0370 270 6000

already registered?

Please sign in with your existing account details.

need to register?

Register to access exclusive content, sign up to receive our updates and personalise your experience on brownejacobson.com.

Privacy statement - Terms and conditions

Forgotten your password?

no let up on redundancies

25 March 2009

As we move further into 2009, the Governments initial strategy to stimulate the economy is yet to show any signs of redressing the balance. This year is likely to see an increase in the number of redundancies across all sectors, with the public sector now also being hit.

We have put together some general guidance on dealing with redundancies. Click here to read our guidance. Advice on specific individual cases should be sought before taking any action and we would be happy to talk to you about any of the issues raised in this bulletin.

However, it is not all bad news!

Discipline and grievances

To the absolute delight of employers and advisors alike, a significant event will take place on 6 April 2009, namely the repeal of the statutory dismissal and disciplinary procedures.

Features of the current regulations which have frustrated all concerned include:

  • A relentless rise in the overall number of claims (despite the intention of the regulations to reduce claims), together with an extraordinary amount of satellite litigation over the issue of what a grievance is
  • The one size fits all approach, setting out a mandatory minimum standard to follow in all situations. The exemptions are too limited to be meaningful. Failing to follow the stipulated processes in dismissal cases gives rise to an automatic unfair dismissal, together with an uplift of 10-50 in compensation, which has resulted in some unjust results for employers
  • All other attempts at simplifying tribunal practice and procedure by the regulations has in fact had the opposite effect, making employment law unduly inflexible at times for both employers and employees

What happens in April?

Essentially, the existing rules will be abolished. New rules will be implemented in their place. But what are they?

First of all, the mantra of three steps will no longer be heard. Employers will no longer face automatic unfair dismissal claims for not following the three step dismissals procedure.

Instead, the ACAS Code of Practice has been revised, and it sets out the principles of what is reasonable when dealing with dismissals and grievances. It should be studied carefully. It is still currently reproduced as a draft document, but this is the version which will be implemented.

Grievance and dismissal procedures will still be as important as ever, and good employment practice will still be expected. Tribunals, however, instead of awarding the mandatory 10-50 increase in compensation for not following the three steps procedures, will look instead at what procedure was adopted. If it was reasonable, taking the ACAS guidance into account, an employer is unlikely to face a successful unfair dismissal claim.

However, failing to study the code is dangerous. A tribunal will be able to put awards up (or down) by up to 25 in the event of inexcusable default on the part of the employer or the employee when dismissing or raising a grievance.

In addition, employees will no longer have to raise a written grievance (and thereby engage in arguments as to whether a grievance has been raised in the first place!) before bringing an employment tribunal claim. However, if they do not allow their employer to deal with the grievance appropriately, and attempt to resolve matters by having recourse to litigation, then they may suffer reductions of up to 25 in their compensation, even if they ultimately succeed in tribunal.

What happens in the run up to April?

Dismissal and grievance procedures take time, and many of them will be ongoing, come 6 April 2009. There are therefore transitional provisions which will apply.

Generally speaking, if an employer has started disciplinary or dismissal action before 6 April 2009, then they will have to comply with the protocol which is currently in force.

In cases where the action about which the employee has complained, took place before 6 April 2009, and continues beyond that date, the pre-6 April 2009 rules will apply, subject to final cut off dates as below:

  • Where the employee sends in a grievance or employment tribunal claim on or before 4 July 2009, if it relates to claims with a three month time limit (such as a discrimination or wages claim); or
  • On or before 4 October 2009 if it relates to a claim with a 6 month time limit (such as equal pay claims)

In all other cases, the new ACAS Code of Practice will be taken into account, and the current rules will not apply.

training and events

27May

In-house lawyers forum - 27 May 2021 Online

We look at the latest Covid-19 employment status, IR35 developments and commercial updates including the use of crypto assets and cookie claims.

View event

10Jun

In-house lawyers forum - 10 June 2021 Online

In this session, we look at the damages and commercial disputes and the route to net-zero – how the sustainability agenda and the need to innovate will impact who you contract with, and how.

View event

focus on...

Legal updates

UK Community Renewal Fund: prospectus 2021-2022

We explain the UK Community Renewal Fund priorities, submission and assessment of proposals and points to note for authorities.

View

Legal updates

The countdown to private finance initiative (PFI) handover – what’s your seven-year plan?

We consider key actions for public authorities in managing the PFI handover process.

View

Legal updates

Extending Covid-19 support – how to avoid the pitfalls

Throughout the pandemic, many businesses have made good use of the HMRC-administered Covid-19 relief schemes. Such support has helped them survive the difficult economic conditions and manage staffing and revenue issues as a result of the strict lockdown rules.

View

Legal updates

Holiday pay and carry over

In the long running case of Mr Smith v Pimlico Plumbers, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (“EAT”) has determined workers do not have a carry-over right in respect of annual leave that is taken but unpaid.

View

The content on this page is provided for the purposes of general interest and information. It contains only brief summaries of aspects of the subject matter and does not provide comprehensive statements of the law. It does not constitute legal advice and does not provide a substitute for it.

mailing list sign up



Select which mailings you would like to receive from us.

Sign up