Jinadu v Dockland Buses: How do disciplinary and grievance processes interact when raised simultaneously?

In a recent decision the Employment Appeal Tribunal addressed the matter of whether disciplinary processes must be put on hold pending the outcome of grievances raised at the same time as disciplinary matters.

For background information, in the case of Jinadu v Docklands Buses, the employee bus driver was dismissed for gross misconduct because she refused to comply with her employer’s (repeated) requests that she attend training and assessment pursuant to recent complaints about her driving standards.

Disciplinary investigations commenced and subsequently, Ms Jinadu raised various grievances relating to discrimination and pay.  As a result of the disciplinary enquiries, Ms Jinadu was dismissed for poor performance.

The case was first heard in the Employment Tribunal, which made a clear finding that there had not been an unfair dismissal.  However, the employee was given permission to appeal and on appeal, a number of other issues were raised, including whether or not the disciplinary matters should have been suspended pending the outcome of the grievance. 

The Employment Appeal Tribunal Judge utterly rejected the proposition that the disciplinary process should have been put on hold pending the outcome of the grievance.  This decision would seem to pave the way for employers to allow disciplinary processes, and even dismissals, to run at the same time as grievance procedures.  However, as is always the case with difficult people management cases, it is advisable to ensure that disciplinary processes follow those set out in employment contracts or manuals, ensuring that the disciplinary procedure invoked cannot give rise to additional claims by the employee.

We will be hosting a series of webinars in July on ‘Managing Difficult Employees’ – find out more and how to register.

Our legal consultants at Lawspeed can help you with difficult employment relationships and offer advice on disciplinary and grievance processes.  Please contact us on 01273 236 236 should you require any assistance in these matters.

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