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.