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Disciplinary, Capability & Grievance Issues

Solicitors in Essex & London

Our Employment Law team are experts in advising upon disciplinary, capability and grievance issues.

This section highlights the definitions of each issue, what you can do if you have received or are in the process of going through a disciplinary or capability process, or the steps you need to take a grievance issue further.

If you feel that you have a case regarding any of the below areas, our expert legal team can assist you further and advise on next steps. We have offices in Brentwood, Hornchurch and Upminster, and office facilities in Leigh-On-Sea and Canary Wharf, London.


Disciplinary action is anything up to and including dismissal. The ACAS Code of Practice sets out the steps your employer should take in the lead up to dismissal, as an employee should rarely be dismissed for a first offence unless it amounts to gross misconduct. Action taken by your employer can be anything from a verbal warnings as at the first stage of the disciplinary process or may proceed straight to a written warning as the first action under a formal procedure. 

Verbal warnings do not need to form part of a formal process but if they are included in your employer’s disciplinary procedure, then the procedure leading up to giving a verbal warning would need to comply with the Code of Practice.  However, any other action taken for disciplinary purposes, e.g. suspension without pay or demotion, would be covered by the ACAS Code of Practice.


Any issue of poor performance is a capability issue and the ACAS Code of Practice allows for poor performance to be dealt with under a separate capability procedure instead of a disciplinary procedure provided it adheres to the principles of the Code.

Ill health is also a capability issue should an employer consider taking action against an employee for ill health reasons, particularly dismissal, then the ACAS Code of Practice should normally be followed.


From time to time workplace issues arise.  You have the right to raise a grievance in respect of any concerns, problems or complaints that you may have with your employer.

We are often asked to draft initial grievance letters, to review and analyse the response provided by your employer and thereafter dealing with any appeal and if necessary subsequent tribunal claims.

The ACAS Code of Practice provides guidance as to how a grievance procedure should be managed and any failure by your employer to adhere to the policy could uplift compensation if successful in an Employment Tribunal claim.  The main aim of finding a clear grievance procedure is in order to resolve matters where possible without the need of involving any further action from the employee or employer.

When raising a grievance, it is important to ensure there is no unreasonable delay between the incident (or omission) by your employer which gives rise to your complaint and the complaint being made.

The grievance should be in writing and set out the full nature of the grievance.  It is important that the grievance is drafted comprehensively as it would make it more difficult for your employer to attempt to avoid any necessary steps to resolve the issue.

From the raising of the grievance, you should be invited to a hearing (which may be in addition to an investigatory hearing) and you should be offered the right of accompaniment (by a trade union representative or colleague) and the right to appeal the decision made.

Book A Free Telephone Consultation

Find out more with a free initial Employment Law consultation

We understand that speaking to a solicitor for the first time about issues relating to disciplinary, capability or grievance issues in the workplace can be a difficult and stressful experience. Our expert employment solicitors in Essex and London will be happy to undertake an initial interview over the telephone to provide you with some general legal advice. This will enable you to determine what the best next steps are for you to take.

Free initial telephone consultations are available at any of our offices located in Brentwood, Hornchurch or Upminster, or at our office facilities in Leigh-On-Sea and Canary Wharf, London.

Due to the recent Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak we are currently offering appointments by telephone and some video calling services. Our offices are also open with comprehensive safety measures in place.

Our Employment Law accreditations include:

Employment Lawyers Association
Legal 500 UK 2019

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