Simple Process to Solve Problems

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Byline: By Kevin Rowan

From the Floor (with logo)

It's not often I receive requests regarding the content of this article. In fact, this is the first time that it's happened.

As part of the ongoing awareness raising activities of the DTI and ACAS, last week I chaired a breakfast discussion regarding forthcoming regulations on resolving disputes in the workplace.

After a couple of presentations there was some debate (which I'll come on to a bit later) but what was very clear was that, despite this being the third regional event on this topic (that I know of), there is still very little understanding or awareness of the new regulations and the duties placed on employers and employees.

The result of that debate led to Andrew Dane of Peninsula Business Services to suggest I make it the topic of a From the Floor article. So, here it is.

The Dispute Resolution Regulations, introduced as part of the Employment Act 2002, are, in my view, a very well-intentioned set of requirements. The underlying aim of the regulations is to get employers and employees to communicate more effectively with each other over situations we would categorise as "disciplinary or grievance issues".

At the moment, many of these, around 200,000 a year, end up being resolved by means of an employment tribunal. The Government's thinking is that if we introduce better formal procedures in the workplace then we will ultimately reduce the number of tribunals.

I do agree with this analysis, there has been no workplace discussion in around 37pc of all employment issues that end up in the courts. But I also think that this understates the value of the new regulations.

From October 1, when the new duties are implemented, employers wishing to take disciplinary action against an employee, or an employee with a grievance against their employer will have to fulfil minimum procedural standards. …

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