1 TSSA Rep s Bulletin Ref: EMP/045/SEPT 2004 NEW STATUTORY GRIEVANCE & DISCIPLINARY PROCEDURES Introduction The new statutory minimum grievance and disciplinary procedures come into effect on 01 October This brief provides advice and guidance on the new statutory procedures and how they will relate to existing workplace procedures, unfair dismissal law and the right to be accompanied. The new statutory procedures will have a significant impact on how all workplace disputes about individual employment rights are handled and on all future employment tribunal applications. Employers and employees will be required to follow the new procedures before taking any case to an employment tribunal, including claims for unfair dismissal, discrimination or any other statutory employment rights. Failure by either the employer or the employee to follow the procedures in full will have serious consequences: If an employee makes a complaint to an employment tribunal and the tribunal decides it was their fault that procedures were not followed properly, compensation awards will be reduced by at least 10 per cent and possibly up to half. If an employer does not follow the procedures then compensation awards can be increased in the same way. If an employer sacks an employee without following the new statutory dismissal and disciplinary procedure in full an employment tribunal will find that the dismissal was automatically unfair, whether or not the employer had a good case. A tribunal will not normally accept a claim based on a grievance if an employee has not written to their employer about the grievance and 1 waited for at least 28 days before filing their claim. Who will the new procedures apply to? The new statutory grievance and disciplinary procedures will apply to all organisations, regardless of the number of staff they employ. They apply to all employees, from day one of their employment, including part-time employees and those employed on fixed term contracts. The procedures will not apply to workers, including many casual or agency workers, freelancers and homeworkers. Effect on existing contractual procedures or workplace policies Employers will need to review existing procedures to ensure they comply with the new minimum statutory procedures. This does not mean that the new statutory procedures will replace or undermine existing workplace policies. But workplace policies must comply with the statutory procedures, i.e. workplace procedures must include all the three steps of the grievance and disciplinary and dismissal procedures. TSSA reps should check existing procedures to see if they comply with the minimum procedures. Most workplace procedures will provide far better standards than the new minimum procedures. Employers may attempt to use the new statutory procedures as an excuse for watering down existing internal procedures, including those that have been negotiated with the TSSA and other recognised trade unions. TSSA reps need to guard against this. In recognised workplaces, any major changes in conditions of employment
2 should be negotiated and agreed with TSSA reps or officers. Workplaces without internal procedures The DTI has estimated that 800,000 firms have inadequate or non-existent procedures in place. The new statutory rights create an important opportunity for unions to seek to negotiate or influence new internal procedures, in such workplaces. Where possible it would be advisable to seek to negotiate new procedures based on the ACAS Code of Practice rather than just the new statutory minimum procedures. Informing employees about disciplinary, dismissal and grievance procedures From October, all employees must be notified in writing of any changes which have been made to their workplace s disciplinary and dismissal procedures and grievance procedures, following the introduction of the new legislation. This right applies to all employees, regardless of the number of staff employed in their workplace organisation. Employers will also be required to notify staff in writing about all aspects of the disciplinary and dismissal procedures. Employees must also be notified of the person with whom they must raise a grievance. Employees must be notified of any changes as part of their written statement of particulars (ss 1-7 of the ERA 1996). From October, employers can inform staff of their written particular in a number of ways: the written particulars of employment (the written statement can either set out the procedures in full or can refer the employee to an easily accessible document which includes the procedures) a written statement of change of particulars 2 the contract of employment or a letter of appointment New employees must be notified of the changed procedures within two months of the start of their employment. Where an employer fails to provide the written document containing details of the new procedures or provides an inaccurate statement, an employee can make a complaint to an employment tribunal which can award between 2 or 4 weeks pay. Existing employees should be notified of the changes to procedures within a month of the changes being made. MINIMUM DISCIPLINARY AND DISMISSAL PROCEDURES From 1 October 2004, if an employer is considering taking disciplinary action or dismissing an employee they are legally required to comply with the statutory minimum three step disciplinary procedure detailed below. Most workplace procedures will have in place fuller procedures based on the ACAS Code of Practice on Grievance and Disciplinary Procedures. If so, employers should use the fuller procedures, but must ensure that these procedures comply with the statutory minimum. TSSA reps should check existing procedures to be sure that they comply with the minimum three step procedures. When do the statutory disciplinary and dismissal procedures apply? The statutory three-step disciplinary and dismissal procedure will nearly always apply to dismissal cases. The three step procedure will apply in many redundancy cases (except where 20 or more staff are being made redundant) and where fixed term contracts are not renewed. It will also apply to retirement cases where the employee has not reached the age of 65 or the normal retirement age for the company.
