The current coalition Government has clearly stated its commitment to dispute resolution in the workplace, making the system work better for employers and employees whilst preserving existing employment rights.

A workplace dispute may revolve around a concern, problem or complaint that an employee raises with his employer. Most will concern issues that are within an employer’s control i.e. treatment afforded to employees by management or other employees, but sometimes the issue may be in respect of the behaviour of clients or customers. All should be treated in the same way regardless of the subject matter.

The ACAS Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures forms the basis of the procedure which employers and employees must follow in the event that an employee wishes to raise a grievance.

It is in everyone’s interests that disputes are resolved quickly, fairly and efficiently to maintain staff morale within the workplace.

As an employer it is vital to have written procedures in place which gives both you and the aggrieved employee a mechanism through which the grievance can be aired and, hopefully, resolved.

Whilst many disputes can be and are resolved informally, those that cannot may be pursued formally by the employee.

Written policies should make clear how formal grievances should be made and how hearings will be handled, to protect both parties.

If the employer mishandles such a situation, the compensation could be substantial and so it is advised expert advice is taken in such situations.