will depend on all the circumstances of the particular case. Employers should deal with issues promptly, fairly and consistently. Investigations should be carried out to gather and establish all the facts of the case.

To supplement the guidance contained in its Code of Practice, Acas has produced a non-statutory guide (Discipline and grievances at work: The Acas guide) which provides additional information on handling discipline and grievance solutions in the workplace.

This revised Code came into force on 11 March 2015, the revisions were made following a judgement by the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) which clarified the rules on making a request to be accompanied at disciplinary or grievance hearings.

The changes relate specifically to the right of accompaniment at disciplinary and grievance hearings, no other part of the Code has been revised.

Acas training and other ways that Acas can help

Acas offers a range of Training and Business Solutions to support businesses and individuals dealing with discipline issues.

You can also try Acas Learning OnLineHelpline Online or view our range of Training.

View related Acas training and course dates in your area for:

Alternatively let us know how we can help by completing our Customer contact form.

We also offer a variety of Useful templates for letters, forms and checklists which are available to download for free.

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