3 The statutory procedure also applies where an employer considers taking disciplinary action against an employee, other than issuing an oral or written warning or suspending them on full pay while an investigation is carried out. The procedure should however be followed where an employee is suspended but not on full pay (for example, where the employee continues to receive their salary but loses out their bonus or any other financial benefits). In most TSSA workplaces, existing procedures are likely to cover oral and written warnings, suspensions and investigations. If so, these procedures should still be followed in full. What does the standard three step disciplinary and dismissal procedure involve? 1. Statement of grounds for action and invitation to a meeting The employer must send the employee a written statement setting out the reasons why they are considering dismissing or disciplining the employee, (for example the alleged misconduct; the reasons why the employer thinks an employee is not doing their job properly; or the reasons why the employer is proposing to make the employee redundant or not to renew their fixed term contract). The employer must invite the employee to a meeting to discuss the issue. 2. The meeting The employer must hold a meeting to discuss the reasons why they are considering disciplining or dismissing the employee The employee has the right to be accompanied at the meeting. The employee should have had a reasonable opportunity to consider their response to the employer s statement before the meeting. The employer must have informed the employee of the basis of any 3 allegations or reasons why the employer is considering disciplining or dismissing the employee. No dismissal or disciplinary action should take place before the meeting. The meeting should be organised at a reasonable time and in a convenient location and both the employer and the employee must take all reasonable steps to attend. The employee must be given the opportunity to state their case at the meeting. After the meeting the employer must inform the employee about the decision and of their right to appeal if they are not satisfied it. 3. The appeal If the employee chooses to appeal, they must inform the employer who must invite them to a further meeting. The employee has the right to be accompanied and both the employer and employee must take all reasonable steps to attend this meeting. The appeal meeting need not take place before any dismissal or sanction takes effect. Where possible, the appeal should be dealt with by a more senior manager than attended the first meeting (unless the most senior manager attended the first meeting). After the meeting the employer must inform the employee of their final decision. Gross misconduct dismissals and the modified dismissal procedure In the vast majority of cases of alleged gross misconduct, employers must use the standard three-step disciplinary and dismissal procedure. However the new legislation permits employers to use a shorter (modified) procedure where a number of conditions apply: The employer dismissed the employee without notice because of their conduct. The employer dismissed the employer as soon as the employer became aware of the conduct or immediately
4 afterwards. A tribunal would find that an employer was justified in dismissing an individual without notice. It was reasonable for the employer to dismiss the employee without carrying out any further investigation the circumstances of the employee s conduct. There are extremely few cases where the modified procedure will apply. One example may be where an employer actually witnesses an employee seriously assaulting a colleague. But even in such cases it could be argued that an employee should be suspended on pay pending an investigation. Employers would be best advised never to use the modified procedure. 1. Statement of grounds for action The employer must send the employee a written statement which sets out: The employee s alleged misconduct which led to the dismissal the reasons for thinking at the time of the dismissal that the employee was guilty of the alleged misconduct; and The employee s right to appeal against dismissal 2. The appeal If the employee wishes to appeal, they must inform the employer The employer must then invite the employee to attend a meeting, at which the employee has the right to be accompanied. The employer and employee must take all reasonable steps to attend the meeting. Where possible, the appeal should be dealt with by a more senior manager than attended the first meeting (unless the most senior manager attended the first meeting). After the meeting the employer must inform the employee of their final decision. When are employers and employees not required to follow the statutory disciplinary or dismissal procedures? There are several situations where the employer is not be required to follow either the standard or modified disciplinary and dismissal procedures before dismissing or taking disciplinary action against an employee. These include: In cases of collective dismissals Where other specified reasons for dismissal Where interim relief is being sought Where multi-employer procedures apply and are used Where the general exemptions apply. a) Collective dismissals In collective redundancy cases where : Where the employer is considering making 20 or more employees redundant within a 90 day period and they are under a duty to consult officials from recognised trade union or workplace representatives. Where employers seek to change terms and conditions of employment by dismissing employees and then offering to re-engage them on new contracts. In most circumstances, where the reason for a dismissal was that the employee was engaged in official or unofficial industrial action. Employers are required to follow the statutory procedures where an employer is considering selectively dismissing some strikers or where all strikers are dismissed but some and not all are offered re-engagement within three months of the dismissal. b) Other reasons for dismissal Where an employer s business suddenly and unexpectedly ceases to function and it would be impractical for them to employ any employees. Examples provided by the DTI on where this might apply include where the building burns down. This 4
