Should you ignore a grievance from a former employee?

No. Even if you do not follow your full formal grievance procedure, you should do something.

In Base Childrenswear Ltd v Otshudi, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) upheld a decision to award a 25% compensation uplift to reflect the employer’s unreasonable failure to comply with the code when a grievance was submitted after dismissal.

So, what should you do?

Where an ex-employee submits a grievance, weigh up the risk of a potential tribunal claim against the time and resources that will be needed to investigate a grievance. If you respond to a grievance about a serious issue that could form the basis of a tribunal claim, handle it carefully so that it does not damage your chances of successfully defending a claim.

You should also engage with the employee to resolve the issue and avoid a claim. Dealing with the grievance could also uncover serious issues that you need to address and could avoid disputes with other employees.

Successful discrimination claims can be expensive, time consuming, stressful and damage your reputation. Failing to follow any sort of disciplinary or grievance procedure can be relevant to a discrimination claim, even for employees with short service.