advo HR has recently had an increase in questions relating to grievances so we thought an overview of the dos and don’ts would be helpful.
A grievance is when a staff member raises a concern, problem or complaint with management. This could cover a range of issues such as: bullying and harassment; discrimination; work relations; working conditions; health and safety.
If a situation arises Employees need to know that they must inform their manager of the grievance as soon as possible, including what the specific issues are and what they would propose as a way of resolving these issues. If for instance, someone states they have been paid incorrectly, they would need to explain the exact dates of the issues and what they should have been paid. Their proposed solution may then be that the business arranges for correct payment to be made and payment in addition for any charges incurred by the employee, as a result of the error. If the grievance is in relation to the employee’s line manager then they should refer to their employer’s grievance policy as this should explain who they should alternatively raise their grievance with.
Initially, the employee should work together with the line manager to try and resolve issues informally. This could involve having a discussion to get to the root cause of the problem, as it may be easily rectified or a miscommunication between two or more parties. Mediation is often a great tool in order to find a solution for both parties if a working relationship has broken down.
If the informal stage does not help to resolve the grievance, the employee should be invited in writing as promptly as possible, and in line with the timeframes in your policy, to a formal grievance meeting. In this meeting the employee should be given the opportunity to explain their grievance and how they would like the employer to attempt to resolve this. Please do remember that employees have a statutory right to be accompanied to this formal meeting and any appeal, both which should be outlined in the grievance policy. If it is necessary to investigate the matters raised, this meeting may then need to be adjourned in order for this to take place.
Following the meeting, and investigation if required, the outcome should be communicated in writing to the employee. The letter should outline whether they are upholding the employee’s complaint. If so, the employer should explain what they are going to do to resolve the issues and explain the appeal process, in the event that the employee is unhappy with the outcome.
This is an opportunity for an employer to demonstrate that they actively listen to their staff, look into any issues and respond appropriately and fairly to these. Employees need to have the confidence that they can raise these issues and that a timely and considered response will be delivered, even if the result is not what they had hoped.
If you would like more information on this subject or believe we can help support your organisation in any other area of HR please do not hesitate to get in touch. In the first instance please email Carly Gregory on firstname.lastname@example.org where we will be delighted to assist.