The grievance hearing is a formal meeting where the employer meets with the employee with the aims to address and resolve the grievance raised by them. It is important that the employer has a written grievance procedure in place and if not should at least follow the ACAS code of practice. It is important to remember that the grievance hearing itself is just one part of the overall grievance procedure or process.
The key parts involved in the grievance hearing process are:
Grievance - the employee makes a grievance or complaint is normally in the form of a letter, memo or email, however, there are times when the grievance is done verbally
The grievance hearing – the employer should hold a meeting with the employee to discuss their concerns
Investigation – the employer must investigate the grievance and looking into all the facts of the concerns raised
After the hearing – the employer should write to the employee and inform them of the outcome
The appeal process – the employee has the right to appeal the decision if they are unhappy with the outcome
The grievance appeal meeting – the employer should meet with the individual and re-examine the decision based on the grounds of the appeal
After the appeal hearing – the employer should write to the employee a written copy of the outcome of the appeal and state that this is the final outcome
When an employee raises a formal grievance, the employer should arrange to hold a meeting within a reasonable time ideally within 5 - 7 working days.
The employer should allow employees enough time to prepare for the meeting and inform them that they have the right to be accompanied at the meeting.
The employee must choose their companion from one of the following:
A work colleague
A trade union representative
An official employed by a trade union
It is also good practice and under discrimination law the employer needs to consider a disabled employee’s request to bring someone else for additional support, such as a carer or family member or friend as a reasonable adjustment.
The grievance hearing must be fair and well-conducted and below are a few key steps to follow:
Introduce – it is good practice to introduce everyone present and explain their role and that this is a formal grievance hearing. If no one is accompanying the employee, explain that they were offered the right
Explain the process – it is good practice to outline the procedure and how the hearing will run
Grievance - invite the employee and/or their representative to explain their grievance in full and what resolution they are seeking. Also request they for any supporting information and evidence. Allow them to raise any point and ensure they have raised everything they wanted to.
Close the meeting – Explain what will happen next and give an approximate timescale for the investigation to be completed
Make a record of the meeting – it is vitally important that a written record is keep of the meeting and ask the individual to confirm and agree the notes from the meeting
The employer must now undertake a fair and reasonable investigation before deciding on the outcome of the grievance.
Any grievance investigations and the outcome from those investigation should be achieved after following a fair, thorough, and timely process. There are times when this is difficult to accomplish within the business due to a lack of resources, experience, and someone independent. This is when the use external specialist investigator can be the best and most cost-effective option saving management time and it ensures that the grievance is handled promptly and independently.
If you need support with carrying out a workplace investigation, our consultants are highly experienced, please do contact us.