ACAS Code of Practice

/ACAS Code of Practice
ACAS Code of Practice 2017-09-13T22:45:22+00:00

Do yourself a favour, and take a minute to read this page.

Q: Why write a grievance letter to your employer at all, why not just express your grievances verbally?

A: The ACAS Code of Practice are written guidelines for both employers and employees’ to follow. If you fail to follow the ACAS Code of Practice, an Employment Tribunal could reduce your claim by 25%. Why give your employer this opportunity? In order to observe the ACAS Code of Practice you have to put your grievances in writing. However, there is no set format in which to raise a written grievance letter other than to outline your complaints in writing to your employer. For the avoidance of doubt, you do not even have to state your letter is a ‘grievance’ letter:-

Shergold v Fieldway Medical Centre [2006] IRLR 76, EAT on 5th December 2005, reported at [2006] ICR 304.

“All that is required is that a grievance must be set out in writing.”

However, many legal websites will inform you that you do not need a grievance letter template. Trust me when I tell you, they are wrong.

The Following Applies:

Given the fact that most employees’ have no knowledge of employment law, it is my opinion that failing to write an articulate grievance letter which encompasses the breaches of your statutory rights, that you will have played right into your employer’s hands. What many employees’ fail to articulate is that it is likely your employer has an agreement with either a law firm, or a law firm which offers HR Services whom will vet an employee’s grievance letter.

Although the grievance procedure is not a quasi-judicial procedure, nonetheless, in my opinion you should outline any breaches of any statutory Acts or Regulations so that your employer can remedy the breach of those Acts and Regulations. Put short, how can the employer put things right if the employer does not know (or reasonably ought to know) what it has acted in contravention of?!

As such, when you lodge your letter of grievance with your employer, chances are you think you are dealing with your employer’s HR Department. In truth, you are dealing with your employer’s solicitors without ever knowing it. Writing a grievance letter is much like trying to bake bread for the first time; chances are you will get it wrong first time around. The difference being, you only get one chance to write your grievance letter!

This is why I have written a ‘grievance template letter’ to help employee’s just like you. I am not a baker, but I bet I can write a better grievance letter than you, not least because I have written hundreds of grievance letters for hundreds of clients. Truth be told, the grievance letter template aid gives you an insight into the mechanics of writing a grievance letter to your employer. You do not have to use the grievance letter template verbatim, you can cut and paste what you want. The fact remains the grievance letter template is an ‘aid ‘to assist you in writing a better letter of grievance to your employer.

Furthermore, the grievance letter template is broken down into three sections. Section one deals with employee’s who are suffering from work related stress. Section two is for employee’s who are being subjected to bullying and harassment at work, and section three is to do with unlawful discrimination at work. The grievance letter template also contains points of law and legal precedents, which may be of help to you. It also uses legal terminology in a way which you can understand. Furthermore, the grievance letter template aid outlines the steps you want to take before you lodge a letter of grievance with your employer, and the common mistakes you want to avoid.

I get to see and read all manner of employees’ grievance letters. Truth be told, they would have done themselves a big favour had they taken the half hour to have read through the grievance letter template aid.  I speak from the heart when I say to you that having been subjected to a systematic campaign of bullying at work myself, I know first-hand the stress and anxiety it causes. The frustration, sleepless nights, heart palpitations and anger you feel now I have already felt, because I have already trodden the path, which you now tread.

My GP subsequently signed me off from work with work related stress, panic attacks and depression. Whilst off from work on sickness absence, I spent the next year living in the local law library bottoming the law, with express particular s.13(1); s.15(1)(a)(b); s.19(1)(2)(3); s.20(3); s.26(1)(a)(b)(i)(ii)(4)(5); s.27(1)(2); s.39(2)(4)(5) and s.109(4)(a)(b) of the Equality Act 2010.

I also blew the whistle under s.43B(1)(b)(d) of the ERA 1996 on my employer’s torts.

Furthermore, I asserted my statutory rights under s.44(1)(d) of the ERA 1996 and refused to return to work by reason that my employer had failed to facilitate me with a safe place and system of work, being free from further harassment and disruption:-

Wigan Borough Council v Davies [1979] ICR 411

“An implied term in contracts of employment is that the employer will provide reasonable support to ensure that the employee can carry out his/her duties without harassment or disruption by fellow workers; and where an employer has an obligation to take reasonable steps to achieve something and takes few or no steps, the onus of proving what steps would have been reasonable is on the employer.”

Let me tell you something my friend, my employer picked a fight with the wrong employee. As a former boxer I put up a fight which consequentially ran my employer up a legal bill into the tens of thousands of pounds. For the avoidance of doubt, every now and again an employer will run into a junk yard dog like me who tears the bastards apart. The fact remains, few employees have the stomach to give their employer a good mauling. Forewarned is forearmed, do yourself a favour and learn what I have learnt about employment law and the follies of the grievance procedure. Purchasing the grievance letter template aid will be the best twelve quid you will have ever spent – you have my word on it.

Kindest regards – Sam Stone