Employees often raise a grievance after an employer commences a disciplinary process against them. Employees may choose to do this in an attempt to protect their position and delay the disciplinary process. This leaves the employer with a difficult decision; either postpone the disciplinary process pending the outcome of the grievance process or carry on with the disciplinary process.
In the recent decision of Jinadu v Docklands Buses, the Employment Appeal Tribunal held that the employer was not obliged to put the disciplinary process on hold after an employee raised a grievance which will be a welcomed decision by employers.
In this case, the employee was employed as a bus driver and was facing disciplinary action concerning allegations regarding her driving. After the commencement of the disciplinary process, the employee made allegations against some of the managers involved. The employer continued with the disciplinary process and made the decision to dismiss her. The Employment Tribunal held that her dismissal was fair.
The employee appealed arguing that the employer’s decision not to postpone the disciplinary process and deal with her grievance in the first instance led to her being unfairly dismissed. The Employment Appeal Tribunal rejected this argument.
This decision will be welcomed by employers but this may not apply in all cases as each case will turn on its own facts. In some circumstances, it may be appropriate to postpone the disciplinary process and deal with the grievance that has been raised in the first instance. Much will depend on the specifics of the employee’s grievance and how this relates to the disciplinary process.