6. Questions to Ask at a Grievance Meeting
It is always important to prepare for a grievance meeting to make sure that you come out of the meeting with everything you need to know to conduct an investigation and come to a decision. The employee should also be aware of your grievance procedure and their right to be accompanied at the meeting, to prevent any arguments about lack of procedure down the line!
When preparing for a grievance meeting, it is recommended that you ask the employee to put their grievance in writing (if they have not already done so) as this will allow you to understand what their grievance is about, prepare some questions and have an agenda and/or script so that you do not forget to cover anything. It is the opportunity for the employee to put forward their grievance, so the person hearing the meeting will predominantly be listening to what the employee has to say, but you should also ask any clarifying questions and make a note of the responses.
Questions you should always ask at the beginning of a grievance hearing / meeting.
The introductory questions which should be asked at the start of every grievance hearing are:
- Do you understand that this meeting is being held under our formal grievance policy and procedure?
- Have you provided copies of documents or information we may be referring to?
- Have you been given access to or provided with a copy of the Company’s grievance procedure?
- Do you know that you have a statutory right to be accompanied to this grievance hearing by a work colleague or trade union official?
And if they are not accompanied:
- Are you happy to continue the meeting without being accompanied by a work colleague or trade union official?
If an employee answers ‘no’ to any of these questions, you may need to explain further or may need to consider adjourning until such time that they can respond positively (unless it is not vital for the meeting, e.g. if they can provide copies of documents for review during or after the meeting).
Towards the end of the meeting, after you have asked all relevant questions and the employee has had the opportunity to respond, you should ask:
- Who do you think should be spoken to in the course of the investigation (and why)? (You may already have some names noted during the discussion)
- What outcome are you hoping for from your grievance?
This will help to conduct the investigation and make recommendations at the end of the investigation as to what action (if any) would be appropriate.
You should also ask:
- Do you think you have had a fair hearing and been given the opportunity to say everything you wanted to, in regard to the allegation(s)?
If the employee answers ‘no’, ask for what reason they feel they have not had a fair hearing and allow them to make any further comments they wish to make in regard to their grievance.