Disputes in the workplace

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

Legal framework

Anyone who works for you, and is not genuinely self-employed, is either a worker or an employee.

Employees have a contract of service and are usually required to work a set or minimum number of hours per week.

A worker will also work under some form of contract (it doesn’t need to be written) but has fewer employment rights than an employee, such as protection against unfair dismissal or time off for emergencies. They will usually have fewer obligations to their employer – for example, casual workers or agency staff can usually decline work offered to them.

Object reference not set to an instance of an object.

Employment Relations Act 1999

The Employment Relations Act 1999 accords gives employees the right to be accompanied at any disciplinary or grievance hearing by a work colleague or trade union/professional organisation representative.

If the chosen companion is not available at the time proposed for the hearing/meeting, the employer must postpone to an alternative time suggested by the employee, provided the alternative time is reasonable and falls before the end of five working days after the day proposed by the employer.

Employment Rights Act 1996

The Employment Rights Act 1996 places a duty on employers to provide written contracts to an employee within two months of commencing employment. These must include details of any disciplinary and grievance policy or procedures which apply to the employee.

Data Protection Act 2018 and General Data Protection Regulations 2018

This is the UK’s third generation of data protection law. This modernises data protection legislation to ensure it is effective in the years to come. The General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) forms part of the data protection regime in the UK.