As an employee, one of the more stressful situations to deal with is having to have a difficult conversation with your employer.

These conversations might arise as a result of your employer inviting you to a disciplinary or performance improvement meeting. Alternatively it might come up because you are unhappy with something at work and you feel that you need to formally raise a grievance.

We can help support you in these circumstances and to have those difficult conversations with your employer.

How we can help

If you have been called to a meeting with your employer concerning a disciplinary matter or performance improvement process – or you wish to raise a grievance against your employer – please contact our employment specialists, who would be happy to discuss with you your particular circumstances, the best way forward and your legal protections.


A disciplinary process is something that will be started by your employer. Your employer might ask to meet with you as part of a disciplinary process if they think that you might have been guilty of some inappropriate behaviour in the workplace.

The behaviour in question can range from the relatively minor (such as a small breach of company policy) to something quite severe (such as theft or harassment).

If your employer thinks you are guilty of the behaviour in question, they may be justified in taking a range of action against you, from issuing a warning, through to dismissal for the most serious issues.

The disciplinary process is your opportunity to ensure that your side of the story is heard, before your employer comes to any firm decisions. It is therefore important that you treat it seriously and consider taking some advice.

If your employer has asked to meet with you as part of a disciplinary process, we would encourage you to contact us as early into the process as possible, and we can advise you on what to expect and how best to approach the process.


If your employer has concerns about your performance at work, they may invite you to meet with them about a performance improvement process.

This process is different from a disciplinary process. Your employer will start a disciplinary process if they feel that your behaviour has been inappropriate. A performance improvement process is used when you haven’t been accused of doing anything wrong, but where your employer feels that you aren’t performing at the level they expect.

A properly followed performance improvement process should include checking that you have access to everything you need to be successful in your role. It should also sets targets which allow you to show improvement over a period of time.

It is important that you take these processes seriously. If you fail to show the improvement required, it may be possible for your employer to end your employment. But alternatively, if you engage well with the process, it is possible to turn things around and show your employer that you are keen to succeed, even turning it into a positive thing overall.

If you have been asked by your employer to attend a performance improvement meeting, contact us and we can advise you on what to expect and how best to approach the process.


If you are unhappy with something to do with your working conditions, something the business is failing to do, or a decision the business may have made, in the first instance you would be best to raise this informally with your employer. But having raised it, if you have not receive the response you hoped, it may be that you need to consider raising a formal grievance.

This can be a stressful thing to do, as most of us find it hard to raise complaints with our employers. But sometimes if your concerns aren’t being listened to when you mention them informally, you might be left with little choice but to submit a formal grievance.

Once you raise a formal grievance, your employer ought to follow a proper process to investigate your concerns properly. Unfortunately this is not always the case, and sometimes employers need to be reminded of their responsibilities.

If you are considering raising a grievance against your employer, or if you have raised a grievance and this is not being dealt with properly, please contact us and we can talk you through the best way to take things forwards.

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