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What is a grievance?

Mark Ferron

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Grievances could be anything, concerns, problems or complaints at work, which should be taken up with your employer: i.e.

  • How you are being treated at work bullying and harassment
  • A changing in your terms and conditions
  • Being discrimination at work

It may be possible to deal with issues at work informally, however, if this is not possible then a formal grievance will need to be raised.

How to raise a grievance?

In most cases your employer will have a grievance policy and normal practice, in line with the ACAS code of practice, a formal grievance needs to be put in writing, setting out the nature of the grievance.

Grievances for employees

What are grievances and how to raise a grievance?

Grievances are concerns, problems or complaint an employee may have in regards to what's going on in the workplace. Now, these can be any sorts of issues, issues like your working conditions, terms and conditions, your contract or relationships with colleagues. Now raising a formal grievance at work can be a difficult thing to do and may be stressful but sometimes it's necessary otherwise nothing will change if you don't.

So what do you do, before you raise a grievance it’s really good practice to have a record of what's going on, so write down grievances, keep a diary of what's happening the times, the dates, places, what I said and the names of any witnesses and it's important to collect any evidence that might be available to you at that time, times sheets, emails, policies, anything that can support your position. Now one of this information is just for you at this point.

It is always best if the situations are dealt informally first, a word with your manager, your line manager if they're not involved and this can in most situation resolved the problem without the need for a full investigation. However, depending on the situation if you're not happy with the outcome the informal process or the informal process is not suitable because it is a really serious issue, the next step then is to put your grievance in writing to make it formal.

Now, most companies will have a grievance policy of some kind so it's good to follow the policy but in essence, it's you setting out the nature of your grievance and that is in line with the ACAS code of practice, section 32.

Now this simply could be a few bullet points, for example, I am raising grievance because I feel I've been treated unfairly because of X, Y and Z. or I am raising a grievance because I feel being bullied by X.

Now your grievance letter, at this point, does not need to contain the full details of your grievance, as, in the times, the dates, the witnesses, any evidence, this is provided by you at the grievance meeting. So once your employers has your grievance letter they should arrange a meeting with you this is where they will discuss the full details of your grievance. This is when you need to provide all the information that you have, everything that will help them investigate your concerns and at this meeting, you will be entitled to be accompanied either by a trade union representative or a work colleague of your choice. it's also important to let your employer know what outcome you're looking for in order to resolve your grievance. This could be, paid the money that you think they owe you or for the bullying just to stop.

After the meeting with the employer, they will go investigate if necessary and they will provide you with a written outcome of their findings. Now, this needs to be done in a reasonable time scale, normally line with their policy and hopefully, this will resolve your grievance. However, if you're not happy with the outcome, there will be a process for you to appeal against it, this is normally to a higher level of management. This needs to be done in writing where you set out the grounds of your appeal.

So that's a basic overview of how to raise a grievance with your employer if you do require more information have a look at our website or give us a call.

About the Expert

Mark has been a trade union representative for over 26 years representing employees nationally including MD’s, Directors, CEO’s and HR directors. Mark now supports employers and businesses ‘Poacher become game keeper’, undertaking complex and sensitive investigations, chairing hearings and appeals, providing that independence, which is sometimes needed. Mark is often brought in to provide practical advice and to resolve problems before they end up at an employment tribunal, including having off the record conversations with senior employees.

Grievance Procedure

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