Leader magazineASCL - Association of School and College Leaders

Devil is in the detail

Pile of papers and magnifying glass

An employer which failed to follow the statutory discipline procedures - specifically, it failed to send a 'stage 1' letter to the employee requiring attendance at a meeting - has found that the subsequent award against it increased by 40 per cent.

It is a reminder that the statutory discipline procedures are not just recommendations but obligations.

Nevertheless, it remains the case that the award may be lowered if, despite the employer not having acted entirely fairly, it can still be shown that the employee probably would have been dismissed even if a fair process had been followed.

In a similar scenario, an employee who presented a letter claiming a grievance on grounds of equal pay failed because of the lack of detail in the letter. It was ruled that the letter was impossible to respond to. At the very least it should have contained a statement of the type of colleague who was supposed to be a 'comparator' and the type of work which was being claimed as of equal value.

This mirrors another case, in which a person put in an equal pay grievance after leaving the organisation (the modified procedure). The complaint was not allowed, again because it did not have sufficient detail. Given that the case would be decided without a meeting, there was a need for more information in the complaint.

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