Failure to raise a grievance in writing resulted in compensatory uplift being refused

1 September, 2014
by: Cripps Pemberton Greenish

As most employers will know, there is an obligation to comply with the ACAS Code of Practice on grievance and disciplinary procedures. A failure to comply with the Code may result in a Tribunal awarding an uplift in compensation of up to 25%.

When it comes to grievances being raised by employees, it is not always easy for an employer to recognise that a grievance has been raised, especially if it has been raised orally. The Code states that grievances ‘should’ be raised in writing, which suggests that it is not compulsory. It will therefore come as a relief for employers that the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has ruled that an employer’s obligation to comply with the Code only applies where a grievance has been raised in writing, as employers need to understand that a grievance has been raised.

In the case in question, Cadogan Hotel Partners Ltd v Ozog, the employer had failed to investigate an employee’s allegation of sexual harassment and there could not have been much doubt as to the fact a grievance was being raised. The EAT however, ruled that as the grievance had not been raised in writing the Code did not apply and no uplift could be awarded.

Employees should therefore ensure that they raise grievances in writing so make sure that the employers obligation to follow the Code is triggered and they do not risk losing potential future compensation as a result of their own failure.