All employers from time to time will have to address disciplinary and grievance issues within the workplace. It is important that these issues are dealt with fairly and consistently and the process will typically involve an investigation being carried out. An investigation is crucial to a fair dismissal and, in the context of a grievance, to avoid a breach of contract. Our expert team of solicitors provide clear and practical advice to guide clients through the process.
We understand that significant management time can be lost addressing absence, performance and conduct issues within the workplace or handling complex grievances. We also understand that absence and performance issues can be left unmanaged until they become a major problem for an employer by which time there is little appetite for following a proper process. Our team of expert employment solicitors can identify the issues and are available to provide clear and practical advice about how to handle them.
We assist clients with:
- Straightforward misconduct matters to complex allegations, for example of financial impropriety and sexual harassment
- Straightforward performance management including drafting performance improvement plans to performance concerns about senior executives
- Short-term and long-term absence management
- Absence management when an employee is receiving permanent health insurance
- Complex discrimination issues
- Consideration as to whether suspension is appropriate
- Planning the investigation and gathering evidence
- Considering the possible use of covert surveillance
- Considering whether it is necessary to obtain medical evidence
- Reluctant witnesses
- Drafting scripts and correspondence for use within the process
- Training managers on the process and their individual role
- Advising on the ACAS Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures.
Provided that reasonable steps are taken organisations may avoid employment tribunal litigation completely or be better placed to successfully defend a claim.
Our work examples include:
- Our team provides an advice service to a leading care home and management consultancy business and are regularly asked to advise upon disciplinary and grievance matters involving a range of issues from absence and performance concerns to covert recordings made by employees in the course of their employment. We are often required to digest a lot of information in a relatively short period of time and to draft outcome and appeal letters on short notice.
- Advising a company client in relation to a complex disciplinary matter involving a director and shareholder who was misusing company funds. We assisted the client with its investigation and in particular the use of forensic accounting resources. We drafted scripts and correspondence for use in the disciplinary process and advised in relation to the appeal.
BLM’s Commercial Employment team is based in our Manchester office but with the ability to support clients natinwide. The team is led by a partner who is assisted by senior associates and associates and we act for a range of clients across the UK and internationally.