Running a business can throw up many challenges. Workplace disputes are a perfect example and can cause severe problems for employers and employees alike, undermining working relationships and causing disruption to your day-to-day operations. It is vitally important that employers have appropriate grievance procedures in place to properly handle complaints lodged by employees. Having the support of a dedicated team of employment solicitors can be invaluable in guarding against Employment Tribunal claims. Get in touch today to find out how we can help.
What is a grievance?
A grievance is a problem, concern or complaint that an employee wishes to raise with their employer. Grievances can cover anything from working conditions and pay to failure of process or anything else regarding how you treat your employees. Grievances can be made at any time – this can include as a response to disciplinary procedures or redundancy, or any other situation where they feel your actions have been unfair or unwarranted.
If an employee intends to make an Employment Tribunal claim, they will in many circumstances be expected to have lodged a grievance before this. If they haven't done so, any award of damages could be reduced if the tribunal believes that raising a grievance could have resulted in the dispute being avoided.
How are employees expected to raise grievances?
At first instance, any issues should be raised informally by the employee. If this is not possible, or if an informal approach cannot resolve matters, a formal written grievance should be raised without unreasonable delay as per your company’s grievance policy.
Your grievance policy should specify to whom a grievance should be submitted. If your business does not have a policy in place, this should be submitted to a manager and/or HR.
How should you respond to the raising of a grievance?
You should acknowledge the grievance and carry out investigations if necessary so that the facts of the case can be established. You should notify your employee that a grievance meeting has been scheduled without unnecessary delay.
At the meeting, you should give your employee the opportunity to bring a work colleague or union official if they wish. This person should be allowed to support your employee to put their case and to ask questions.
Following the grievance meeting, you should inform your employee of the outcome as soon as is reasonably practicable. If further investigations are required, a further grievance meeting should be scheduled.
If the grievance is unsuccessful, your employee can appeal, resign or resign and make a claim for unfair dismissal.
Contact our Grievance Procedure Solicitors
The employment solicitors at Wilford Smith regularly take instruction from employers from across England and Wales on a wide variety of employment matters. We have a well-earned reputation for delivering advice that is innovative, strategic and commercially-focused – whatever your circumstances, speak to a member of our team today to find out how we can help.
For specialist advice on a comprehensive range of employment law matters, call Wilford Smith on 01709 828 044 or complete our online contact form.