HR Guide - Grievance: Formal Grievance

This document does not constitute a legal opinion or legal advice and is intended to be a guide only. To ensure you follow best practice (and, if applicable, do not compromise your insurance), you should contact the Alcumus HR Consultancy team before embarking on the process and then at each subsequent stage.

Formal Grievance

An employee has a concern, problem or complaint and submits a formal grievance in writing to their manager. If the grievance concerns their manager this should be raised with another manager.

Arrange a grievance meeting

• Check your handbook to ensure you fully understand the grievance process.

• Usually the line manager (or alternative manager if the grievance is about the line manager) should arrange a meeting

• The employee has the right to be accompanied by a work colleague or a trade union representative

• Write to the employee and schedule the meeting within the timescale outlined in the handbook and allow time for the employee to arrange to be accompanied

• If it is not possible to work within the documented timescale, ensure the employee is made aware of the reasons why

• If possible, arrange for a note taker to be available. This will ensure that you can fully concentrate on the conduct and content of the meeting.

The grievance meeting

• Ensure there is a comfortable, open atmosphere

• Ensure there are no interruptions

• Allow the employee to air their concerns

• Ask sufficient questions to ensure a full understanding of the matters at hand

• Take notes to ensure that an accurate record of the discussions is kept

• Summarise your understanding of the issues to ensure accuracy

• Ask the employee how they would ideally like the matter resolved

• Agree next steps so the employee is clear on what is going to happen

• Agree proposed timescales.

Role of the companion

The companion may:

• present the employee’s case;

• discuss matters with the employee during the meeting;

• sum up for the employee; and

• respond on the employee’s behalf to any views expressed.

The companion may not answer any questions on behalf of the employee.

The grievance investigation

• Promptly speak to all relevant personnel or external witnesses, preferably face to face but if this is not possible, by phone. Try to avoid e-mail as matters can be more easily misinterpreted

• Preferably, take written, signed statements

• Question and challenge responses in order to ensure the matter is fully understood and appreciated by all concerned

• Take notes to ensure that an accurate record of the investigation meetings and discussions are made

• Analyse any appropriate key information – figures/e-mails/letters/feedback forms etc.

The grievance outcome

• Unless previously agreed otherwise, write to the employee explaining fully your findings and the reasons for these

• Inform the employee that they have the right of appeal

• Follow the documented procedure to ensure the employee is aware of to whom they should appeal in writing and the timescales

• If it has been previously agreed to communicate the outcome at a meeting, schedule this with appropriate time for the employee to arrange to be accompanied

• Take notes of the meeting

• Follow-up with confirmation of the grievance outcome in writing with the right of appeal and confirm details of any actions that you intend to take

• Place copies of all notes, evidence gathered and letters on the employee’s personnel file.