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Confused between grievance and disciplinary procedures? Here's the difference

by , 23 September 2014
Contrary to popular belief, grievance procedures and disciplinary procedures aren't similar.

It's important that you know the differences between the two so you won't deal with workplace grievances and disciplinary issues in a manner that will land you at the CCMA.

Keep reading as we explain the differences between grievance and disciplinary procedures.


Here's how grievance and disciplinary procedures differ


Grievance procedure:
 
  1. Your employee lodges a grievance.
 
  1. A grievance procedure can have many stages, but essentially you'll be trying to find an outcome that meets your employee's requirements to resolve the issue.
 
  1. The grievance procedure won't take place unless your employee lodges a grievance.
 
  1. The purpose of the grievance procedure is to facilitate the resolution of your employee's grievance.
 
Now let's look at a disciplinary procedure…


 
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Here's what you need to know about a disciplinary procedure
 

  1. You (the employer) start disciplinary action.
 
  1. A disciplinary procedure has two stages in relation to a specific disciplinary incident. These are the hearing and the appeal. If you don't provide for an appeal, it'll only have one stage.
 
  1. In a disciplinary process, you impose the decision you think is appropriate according to the facts of the case.
 
  1. You don't have to wait for an employee to lodge a grievance to take disciplinary action. As soon as you're aware of misconduct and have all the relevant facts, you can start disciplinary proceedings.
 
  1. The purpose of a disciplinary procedure is either to correct your employee's behaviour or to punish your employee, depending on the severity of the offence.
 

While there are key differences between grievance and disciplinary procedures, there's one thing that's the same


According to the Labour Law for Managers Loose Leaf Service, the one thing that's the same, whether you're dealing with a grievance or a disciplinary process is that you MUST first investigate and establish the facts. You mustn't proceed on the basis of rumour or vague and unsubstantiated allegations.

Knowing the difference between grievance and disciplinary procedures will help ensure you deal with workplace grievances and disciplinary issues in a legal manner.
 

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