The Grievance Process

It is crucial that employers effectively manage grievance processes in a timely manner.

Employment Tribunal’s expect employers to adhere to fair procedures when dealing with employee’s issues stemming from concerns raised at work about colleagues. A failure to manage these can lead to claims of unfair treatment, discrimination, and claims for constructive unfair dismissal. Our HR helpline provides support and advice on the full range of everyday issues that arise in the workplace, leaving you free to get on with the business of doing business.

Our detailed knowledge of the Acas Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures ensures that you will adhere to the procedures to regulate standards of conduct of employees within an organisation.

What Is a Grievance?

A grievance is an employment related concern, problem, or complaint that an employee raises with their employer.

Do You Need a Written Grievance Procedure?

All businesses should make the details of the grievance procedure clear to its employees. A written grievance procedure explains to employees how to raise a grievance and what will happen when they do. It provides direction as to whom to contact and keeps the issue in house initially without the employee involving third parties at an early stage.

An employer should offer their employees the opportunity to resolve a grievance informally in keeping with their employment policies. We know the importance of having company HR policies from the start of the business which provide clear guidelines and is a source of reference for all staff from management downwards. If the problem cannot be resolved informally, a formal written grievance may follow which will require an investigation. We are experienced in the investigation process. We provide step by step advice on the process and train your staff empowering them to take the lead in the future.

What Is the Standard Employee Grievance Procedure?

We provide tailor made policies which clearly set out the steps to be taken when investigating a grievance. We provide support throughout the process to ensure that you manage the procedure with expert advice, reducing the time and expense of managing the process, and freeing you up to be able to continue with your business.

Our policies are Acas Code of Practice compliant. We provide templates on how the investigation process should be carried out; we are on hand to assist with managing the process to facilitate a reasonable standard of behaviour during the process.

Our advice in relation to what a grievance procedure includes is as follows:

  • Consideration of the stages and circumstances for an informal/formal grievance to be taken
  • Obtaining the details of the grievance from the employees in writing
  • How to carry out an investigation to establish the facts
  • When to hold a grievance meeting and give the employee an opportunity to discuss the grievance and their desired outcome
  • The protocol in the at the meeting
  • What to do in the event of the employee appealing the decision if they are unsatisfied with the outcome.

Can the Employee Be Accompanied in a Meeting?

Employees have the right to be accompanied by a trade union representative or colleague in meetings. The companion may participate in the meeting fully but should not answer questions on an employee’s behalf. We provide guidance on who an appropriate companion should be in a meeting and can be on hand during the meeting to give guidance on any unforeseen issues that arise out of the meeting.

All employers are required to act reasonable and fairly when dealing with a grievance. Acas have produced a Code of Practice that provides guidance and the requirements that a business should consider when writing and implementing a grievance procedure. If the company does not follow this code and a claim is raised by an employee, the Employment Tribunal can increase the compensation award by 25%. Our guidance at an early stage assists with minimising the risk of an uplift in any award.

Our friendly and experienced People Services team understand that dealing with a formal grievance can be a worrying and stressful time. This can be made particularly difficult if the grievance is connected to issues of a complicated or sensitive nature. We can assist you throughout the grievance process and ensure that the risk of a Tribunal claim is minimised.

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