A grievance is a concern, problem or complaint that an employee raises with his employer. Most grievances will concern issues that are within an employer’s control i.e. treatment afforded to employees by management or other employees, but sometimes the issue may be in respect of the behaviour of clients or customers. All grievances should be treated in the same way regardless of the subject matter.
The Acas Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures forms the basis of the procedure which employers and employees must follow in the event that an employee wishes to raise a grievance.
The formal procedure recommended is that employees set out their grievance in writing to their employer. However, just because concerns are not put in writing does not mean that you should dismiss something as not being a grievance. Obviously not all complaints should be regarded as a grievance but employers should encourage employees to put their concerns in writing so that it can be dealt with comprehensively.
Employer should be aware of written grievances that are combined with something else, for example a resignation letter. It may be appropriate to deal with the concerns raised as a grievance even though the employee has indicated they wish to resign.
When employers receive a grievance, a formal meeting should be held without unreasonable delay, at a time and place notified to the employee in advance.
The grievance meeting should be used to clarify precisely what the grievance is and to get from the employee any specific details (dates of incidents, names of witnesses, etc.). The employer should then carry out a full investigation which may include speaking to other people and getting formal statements. A conclusion should then be reached – either that the grievance is well-founded, or alternatively, that it is partly well-founded. On the other hand it may be that the employer finds the grievance to be wholly unsubstantiated. The decision should be notified to the employee and if it is the case that the grievance is partly or wholly unsubstantiated, the employee should be allowed the right of appeal.
The employee has the right to be accompanied by a fellow employee or a trade union representative at the hearing. Employees should be reminded of this when they are invited to the meeting.
If you need any clarification on this issue then contact the Peninsula Advice Service on 0844 892 2772.