Where do grievances come from?

A grievance is any complaint which is raised in writing by an employee – so it could even be an email.  They don’t have to tell you it’s a grievance, you should ask them if they intend it to be treated as a formal grievance.  A complaint is an opportunity for you to resolve something which is really bothering one of your employees and which hopefully they have already discussed with a manager.

Under employment law an employee has to raise a grievance with their employer before they can make a claim at employment tribunal.  This is designed to reduce the number of cases which end up at tribunal by ensuring employers have the opportunity to resolve problems first.

Why might you need external help?

Policy.  You should have a grievance policy or procedure which sets out how you will deal with any grievances which arise.  This policy should comply with the ACAS Code of Practice – if it doesn’t, this will count against you at any employment tribunal.  If you haven’t got a policy, you may like me to write one for you to ensure it is legally compliant.

Advice.  If you’re not confident about handling the grievance yourself, you might like some advice about what to do.  I can give you step by step instructions.  I can also draft letters for you if you don’t have any standard letters and haven’t had to deal with a grievance before.

Investigation.  Usually you will need to investigate whatever matter has been raised in the grievance before you take your decision.  You may want me to conduct that investigation for you, either because you don’t have time or resource to do it internally or because you want to demonstrate that the investigation is truly objective and independent.

Hearing.  Larger organisations will generally have a HR professional at any grievance hearing.  If you don’t have any HR staff available you may want me to attend the hearing to provide support and advice and take the sort of  notes which will be useful at any appeal.

Appeal.  You need to provide employees with an appeal against your grievance decision.  If you have not had to deal with this before, you may like my help in handling it.