Grievance procedure

Every business should have a clear process to enable employees to raise issues or concerns within the workplace.

If the complaint, problem or concern is relatively minor, often the easiest and quickest way to deal with the issue is to allow the employee to raise it verbally with their supervisor or manager, with the matter then being informally resolved.

It is of course essential that all supervisors and managers are appropriately trained to recognise the seriousness of a complaint, for example whether it potentially involves some form of discrimination, and how to deal with it competently and fairly.

If the complaint, problem or concern cannot be, or is not suitable for, informal resolution, then it should be dealt with in accordance with the company’s grievance procedure.

As an outline, the basic principles of dealing with a grievance are:

  • to deal with the issue as quickly as the circumstances will allow
  • to remain objective and keep an open mind
  • to act fairly and consistently with all staff
  • to allocate responsibility of each stage of the process to a sufficiently senior employee
  • to carry out a grievance hearing.  Once a written complaint has been lodged, the employee should be allowed to further explain the complaint at a hearing, at which point the employee has the right to be accompanied.  The employer should take this opportunity to fully understand the basis of the complaint and who is involved
  • to carry out an investigation.  Here, all witnesses are spoken to and evidence gathered as part of a fact-finding exercise
  • to consider all of the evidence before reaching a reasonable finding
  • to give the employee a written outcome and confirm whether all, some or none of their complaints have been upheld and why
  • to let the employee appeal any formal decision made.

Dealing with complaints in the workplace can become very time consuming and costly if not properly managed and tailored to the needs of the business.

However, if not carried out sufficiently, employers could ultimately find themselves being ordered to pay thousands in compensation to an employee.

To get practical advice on how to safely navigate the grievance process, in a way which is both suitable to your business and appropriate in each circumstance, please contact our team for support.

The information contained within this page is for guidance only and is not to be relied upon as legal advice.  If you require specific legal advice, please contact our team for support.