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Disputes in the workplace

Information and guidance on managing and resolving disputes and grievances in the workplace.

​Conflict that is not resolved quickly can affect the health and wellbeing of employees. It can cause stress, frustration, ill health, mental ill health and reduced productivity.

Addressing the following steps will help minimise the likelihood of disputes and help you manage them more effectively.

  1. Minimising the risk of disputes and grievances in the workplace
  2. Communicating respectfully with employees and colleagues
  3. Managing disputes in the workplace fairly and consistently
  4. Dealing with a dispute in the workplace
  5. Employment tribunals
  6. Legal framework

4. Dealing with a dispute in the workplace

When a complaint is made and the disciplinary process is started it is recommended that the ACAS code of practice is always considered. The following disciplinary process should be followed

  • the employee will let the employer know the nature of the grievance formally grievance
  • establish the facts by carrying out a thorough investigation without unreasonable delay
  • notify the employee involved in writing if there is a disciplinary case to answer, outline the alleged misconduct to allow the employee to prepare to answer the case
  • when a meeting is required to address or move the issue forward make sure that you inform people involved of on the date, time and place of the disciplinary meeting
  • if a meeting is required to address or move the issue forward. Make sure that the meeting is at a suitable time and place for all involved
  • the employee has a statutory right to be accompanied to the meeting. Your policy should outline who this can be – a trade union representative or a colleague for example
  • give them the opportunity to explain their grievance, how they think it can be resolved and ask questions
  • after the meeting decide whether or not disciplinary or any other action is justified and inform the employee in writing. Ensure that any action taken is reasonable
  • provide the employee with the opportunity to appeal the decision. This should be heard without unreasonable delay and ideally by a manager not already involved in the case
  • inform the employee of the outcome of the appeal in writing.

Full information on discipline and grievance policies and procedures, and templates to support employers through the process and procedures are available on the ACAS website.

Visit the ACAS discipline and grievance policies and procedures pages