Advice Column: Workplace Disputes

Thursday 13th July 2017

As part of the Citizens Advice Exeter and The Express and Echo weekly advice column we focus on workplace disputes.

 I am having problems at work. My employer has called me a meeting to discuss this. I am worried. What should I do?

If you’re unhappy about something that your employer has said or done, you should always try and talk about it with them. It’s a good idea to try to sort out problems early on. If things aren’t sorted out quickly, this could cause bigger problems between you and your employer. Last year we helped with almost 100 enquiries about workplace disputes.

It’s a good idea to write down your concerns and anything that happens. This will be a useful record and reminder of the situation.

If you’ve been dismissed, or your employer starts formal disciplinary action against you, there is a procedure they should follow under a code produced by the Advisory Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS). As part of this, you should be given the chance to defend yourself in a meeting, and to appeal their decision. If you can, you should do this in writing to your employer. You should explain to them why you don’t agree with their decision.

If you can, it’s often helpful to get advice so you know where you stand. Your employer may be entitled to do what they’re doing and you may not be able to do much to change it. On the other hand, your employer may not be entitled to do what they’re doing, and you might be able to use your legal rights to change things.

If you’re a member of a trade union, you should always try to talk with your union official about any problems you have at work. Part of your trade union’s role is to help sort out problems individual members have at work. Problems can often be resolved more easily with the help of your union. But if you’re unhappy with a decision your union has made for you, then you should get advice elsewhere.

If talking about things with your employer hasn’t worked, you might want to think about another way to sort out the problem. One way of doing this is to put in a grievance. A grievance is a way of more formally raising your concerns, problems or complaints about work with your employer.

For more information and advice go to or telephone Citizens Advice Exeter on 03444 111 444.

 Look out for our column next week when we focus on financial health checks.

 The information contained in these articles does not constitute advice. Citizens Advice Exeter and The Express and Echo accept no liability for the information published. Citizens Advice Exeter is unable to respond to individual requests for advice through these columns. Copyright Citizens Advice. For the most up-to-date information, please visit