The Employment Act 2008 repeals the law relating to discipline and grievance issues at work. One of its provisions is that, from April 6, 2009, there is no longer a requirement to follow the statutory grievance and disciplinary procedures. The law now allows for greater flexibility in dealing with issues arising from employment relationships. The aim is to provide both parties the best opportunity of resolving the dispute by way of mediation or alternative dispute resolution before the matter reaches an employment tribunal.
Who is responsible?
From the employer's perspective, whether that be the school, the governing body or the local authority, it is imperative that they adhere to the new code of practice set out by conciliation body Acas, which came into effect on April 6.
The Employment Tribunal has now been given powers under the new legislation to reduce or increase awards by up to 25 per cent if the employer or employee has not complied with the Acas code of practice or fails to show good reason why they have not complied with the Acas code.
One key change to the old 2004 code is that it removes the requirement for parties in an employment situation to follow mandatory steps. The system is now much more flexible to allow both parties to reach a resolution. The Acas code and guidance accompanying the code can be found at www.acas.org.ukdgcode2009.