A change of direction

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With the new Acas Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures, employees will no longer be barred from lodging a claim without first raising a grievance, although they will risk having their compensation reduced by up to 25%.

Failure by an employer to follow the Code will not result in a finding of automatic unfair dismissal. However, unreasonable failure by an employer to follow the Code will result in an Employment Tribunal having the power to increase any award by up to 25%.

Both employers and employees must act consistently and deal with disciplinary and grievance issues promptly and without unreasonable delay under the current version of the Code. The procedure envisaged by the Code remains broadly similar to that under the statutory procedures with a written stage, a meeting and an opportunity for the employee to appeal.