April sees major changes in the law that applies to discipline and grievance handling in the workplace with the introduction of a new ACAS Code with much stricter penalties for employers if they fail to comply to the letter.
From 6th April, the government is abolishing the "statutory dispute resolution procedures" which apply when dismissing employees and dealing with grievances. They are being replaced with an updated ACAS Code of Practice, which will have legal force.
The penalty for failure to comply with the new ACAS Code when disciplining or dismissing an employee could be severe with tribunals automatically finding a dismissal unfair in an employment tribunal and ordering compensation increased by up to 25%.
For grievances, employees will no longer be required to pursue a grievance through their employer's procedure before bringing a claim in an employment tribunal.
The abolition of the "statutory dispute resolution procedures" does not mean that regulation of employment procedures will become less strict. The new ACAS Code will work in much the same way as the statutory procedures work now. It may be even harder for employers to get disciplinary action right, as the Code applies to all formal disciplinary action, not just to dismissals.
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