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SME Experiences of handling disciplinary issues and workplace grievances

acas_logo_secondary_cmykAbout the study

ACAS wish to understand small- and medium-sized employers’ (SMEs) experiences of dealing with employee conduct or performance issues (‘disciplinaries’) and handling problems or complaints raised by employees (‘grievances’). This research will help ACAS to understand how arrangements for handling these situations function in SMEs and how the support available for SMEs could be improved. The research will focus on grievance complaints and disciplinary matters, including suspensions and investigations.

We are inviting SMEs who have handled disciplinary and/or grievance situations in the past year (or up to three years ago if they can recall the details sufficiently) to take part in this research. The research will involve a one-off interview lasting up to 60 minutes by phone or video call. We would like to speak with the main person who deals with disciplinary and grievance issues at your workplace. We are offering £75 as a token of thanks.

Who is carrying out the research?

This research is being carried out by NatCen Social Research on behalf of ACAS. NatCen is an independent social research agency. For the last 50 years we’ve worked on behalf of government and charities to find out what people really think about important social issues and how Britain is run.

ACAS has commissioned this research. ACAS provides free and impartial information and advice to employers and employees on all aspects of workplace relations and employment law. Their aim is to promote good relationships between employers and employees and provide conciliation to resolve workplace problems.

Why take part?

How we will make a difference

By taking part, you will help ACAS to understand how SMEs handle disciplinary and grievance matters. You will help ACAS to improve the support available to SMEs on how to resolve workplace problems.

A little time to make a big difference

We’re asking that you spare an hour of your time to share your thoughts and experiences. We know your time is precious, but our work really does make a difference.

A token of our appreciation

We are offering participants a £75 shopping e-code voucher as a token of thanks. We will email you with your e-code after the interview. You can find out more here:

Alternatively, we can make bank transfers if you would like the £75 to be paid to the business.

What will taking part involve?

We may get in touch to arrange a telephone or video call interview at a time that suits you. The interview will be with a NatCen researcher and is really relaxed – there’s no need to prepare and you can skip any questions you don’t want to answer.

What’s involved?

Arranging the interview

We only need to speak to a certain number of people, so we many not call everyone we write to.  If we do call, we will ask you if you want to participate and ask a few questions to make sure you are eligible (we are trying to speak to a range of SMEs who are likely to have different experiences). We will also remind you that you don’t have to take part if you don’t want to.

The interview

We understand that you may be busy, so we’ll organise the interview at a time that suits you. The interview itself will last approximately 60 minutes and will take place in December 2021 or January 2022. In that time the researcher will ask you about a range of topics including:

  • The kinds of issues that lead to disciplinary action and/or grievance complaints at your workplace
  • Your organisations’ approach to this type of dispute resolution, including any policies and procedures
  • Your experiences of handling disciplinary and grievance processes
  • The effects of workplace disputes and resolution processes on your workplace and workforce
  • Where you access information and support on dispute resolution
  • Your suggestions for any improvements for available information and support

To help us fully understand your procedures for handling disciplinary and grievance cases, we will ask you to provide us with any written organisational policies. If you choose to share these with us, they will only be accessible to the NatCen research team.

What will happen to any information I give?

The research team at NatCen will use the information you and others provide to write a report for ACAS. This report will help ACAS identify areas in which more support for workplaces is needed.

Contact us

If we don’t hear from you by Friday 26th November then we may contact you about taking part. If you would like to opt-in to the research then you can do so by contacting us using the details below. You can also opt-out of the research if you would like us not to contact you.

If you have any questions about the study, you can contact us using these details.

Click here to read the privacy notice.