Grievance and disciplinary
Discipline and grievance are often put together, however, ‘most organisations try to keep discipline and grievance apart, therefore to distinguish the idea that there are a number of conceptual and practical differences between discipline and grievance’ (Dundon and Rollinson, 2011).
Discipline is defined as ‘some action taken against an individual who fails to conform to the rules of an organisation of which he or she is a member’, (Wheeler, 1976, as cited by Dundon and Rollinson, 2011).
The grievance procedure can be defined in many ways, the International Labour Organisation defines grievance as follows, ‘with respect to conditions of employment where a situation appears contrary to the provisions of collective agreements, the individual contract, work rules, laws or regulations or custom and practice’ (International Labour Organisation, 1965, as cited by Dundon and Rollinson, 2011).
Therefore, when an organisation receives a grievance from an employee, it is important in terms of the human resource department to acknowledge the issue and find a solution. ‘If one party to the employment situation fails to abide by the rules of the relationship, the other party can bring a procedure into play to attempt to get the offending party to adjust his or her behaviour; managers can use disciplinary procedures, and employees can use grievance mechanisms. This does not necessarily mean that the procedure is a formalised one. Indeed, most guidelines stress that in the early stages of both discipline and grievance, matters should be kept informal’ (Dundon and Rollinson, 2011).
Therefore, according to ACAS, many potential grievance and disciplinary issues will be solved informally, and this if this can be done, then it is better for both the employer and employee as it is less time consuming, and is less likely to cause as much conflict