How to manage employee grievances

A grievance is when an employee raises a complaint or issue with their employer. Often this is done informally, and the word 'grievance' is not used and matters are resolved informally. However, an employee can raise a formal grievance and there are procedures that need to be followed in managing any grievance.
It is a legal requirement to have a written grievance procedure so that employees know how and to whom they should raise a formal grievance and how it will be dealt with. 
Often a formal grievance will require some investigation to be carried out and for formal meetings to be held.  In this section we cover all the procedures, an employee's right to be accompanied. We also discuss the situation where an employee raises a grievance after being invited to a formal disciplinary meeting. 

Frequently asked questions

Yes, an employee has the right to be accompanied by a work colleague or trade union official (even if the company does not recognise a trade union). Please see the sample grievance procedure for further guidance.

Yes, an employee does have the right to appeal against a grievance outcome. You should set out their right to appeal in the outcome letter, advising who to contact and in what time frame.  See the sample policy that recommends 5 days from receiving the outcome as an appropriate amount of time.

You should still meet with the employee to ascertain the reasons for their informal grievance and how their issues might be resolved. Depending on the nature of the grievance, even if they do not wish to raise it formally, you may still need to follow the grievance investigation procedure.

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