7 Things Employers Need to Know About Handling a Grievance

Receiving a grievance from an employee can be stressful, frustrating and painful. Nobody likes to have unhappy employees.

But it could be be much worse if you handle it wrongly. You could find yourself having to defend  an unnecessary Employment Tribunal claim, which will leads to added stress and expense.

If you handle the grievance well, that can avoided. You can resolve the problem internally without the need for the employee to take it any further.

Here are 7 things you need to know about responding to a grievance from an employee.

1.    Follow the ACAS Code

The Acas Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures was introduced to help businesses and employees resolve grievances in the workplace.

2.    How you respond to a grievance can affect the level of compensation if an Employee does bring a claim

If an employee’s Tribunal claim is successful, but either your business or the employee has failed to follow the Acas Code, the level of compensation awarded can be affected:

  • If your business unreasonably failed to follow the Code, the employment tribunal may increase the employee’s compensation by up to 25%.
  • If the employee unreasonably failed to follow the Code, the employment tribunal may reduce their compensation by up to 25%.

3.    Any grievance should be in writing

A grievance can be any concern, problem or complaint an employee raises with your business.

If a grievance cannot be resolved informally, the employee should raise it in writing with a manager (if the grievance concerns their line manager, the grievance should be raised with another manager).

4.    Your business should hold a meeting and investigate the complaint

If the employee does raise a formal grievance, you should hold a meeting with the employee to enable them to explain their grievance and how they think it should be resolved.

If the matter needs further investigation, you should adjourn the meeting and resume it after the investigation has taken place.

When the meeting is concluded, your business should communicate your decision promptly in writing, including details of any action you intend to take to resolve the grievance.

5.    The employee can bring a companion

An employee has a legal right to bring a companion (a fellow worker or a trade union representative) to a grievance meeting.

However, it would be unreasonable for an employee to bring someone whose presence would prejudice the meeting.

6.    The employee has a right of appeal

Your business should inform the employee they have a right of appeal when you communicate your decision. If the employee is not satisfied with the outcome, they should appeal in writing, specifying the grounds of their appeal.

The appeal should ideally be dealt with by a manager who has not been previously involved. The employee should be informed in advance of the time and place of the appeal hearing and may bring a companion. Your business should communicate your decision promptly in writing.

7.    You may be able to deal with the grievance at the same time as a disciplinary procedure

Employees often submit grievances during disciplinary procedures, either regarding the procedure itself or the circumstances leading up to the initiation of that procedure.

Your business must decide whether to suspend the disciplinary procedure to fully investigate the grievance or, if the issues are related, deal with them both concurrently.

And finally . . .

If you would like to discuss dealing with an employee grievance, please feel free to contact us.

We’ll be able to help you with:-

  • Drafting a grievance procedure that’s tailored to your business;
  • Responding to a grievance;
  • Staying out of an Employment Tribunal by conducting a grievance procedure effectively.

Call Andrew Crisp on 01604 601 575 for more information.