What should you do if you are unhappy with something to do with work? It might involve a breach of your employment contract, a breakdown in your working relationship, an act of bullying, discrimination or harassment, a health and safety concern, or changes to your working practices. These are all potential grievances.
Most people at some point experience a difficult situation in the workplace and it is in the interests of all parties that this is raised with a line-manager as soon as possible so that any issues can be resolved. The starting point should be your employer’s grievance procedure, as this should clearly set out the steps to be followed.
If possible, you should explore ways of resolving your grievance informally. If this is not an option, a formal grievance should be set out in writing and specify the nature of your complaints. Your employer must be prepared to invite you to a formal hearing to allow your grievance to be heard. This should be done promptly by your employer. An employee has the right to be accompanied at this hearing by a work colleague or trade union representative. Following the meeting, an investigation should be instigated by your employer to establish the facts. This may involve other members of staff being questioned on issues that you have raised. Notes should be made by your employer at every stage and if possible agreed by you. The written outcome should be given to you without unreasonable delay and you should always be offered the opportunity to appeal against the decision. Your employer should then offer you an appeal hearing.
The purpose of raising a grievance is to get matters resolved but unfortunately, this is not always the case. If matters escalate and there is a possibility of a claim being brought in the tribunal, it is important that you are able to evidence to a tribunal that an attempt was made to get matters resolved internally before any legal action was taken. You must try to comply with the ACAS Code of Practice on Grievance Procedures. A failure to do so can affect the level of compensation awarded to you by a tribunal if your claim is successful.
Although the process may appear straightforward, there are plenty of pitfalls for the inexperienced. Expert legal advice should always be sought at an early stage to improve the chances of a successful outcome and to ensure that you protect your legal rights during the grievance process.
How can we help you?
We have extensive experience of handling grievances and can provide you with comprehensive advice at every stage of the process from preparing your grievance letter through to supporting you at the grievance hearing or appeal.
We can also help you with any tribunal claims that you may have to bring if your grievance is not resolved and can advise on the terms of any settlement agreement offered. We also have extensive knowledge of helping employees resolve their grievances through mediation.
We will always offer you a FREE, no-obligation telephone consultation followed by a reduced fixed fee meeting to give you comprehensive advice and support on your employment issues.
We can advise you either by telephone or at a face-to-face meeting at our offices. We also offer out of hours and weekend appointments to help you to obtain early advice and support.