5 exemption should not apply to cases of insolvency. Where an employee could not continue to work in the position which they held, because to do so would contravene a statutory duty, for example, because of a medical condition. c) Interim Relief Under section 128 of the Employment Rights Act 1996, an employee can apply for interim relief when claiming that they were dismissed unfairly for certain reasons (trade union membership or activities, health and safety, occupation pension trustee, business transfer or redundancy representation, working time, protected disclosure, or right to be accompanied). It should be noted that this exemption applies only to the appeal stage of the statutory dismissal and disciplinary procedures it will be necessary to follow the earlier steps in full. d) Negotiated Multi-employer procedures In some industries, employers and trade unions have negotiated sectoral or industry level agreements which include detailed dispute resolution procedures. If a disciplinary procedure has been agreed by two or more employers or an employers association and at least one independent trade union which provides the right for employees to appeal to an external panel in cases of dismissal or other disciplinary action, and an employee uses this right to appeal to such a body, then employers and employees will not be required to complete the appeal stage in the statutory disciplinary procedures. It should be noted that this exemption applies only to the appeal stage of the statutory dismissal and disciplinary procedures it will be necessary to follow the earlier steps in full. 5 Disciplinary and dismissal procedures and good practice Employers will need to review existing procedures to ensure they meet the legal minimum set out in the Disputes Resolution Regulations and Employment Act TSSA reps will want to ensure that jointly negotiated procedures are not weakened and that the good practice of many existing procedures is not undermined. The ACAS Code of Practice and Handbook provides very clear and helpful guidance on drawing up and operating procedures. MINIMUM GRIEVANCE PROCEDURES From 1 October 2004 all employers are legally required to have grievance procedures which comply with minimum statutory procedures. Most workplaces should have in place fuller procedures based on the ACAS Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures. If so, employees should use these fuller procedures. TSSA reps and officials should check that these procedures comply with the three step statutory procedure detailed below. When will the statutory grievance procedures apply? The new statutory procedures apply where the employee has a grievance which relates to one of the statutory employment rights. These rights include equal pay or discrimination claims, most rights for trade union members and officials, the national minimum wage, unlawful deductions from wages and working time claims, and redundancy pay rights. For the purposes of the new legislation a grievance is defined as a complaint by an employee about action which their employer has taken or is contemplating taking in relating to them. It is important to note that workplace grievance procedures will often apply to a
6 wider range of grievances than the statutory procedures, including grievances related to terms of the contract of employment or treatment by other employees. Employers should be encouraged to retain and use these wider procedures. However, the statutory minimum requirements will not apply in these cases. Employees must use the grievance procedure to deal with the following: Constructive dismissals: Where the employee resigns because of the employer s conduct Where the employee believes that the employer is victimising them for reasons other than their conduct or ability to do their job properly. Where this happens during a disciplinary or dismissal procedure, the employee can and in some cases should write to the employer notifying them about the grievance. The standards three step grievance procedure will apply in all cases where the employee is still employed by the employer. Where the employee has left the organisation, the employee can use a two step (modified) procedure in some cases (see below). What does the standard three step grievance procedure involve? 1. Statement of grievance The employee must set out their grievance in writing and send it or a copy of it to their employer 2. The meeting The employer must be invite the employee to a meeting to discuss the grievance. The employee has a right to be accompanied. The meeting should be at a reasonable time and place The meeting should not take place until the employee has informed the employer of the basis of their grievance. The employer and employee must 6 take all reasonable steps to attend the meeting. After the meeting the employer must inform the employee of their decision in response to the grievance and notify them of their right to appeal if they feel the grievance has not been satisfactorily resolved. 3. The appeal meeting If the employee decides to appeal they must inform the employer, who must then invite them to appeal meeting. They have the right to be accompanied at the meeting. Both the employer and employee must take all reasonable steps to attend the meeting. After the appeal meeting the employer must inform the employee of their final decision. What happens if an employee wants to raise a grievance after their employment has ended? In most cases, employees will have to use the standard three step grievance procedure even after they have left employment in any organisation. However, in some limited circumstance they may be able to use a shorter (modified) grievance procedure once they have left employment. The modified procedure only applies where the employee has left employment before the employer became aware of the grievance or before the three step procedure had been completed and the parties have agreed in writing to use the modified procedure. There are very few instances where this shorter procedure is likely to apply. What does the modified grievance procedure involve? 1. Statement of grievance The employee must inform their former employer of their grievance in writing
