Grievance procedures are used by employers to look at certain complaints made by employees in as fair a way as is possible. It is important for employers to take grievances seriously and to follow the correct procedure. At Ironmonger Curtis with Bell & Buxton our employment lawyers are experts in advising on grievance procedures.
Do you need an employment solicitor to help you with a grievance?
- If you are an employee and you think you need help, take a look at our workplace representation page.
- If you are an employer and an employee has raised a grievance, take a look at our effective disciplinary and grievance procedures service.
What is a grievance?
Grievances are defined in the Acas Code of Practice as “concerns, problems or complaints that employees raise with their employers.”
Grievances can be raised verbally or in writing. However, to be “formal” a grievance has to be in writing. As soon as an employer receives a formal grievance, there is a legal obligation on them to deal with it in a particular way, following a particular procedure.
Before dealing with a grievance it is wise to check out the Acas Code of Practice. Employers should also make sure they follow their own grievance procedures (usually found in company handbooks), which may well set out much more detail.
It is usually a good idea to try and resolve informal (i.e. verbal) grievances informally before embarking upon the formal process, assuming that the employee is happy with this. However, in some cases, it may be appropriate to go straight to the formal procedure, for example if the grievance is of a very serious nature, or if the employee has specifically requested that they wish for the complaint to be dealt with formally. In these circumstances, employers should ask the employee to set out their complaints in writing, in as much detail as possible.
It is very important to note that a grievance may not always “look like” a formal document. It does not have to be headed “grievance” for instance. Any complaint in writing made by an employee about the organisation (or anyone in it!) may be a grievance and should be treated as such. If an employer fails to spot a grievance, it could result in claims in the employment tribunals, such as claims for unfair dismissal, constructive unfair dismissal, discrimination or whistleblowing, and enhanced compensatory payments if those claims are successful.
How can Ironmonger Curtis employment solicitors help you?
Call our employment solictiors on 0114 249 59 69 for more information. We can advise you on the best way to handle grievances. Our employment solicitors are trained experts who have years of experience advising on grievances and other company procedures.