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Workplace dispute resolution rules published


Plans for a radical overhaul of dispute resolution procedures have been published.

From October 2004, employers and employees will be required to follow a minimum three-stage process to ensure that disputes are discussed at work.

The process will require:

  • the problem to be set out in writing with full details provided to the other party

  • both parties to meet to discuss the problem, and

  • an appeal to be arranged if requested.

    Use of these procedures is set out in draft regulations, flowing from the Employment Act 2002. They require all employers to have procedures in place to deal with disputes by October 2004, after which, in most circumstances, employees will not be able to make claims to employment tribunals about grievances unless they have previously raised a formal grievance at work. Employers who dismiss staff without using the statutory procedure face an automatic finding of unfair dismissal against them.

    Employment Minister Gerry Sutcliffe said: “Disputes at work are expensive, stressful and disruptive for both employers and employees alike. But early, constructive discussion can
    produce solutions before problems escalate and working relationships breakdown.”

    Consultation on the draft Dispute Resolution Regulations is now taking place. Take a look at the consultation document.

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