5HR01 Task One Answers
a) Explain the principles of legislation relating to unfair dismissal in respect of capability and
misconduct issues. (AC 3.1)
5HR01 AC 3.1 Answer
Dismissal can occur when employers terminate employees’ contracts or when employees leave their job position with or without giving notice. Legislation relating to unfair dismissal in the UK is governed by the Employment Rights Act 1996. Under this act, employees must be fairly dismissed by their employer. There are several reasons that an employee may be dismissed, including misconduct and capability issues:
Misconduct refers to inappropriate or unacceptable behaviour on the part of the employee. This can include things such as theft, violence, or gross insubordination. For an employee to be dismissed for misconduct, the employer must have reasonable grounds to believe that the employee is guilty of misconduct and must follow a fair dismissal process (Employment Rights Act 1996).
Capability issues refer to an employee’s ability to perform their job to an acceptable standard. This can include things such as poor attendance, poor performance, or an inability to carry out the duties of the job. In order for an employee to be dismissed for capability issues, the employer must have reasonable grounds to believe that the employee is unable to perform their job to an acceptable standard and must follow a fair dismissal process (Employment Rights Act 1996).
It is important for employers to follow a fair dismissal process when dismissing an employee for either misconduct or capability issues. This typically involves giving the employee an opportunity to improve their performance or behaviour, as well as holding a disciplinary hearing to allow the employee to defend themselves (Employment Rights Act 1996). If an employee is dismissed without following a fair dismissal process, they may be able to bring a claim for unfair dismissal against their employer.
b) Analyse key causes of employee grievances (AC 3.2)
5H01 AC 3.2 Answer
This relates to employee pay and benefits. For instance, employees may demand that their organisation need to adjust their wages. This is common in instances where employees feel they are being under-compensated compared to their fellow employees or those in other organisations. This can have various impacts on the organisation since it can lead to reduced productivity, reduced production quality, and increased rate of turnover and absenteeism. This can be avoided by ensuring that the employees are well compensated for their efforts.
The workplace environment can as well ignite employee grievances. For instance, undesirable working conditions such as excessive heat, inadequate tools, unfair rules, and workplace conflict may cause employee grievances. This can affect the level of production and also result in difficulties in employee retention as many may consider looking for organisations with better working environments. This can be avoided by ensuring that there is a healthy and safe working environment that promotes employee satisfaction.
The way line managers and team leaders treat employees under them may also cause employee grievances. For instance, attitudes such as perceived favouritism and nepotism may anger a large percentage of employees resulting in grievances. This may have a negative impact on the working relationship between the management and the employees. This can be prevented by implementing better management strategies and policies that sees every employee as an equal.
Chand (2014) states that organisational change can also cause employee grievances. Relating that, theorist Kubler-Ross noted that change is often met with denial, anger, and depression before it is accepted in the organisation (Belyh 2019). This may lead to loss of employees since some employees may opt to leave the company if the change is not addressed properly. The management may avoid this by ensuring that the change is communicated properly to enhance acknowledgement by the employees.
c) Explain the skills required for effective grievance and discipline-handling procedures. (AC 3.3)
5HR01 AC 3.3 Answer
Grievances and discipline procedures are vital for handling difficulties arising from employment relationships. The key objective of the handling procedure is to ensure the process is fair and consistent for all parties involved. The handling process must also follow the ACAS Code of Practice. The CIPD’s People Skills Hub (2022) report and Esphr.co.uk (2018) highlight key steps for ensuring fair and transparent grievances and discipline-handling procedures. The key processes identified are comprehensive planning, investigation, and disciplinary action, among many others.
Thus, there are critical skills for effective grievance and discipline handling processes. These skills are specifically related to the investigation process. A successful investigation necessitates report writing skills. Specifically, report writing skills are vital for documenting all the relevant pieces of evidence. The management or tribunals can use this written evidence to make informed decisions. Another vital skill is critical thinking. Regarding critical thinking skills, successful investigators need to be out-of-the-box thinkers when it comes to addressing complex complaints (CCU 2022). Specifically, critical thinking skills allow investigators to view things from a different angle, enabling them to unearth even more insight relating to the issue at hand.
Communication skills are also essential for an effective discipline and grievance-handling process (CCU 2022). The long list of people involved in the grievance-handling process needs to communicate effectively. This includes unions, employees, senior management, line managers, supervisors, and sometimes junior employees. Good communication skills, such as seeking and providing feedback, are thus vital. Lastly, ethical practice is another vital skill for employee discipline and grievance handling. Specifically, ethical practice promotes values that are vital to stakeholders’ collaboration, mutual respect, and accountability (Boyland 2020).
d) Advise on the importance of handling grievances effectively. (AC 3.4)
5HR01 AC 3.4 Answer
McConnell (2014) maintains that employers must be very careful about how they handle grievances. The ACAS code of conduct contains vital information that can guide employers in handling a successful grievance and disciplinary process. Failure to follow the code can result in massive awards to employees. Although an employer cannot rely on the organisation’s policy to defend against a claim. The policy can be instrumental in demonstrating that an employee breached certain regulations that may have resulted in serious damages (McConnell 2014). Companies should isolate individuals who can discourage employees from expressing grievances. Moreover, organisations should ensure appeals are not overseen by individuals more senior than the ones making the decisions (Esphr.co.uk 2018). Handling grievances effectively is crucial for maintaining a positive work environment, preventing conflicts and disputes, and ensuring legal and regulatory compliance (CIPD, 2019). This may encourage employees to voice out more concerns which can reveal more problem impacting the organisation and may facilitate an organisational atmosphere that is founded on mutual trust.
However, if grievances are not handled well, there can be significant implications for both the organization and its employees (Acas, 2018). Handling grievances ineffectively can lead to decreased employee morale and job satisfaction (CIPD, 2019). When employees feel that their concerns go unheard or unaddressed, they may become frustrated and resentful, leading to decreased work performance and overall job satisfaction (Acas, 2018). This can result in higher rates of absenteeism, turnover, and even legal action, which can be costly and disruptive (CIPD, 2019). In addition, if grievances are not handled properly, there is a risk of small issues escalating into bigger problems (Acas, 2018). This can lead to ongoing conflicts and disputes within the workplace, which can be damaging to the organization’s reputation and productivity (CIPD, 2019). In some cases, grievances may relate to issues such as discrimination and harassment, which may have legal implications for the employer. Failing to handle such grievances effectively could potentially expose the organization to legal action and financial penalties (CIPD, 2019).