7 2. Written response The employer writes back to the former employee giving their response to the points made. When are employers and employees not required to use the statutory grievance procedures? There are several situations where the employer and employee will not be required under the new legislation to follow either the standard or modified grievance procedures. Circumstances when employers and employees are treated as having complied with the procedures Collectively agreed procedures Employees and employers will not be required to use the statutory procedures where certain collectively agreed grievance procedures operate in the workplace. (i) Where two or more employees have the same grievance Regulation 9 of the Dispute Resolution Regulations provides that where two of more employees are affected by the same grievance, it can handled collectively. In workplaces where unions are recognised a union official can raise a grievance on behalf of two or more union members who are covered by the bargaining arrangements. This is already the common practice in many recognised workplaces. Where however existing collective agreements do not include the right for unions to represent staff in grievances, this could prove an important new right. In workplaces where unions are not recognised, union workplace reps can raise a grievance on behalf of two or more union 7 members where the employer has agreed a procedure for resolving grievance with employee representatives. In order the represent members in collective grievances, workplace reps must: Be an employee of the employer Be elected or appointed to represent all or a particular group of employees (for example union members) in grievances and have the authority to represent such employees in grievances In such cases, reps are advised to ask members to sign a document indicating they agree to the rep representing them in grievances. Although employers will not be obliged to agree a procedure for resolving grievances, there will be clear incentives to do so not least the ability to avoid endless repetitive meetings dealing with the same issue. These new provisions create an important organising tool for unions. In order to trigger the agreed collective procedure in both recognised and unrecognised workplaces, the union reps and officials must write to the employer setting out and grievance and identifying the names of at least two employees who have a grievance. Note: union reps and officials must supply the employer with all the names of the employees who have a grievance and who may subsequently want to make a complaint to an employment tribunal. This will be an important issue in equal pay cases involving large numbers of claimants.
8 (ii) Multi-employer procedures In some industries, employers and trade unions have negotiated sectoral or industry level agreements which include detailed dispute resolution procedures which allow employees to raise a grievance with an external joint panel. If a grievance procedure has been agreed by two or more employers or an employers association and at least one independent trade union and the employee has the right to use the procedure to raise a grievance, then the statutory grievance procedures need not be followed. Circumstances when the grievance procedures do not apply The legislation exempts employers and employees from using the statutory grievance procedures in a number of circumstances. However, it is far from clear in what situations employees will be able to rely on any of the following exemptions. Employees and reps are therefore advised to follow the grievances in full wherever possible, unless collectively agreed procedures are available. The exemptions include: Where the employer is dismissed or disciplining an employee or is contemplating doing so. In this situation the employer must initiate the relevant disciplinary and dismissal procedure. Employers cannot use grievance procedures to discipline staff. The legislation makes clear that before an employer can impose a disciplinary sanction on an employee they must follow at least step 1 & 2 of the disciplinary and dismissal procedure. Where the employee has left employment before either of the statutory grievance procedures had 8 started and since the end of employment it had become not reasonably practicable for employee to send a letter to their employer setting out the grievance. Where their employment ends during the course of the grievance procedure (for example, where the individual resigns and wants to claim constructive dismissal), the parties will not be required to complete the grievance procedure where it would not be reasonably practicable to do so. Where the first grievance meeting has already taken place, the employer must still write to the employee informing them of their decision. Discrimination questionnaires It is important to note that where an employee uses their rights, under discrimination legislation, to issue an employer with a questionnaire to gather information of a potential discrimination claim, this will not count as a Step 1 grievance letter. The right to request to work flexibly The new statutory grievance procedure does not apply to the right to request to work flexibly. Grievance procedures and good practice Employers will need to review existing procedures to ensure they meet the legal minimum set out in the Disputes Resolution Regulations and Employment Act TSSA reps will want to ensure that jointly negotiated procedures are not weakened and that the good practice of many existing procedures is not undermined. The ACAS Code of Practice and Handbook provides very clear and helpful guidance on drawing up and operating procedures.
