Should Disciplinary Proceedings be suspended for a Grievance?

The question of whether an employer is obliged to put a disciplinary process on hold whilst the employee’s grievance is being held is often one that the employer has to grapple with. It was this very issue that was considered in the case of Jinadu v Docklands Buses in which the Employment Appeal Tribunal (“EAT”) held that it was not.

The Employee in this case was a bus driver who was subject to disciplinary proceedings because of her poor driving. Despite the driver making various allegations about some of the managers involved, during the proceedings, the employer continued with the disciplinary proceedings which resulted in a dismissal.

The employee argued at appeal that the dismissal was unfair on the grounds that the employer had failed to put the disciplinary proceedings on hold until her allegations had been addressed as a grievance. This point was rejected by the EAT.

Whilst, as always, each case will depend on its own facts, this does at least confirm that the default position is not that a dismissal will be unfair as a matter of course, if an employer does not postpone disciplinary proceedings where a grievance has been raised.

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