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Grievance Issues

Have you got issues at work?

As a worker there may be at some point, a time when you will want to raise an issue with your employer and this will be a grievance. This could be for a variety of reasons...

Any employee has the right in line with the ACAS code of practice to raise a grievance at work and the employer should deal with the grievance in a reasonable manner, from meeting the employee, carrying out reasonable investigations, giving a response and then providing the opportunity to appeal if needed.

Grievances are any concern, problem or complaint you may have at work, from a complaint against an individual to your working conditions.

Do you have a grievance?

Examples that may cause grievances include:

  • new working practices/organisational changes
  • Tasks you are being asked to do and you shouldn't be
  • terms and conditions of employment are being changed
  • Your pay and/or holidays
  • You feel you are being treated differently to others, lack of training and support, not given that promotion
  • Unfair practices
  • New targets or unfair performance pressures
  • You feel you are being bullied and harassed
  • some form of discrimination
  • disagreements with co-workers
  • change of contract

It is often best to try and deal with the grievance at an early stage, using an informal approach or procedure, with line manager. Sometimes however, because of the issues involved maybe using the formal approach is the best option, especially when the informal approach didn't work and/or it involves a complaint about your line manager.

How to raise a grievance

If you have tried to resolve your grievance informally and this was unsuccessful you may need to raise the grievance formally. Your Company should have a policy or procedure to follow or you could follow the ACAS code of practice. The code is best practice and will be taken into account should any claim be taken to an employment tribunal.

You Company should have a procedure and this may be contained in either:

  • Company Handbook
  • HR policy
  • Company intranet
  • Your own contract

Should you end up making a claim to an employment tribunal, there are strict time limits, within which you'll need to make your claim. This is usually three months minus one day from the date of the last incident you are complaining about see employment tribunal time (Link).

The time limit still applies even if you're taking out a grievance, so it is important to keep the date in mind and make sure that you don't run out of time whilst going through the grievance procedure.

Writing to your employer

You will need to write to your employer as soon as you believe you have a grievance. The grievance should be in writing letting your Company know the details of what you are aggrieved about, see grievance letter template (Link) and statement of case for grievance template (Link).

The Letter should provide an outline of the grievance and the statement of case will contain all the facts and evidence supporting your grievance, this may include, dates and times and any witnesses or supporting documentation you may have in your possession. It will be useful and helpful to outline the required outcome you are looking for from the grievance.

It is important that you keep copies of all correspondence with your employer.

Meeting with your employer

Your employer should arrange a meeting with you in a reasonable time and in line with the Company policy. The meeting is to discuss your grievance in more detail and you should be formally invited to this meeting.

You have a statutory right to be accompanied to the meeting either by:

  • a work colleague
  • a trade union representative

If you don't have access to either of these, Premier Advocates can help you and provide you with a professional trade union representative or you could ask your employer to bring someone else, this will depend of your contract or the Company policy. Your Employer does not have to agree but it is worth asking, in writing, and explain why you are making that request.

At the meeting, your employer should give you the opportunity to explain your grievance in more detail and ask you for suggestions of how it can be resolved. After the meeting, your employer should write to you, in a reasonable time, explaining the outcome of the investigation and what they have decided to do about your grievance.

The role of your trade union representative

During the meeting your representative can:

  • Present and/or sum your case for you
  • Speak on your behalf
  • Ask questions of your employer
  • Confer with you during the meeting

The trade union representative will not be allowed to answer any questions on your behalf or speak on your behalf if you do not wish them to do so. Before or after the meeting your trade union representative can:

  • Write your grievance letter or statement of case for you
  • Ensure the employer follows the correct procedure

We can provide you with a Trade Union representative who specialises in accompanying employees during the grievance process even if you are not in a union.

Investigation

Following the meeting your employer should carry out a reasonable investigation, looking at the points you raised at the meeting and then collect any evidence needed, this may include speaking to any witnesses looking at emails etc. Once the investigation is completed in line with the Company handbook and policy, the employer will write to you with an outcome and decision on your grievance.

Appealing the decision

If you are not satisfied and don't agree with your employer's decision, you should write a letter of appeal to them See appeal letter template (Link): There will be a time limit for you to send you appeal letter and this will be set out either:

  • In the grievance outcome letter
  • Your Company policy

The appeal letter should state:

  • You are appealing against their decision, and
  • explaining why you don't agree with their decision

Your employer should then arrange a further meeting with you to discuss your appeal. This should be with a different and more senior manager who should deal with this appeal, although this will depend on the size of the Company and resources available to them.

You have a statutory right to be accompanied to the appeal meeting either by:

  • a work colleague
  • a trade union representative

After this appeal meeting, the employer should write to you to tell you their final decision after completing further investigations. If you're still not happy with your employer's decision, you may want to think about other ways of sorting out your problems with your employer.

Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to:

  • Go to mediation
  • Use ACAS pre-conciliation service
  • Make a claim to the employment tribunal service

If you are experiencing any problems at work or just want to discuss any issue, Please contact us, with no obligation, to see how our expert trade union representatives might be able to support and accompany you at your place of work to try and resolve the problem.

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