Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Don't Look Back in Anger

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Don't Look Back in Anger

Article excerpt

Byline: By Sara Keating

MANY companies complain that red tape and onerous statutory requirements are preventing expansion and prosperity. Over recent years, numerous pieces of legislation have come into force affecting practically every business, regardless of its size and resources.

While everyone would agree that employees should be entitled to legal protection, it is the complexity and volume of the legislation that is in issue. In this article, we take a look at a major U-turn by the Government which should make life a little easier for employers when dealing with their employees.

On October 1 2004, minimum statutory requirements were introduced for employers and employees to follow when dealing with disciplinary, dismissal and grievance issues.

On the face of it, the standard process for lodging a grievance seemed simple enough: the employee would set out their complaint in writing after which the employer would invite them to a meeting to discuss that.

Following the meeting, the employer would confirm their decision in writing and offer the employee an appeal. If the employee chose to appeal then the employer would hold an appeal meeting.

The standard dismissal and disciplinary procedure was almost a mirror-effect of the grievance procedure and, again, looked simple enough on the face of it: the employer would set out the alleged misconduct, characteristics or circumstances it wished to discuss with the employee and would send that detail in writing to the employee, inviting them to attend a meeting.

The meeting would then take place to discuss that misconduct, characteristics or circumstances following which the employer would confirm their decision in writing, again offering the employee an appeal if they were dissatisfied with the decision. If the employee chose to appeal, the employer would be obliged to hold an appeal hearing, after which it would confirm its final decision.

While the procedures appear to provide some certainty and protection, many employers found them time consuming and fraught with difficulty due to hidden technicalities. The Government conducted consultation on the procedures, which ended on June 20 2007. …

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