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How to conduct a grievance hearing: discrimination allegations

Discrimination is a complex and sensitive area of employment law, and can, and often does, detrimentally affect many aspects of peoples’ lives. Although often insidious in the workplace, this does not mean that employers should not take the necessary steps to ensure that it is eliminated, and where it still exists, to combat the issue quickly and competently.

Those suffering from discrimination do not always feel confident to complain about it, especially if the perpetrator is a senior member of staff. They may worry that it will be seen as an over-reaction or that the complaint will only make the situation worse. This can lead to the employee simply resigning, giving them the basis to sue for constructive unfair dismissal as well as discrimination. In light of this, it is essential that discrimination complaints are dealt with seriously.

So, here is a brief 10 step guide on conducting a grievance process when complex discrimination allegations are raised:

1.    Acknowledge receipt of the grievance.

2.    Appoint an appropriate investigation officer and ensure that the appointed individual is familiar with both the Company’s grievance procedure and the ACAS code of practice relating to grievance procedures.

3.    The investigating officer should carry out a sufficient, impartial and prompt investigation into the grievance and obtain all relevant evidence.

4.    Invite the employee to a grievance hearing. Where possible, this should be conducted by an independent officer not involved with the investigation (the grievance officer).

5.    Minute the grievance hearing. The grievance officer should ensure that they listen to the employee at the grievance hearing and clarify the acts complained of.

6.    If necessary, adjourn the hearing to allow the grievance officer to undertake further investigation.

7.    The grievance officer should give proper consideration to all of the circumstances beforereaching a conclusion.

8.    Ensure that the employee receives the outcome in writing and is informed of their right to appeal.

9.    If the employee appeals, ensure, wherever possible, that the appeal hearing is conducted with a separate officer (the appeal officer).

As always, if I can provide you with any further assistance in relation to conducting a grievance hearing or any other employment law matter please do not hesitate to contact me for a free consultation on 0113 350 4030 or samira.cakali@scesolicitors.co.uk.

Please note that the information in this blog is to provide information of general interest in a summary manner and should not be construed as individual legal advice. Readers should consult with SCE Solicitors or other professional counsel before acting on the information contained here.

Samira Cakali

Samira Cakali is a pragmatic and approachable solicitor advocate with extensive contentious and non-contentious experience in the fields of employment law as well as civil litigation, within a range of commercial businesses from SME’s to multinationals as well as senior executives.

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