9 GENERAL EXEMPTIONS TO STATUTORY PROCEDURES This section deals with a number of general exemptions, which apply to all statutory procedures. Harassment and the threat of violence Employers and employees will not be obliged participate in any of the statutory procedures where: Either party has reasonable grounds to believe that starting or completing the procedure could result in a significant threat to either person or their property. This applies to actual violence or the threat of violence. Either party has already been subject to harassment and has reasonable grounds to believe that participating in the procedure would result in further harassment. Harassment is defined as conduct which creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading or humiliating environment. It is likely to cover harassment on the basis of gender, race, disability, sexuality and sexual orientation, but is not limited to these headings. If, in any subsequent tribunal case, the tribunal finds that a statutory procedure was not started or completed because the employee was responsible for creating a significant threat or harassing the other party, then compensation awards will be reduced; if conversely the employer was responsible for threatening behaviour or harassment compensation will be increased. In a dismissal case where the employer had been responsible for threatening or violent behaviour or harassing the employee the tribunal would find that the dismissal was automatically unfair. It is important to note that employees would have to prove both that harassment has already been subjected to harassment and that they had reasonable grounds to believe that going to through the 9 procedure would lead further harassment in order to justify not going through the procedures. Where a tribunal is not convinced that harassment has taken place, but the employee has not completed all stages of a grievance or disciplinary procedure, the tribunal will reduce any compensation awarded to them by between 10% and 50%. In the case of violence or the threat violence, employees need only show that they reasonably believed that participating in the procedure would result in a significant threat to themselves or anyone else. However, if the tribunal is also not convinced of this, employees will also face an adverse compensation award if they have not participated in the relevant procedure. Employees would be advised to seek advice from a TSSA official before relying on these exemptions. Wherever possible, employees should complete the procedures. Starting or completing procedures within a reasonable period Employers and employees will not be required to use the statutory procedures where factors beyond the control of either party make it effectively impossible for the procedure to be started or completed within a reasonable period. It is very unclear in what circumstances employees can be confident that they can rely on this exemption. In most cases, therefore would be employees are advised to complete the procedures. Examples of when this exemption may apply include where either the employer or employee are unable to attend a meeting due to illness, incapacity, because either party is abroad, or because the employee has a new job and it would be difficult to get time off to attend meetings. Managers from larger organisations should rarely be able to rely on this exemption, as managers should be able, where absolutely necessary, to ask a substitute
10 to carry out the procedures on their behalf. National security If complying with the statutory dispute resolution procedures would require the disclosure of information which would be contrary to the interests of national security, neither party will be required to go through the statutory procedures. This exemption is likely to apply in very few cases. Exemptions and Tribunal applications and time limits It is important to note that when an employee relies on one of the general exemptions set out in this section, this is likely to have implications on the time limit within which they must make their complaint to an employment tribunal. IMPACT ON EMPLOYMENT TRIBUNAL APPLICATIONS Introduction The new statutory dispute resolution procedures and proposed changes to the Employment Tribunal Rules and Procedures will have a significant impact employment tribunal applications. They will make it much more difficult for any employee to make a complaint to an employment tribunal. New compulsory tribunal application forms From April 2005, workers will be required to use new employment tribunal forms in order to complain to an Employment Tribunal. Where the official forms are not used, tribunals will not accept the application. Workers will have a second chance to resubmit their claim on the correct form. However they must do this within the relevant time period. (See below) Admissibility The Government is making a number of significant changes to the rules on when a tribunal can admit a claim for consideration and possible decision. Before an employee wishes to make a complaint to an employment tribunal which is based on a grievance they must have notified their employer of the grievance in writing (a Step One letter) and waited at least 28 days for the employer to respond. This is unless one of the exemptions set out above apply. If the employee fails to do this, the tribunal will not accept their claim. Employment tribunals may also be able to reject claim forms which fail to provide all the relevant information about a claim. In cases, the employment tribunal will write to the applicant explaining why claim forms are not accepted. The employee will then have an opportunity either to: Write to their employer about their grievance and wait for 28 days for a response. They must do this within 28 days of the end of the normal time limit (see below) Correct the form by supplying the additional relevant information and resubmit it. However, the form must be resubmitted within the relevant time limit, otherwise the tribunal service will reject the claim. Where employee makes a complaint to an employment tribunal about a dismissal or disciplinary action taken by their employer (i.e. where the statutory dismissal and disciplinary procedures set out in section two apply) their claim will be accepted even though the statutory procedures may not have been started at all. The claim form must however contain all the relevant information. Time limit extensions An employee who wishes to make a complaint to an employment tribunal must normally do so within a specified time- 10
