Disputes in the workplace

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

Dealing with a dispute in the workplace

When a complaint is made and the disciplinary process is started, it is recommended that the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (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, outlining 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.


Self-employees are responsible for their own business. They are not paid through PAYE and they do not have the same rights and responsibilities of an employee or worker.

An organisation can regard someone as self-employed for tax purposes. However, employment rights and health and safety duties may still fall to the employer, depending on the nature of the contract and the way work is being carried out. An employment tribunal can make a decision over their employment status.

Object reference not set to an instance of an object.