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.

It is in everyone’s interests that grievances are resolved quickly, fairly and efficiently to maintain staff morale within the workplace.

As an employer it is vital to have written grievance procedures in place which give both you and the aggrieved employee a mechanism through which the grievance can be aired and, hopefully, resolved.

Whilst many grievances can be and are resolved informally, those that cannot may be pursued formally by the employee.

Written policies should make clear how formal grievances should be made and how grievance hearings will be handled, to protect both parties.

If the employer mishandles a grievance, the compensation could be substantial and so it is advised expert advice is taken in such situations.