11 limit. For most statutory employment rights the time limit is three months, but this can vary. The new legislation provides that time limits for submitting applications to employment tribunals will be extended by an additional three months to allow time for workplace procedures and discussions to continue and to be completed before a dispute ends up in a tribunal. In some instances, tribunal have always had the power to extend time limits, where they through an extension was justified, but this was rarely done. These rules will not change. Claims covered by the dismissal and disciplinary procedures The time limit for making a complaint to an employment tribunal about unfair dismissal (but not constructive dismissal) will be extended by an additional three months where an employee has reasonable grounds for believing that a disciplinary procedure is still on-going, at the point when the normal time limit comes to an end. The time limit extension will also apply where an employee wants to make a complaint to an employment tribunal about action short of dismissal and the internal procedure is still on-going three months from the disciplinary action complained of. It is important to note that the three month time limit extension will only apply where the employee believes that the workplace procedures, e.g. the internal appeals stage, are still continuing. Where the internal workplace disciplinary and dismissal procedure has been completed within three months from the date of the dismissal or disciplinary action, a claim must be filed before the end of the normal time limit. Claims covered by the grievance procedures In cases covered by the statutory grievance procedures, (including claims for constructive dismissal), the normal time limit for submitting a tribunal 11 application will be extended by an additional 3 months where: The employee writes to the employer about their grievance (a Step One letter) within the normal time limit. In such cases the employee will automatically have an additional three months in which to submit their employment tribunal claim. There is no need in such cases for either party to contact the tribunal for this extension to apply. The employee attempts to submit a tribunal application but has not already notified the employer of their grievance in writing and waited for 28 days for a response. In such cases, the three month extensions will automatically be triggered. However, the employee must write to the employer about their grievance (a Step One letter) by no later than 28 days after the normal time limit would have expired. If the employee fails to do this, their claim will be barred by the tribunal. Links between the time limit extensions and exemptions from using the statutory procedures It is important to note, where an employee seeks to rely on one of the exemptions to using the statutory procedures (see above) the time limit extensions will sometimes not apply. The rules on these issues are very complicated. See DTI guidance for full details or speak to TSSA Negotiations Officer/Helpdesk. Where the procedures do not apply Those circumstances where the procedures do not apply and the parties are not required to start or complete the procedures are set out above. In such cases the following rules apply: In relation to grievances, the employee is not required to write to their employer about their grievance
12 and wait 28 days for a response before filing a complaint with an employment tribunal. The employee must submit their tribunal claim within the normal time limit. The time limit extension does not apply. Where the parties are treated as having complied with the procedures Where the parties are treated as having complied with the procedures, see above, the following rules apply: In relation to grievances, the employee must write to their employer about their grievance and wait 28 days for a response before filing a complaint with an employment tribunal. Time limit extensions will apply, provided the necessary conditions are met Exemptions dealing with significant threats, harassment and not practical within a reasonable period Where a relevant statutory procedure has not been started because of a significant threat, harassment or it was not reasonably practicable for the procedures to be completed in a reasonable period, the time limit extensions will not apply. The employee must therefore submit their claim within the normal time limit. Where the claim relates to a grievance the employee is not required to have written to their employee in advance. However, where a relevant statutory procedure has started but not been completed because of a significant threat, harassment or it was not reasonably practicable for the procedures to be completed in a reasonable period (e.g. because the employer became violent at a stage one meeting), the time limits may be extended. Impact of tribunal procedures on tribunal awards Failure by either party to follow all the steps of the procedures could result in an Employment Tribunal adjusting any award made. Compensation awards will be increased by between 10% and 50% depending on whether the employer or employee was responsible for the procedure not being completed. If the employer is found to be wholly responsible for not following the procedures any dismissal could be ruled automatically unfair. Failure by either party to follow all the steps of the relevant grievance procedure could result in an Employment Tribunal either rejecting a claim or adjusting any award made. Compensation awards can be increased or reduced by between 10% and 50% depending on whether the employer or the employee was responsible for not completing the procedures. FURTHER INFORMATION From 1 October 2004 information and advice leaflets will be available on the TUC website at and at The ACAS Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures is at DTI guidance on the Dispute Resolution Regulations can be found at 12