Lack of impartial grievance appeal was breach of employment contract

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By Kevin McCavish

The Employment Appeal Tribunal has ruled that an employer’s failure to provide an impartial grievance appeal could amount to a breach of the implied term of trust and confidence.

It is common for an employee to rely on a breach of the implied term of trust and confidence by his or her employer to form the basis of a constructive dismissal claim. Potentially, the ways in which an employer may breach such term is limitless. However, the breach by the employer must be ‘repudiatory’ (in other words, sufficiently serious as opposed to just unreasonable behaviour) and the employee must accept such breach without delay when resigning and claiming constructive dismissal.

The ACAS Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures provides that grievance appeals ‘should be dealt with impartially and wherever possible by a manager who has not previously been involved in the case’…

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