Q&As on Industrial Relations

Industrial Relations

Question: Does a worker have the right to appeal a decision to discipline? (cross-posted under wages)

Answer: The international labour standards refer to the issue you raise in the context of potential punishments. In cases where the disciplinary procedure results in deductions from wages, the Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations, discussing the Protection of Wages Convention, has noted that in countries that authorize disciplinary deductions from wages, the national legislation also contains provisions guaranteeing the procedural fairness of the disciplinary action such as requiring written notification of the worker or recognizing the right to lodge an appeal.

In cases resulting in termination of employment, workers should have the right to appeal, within a reasonable amount of time, against that termination to an impartial body, such as a court, labour tribunal, arbitration committee or arbitrator.

There are no specific provisions of international labour standards concerning an internal appeal to a higher level of management.

More generally, any worker should have the right to submit a grievance without suffering prejudicial consequences, and to have it examined according to appropriate procedures. A perceived unfair disciplinary proceeding could constitute a grievance if it concerns the employer-worker relationship or is likely to affect the conditions of employment of one or more workers in the enterprise, if the situation appears to be contrary to the provisions of a collective agreement, individual employment contract, national laws or other rules.