From time to time, you may face a situation where an employee has an issue at work.

If they raise a concern, then you should take it seriously and address the issue as soon as possible. The Acas Code of Practice on discipline and grievance clearly states so. 

In this article, we explain the best way for you to go about this.

What is a grievance at work?

It’s a concern, problem, or complaint that a staff member raises against your business. What is a work grievance really depends on the employee in question and the issue they’ve experienced, as it will vary from one to the next.

Your staff member may wonder how to go about raising an issue. It’s generally good business practice to have an open workplace.

Encourage your staff to raise any issues with you before making a formal complaint. However, if this doesn’t work then you can direct them to your official policy.

What causes a grievance?

The main reasons why an employee could complain are due to:

What’s a grievance can extend beyond the above points, of course, as your employee may find an issue with something you’re not expecting.

Regardless of the complaint, there’s a process you can use to ensure that all your staff members are treated fairly during a grievant complaint.

Your grievance procedure for employees

How to put in a grievance at work may seem confusing for your staff members. But you can establish in your company handbook what your policies are regarding grievances.

But you should always talk to your staff member before they use your procedure of grievance. Sometimes you can reach an amicable agreement after a quick chat.

If you’ve discussed with your employee the issues and they’re still not happy, then they’ll need to put their grievance in writing for record keeping and evidence. 

If they submit the grievance verbally, you'll still have to investigate the claim. There's also potentially a valid reason why they can't submit their concerns in writing (such as if they have a disability). 

How to put a grievance in writing

The staff member should start this process off by writing directly to you, detailing the issues they have experienced.

When writing a grievance, they may explain how they want you to address the problem to resolve it.

You can acknowledge this letter with a response, making sure to include dates on everything your write for future reference.

If you’re wondering how to how to write a grievance response, in your letter you should:

  • Keep to the point.
  • Address the facts, rather than addressing allegations.
  • Maintain an impartial tone of voice.
  • Explain how you’ll address the grievance and how long you expect an investigation to take.

After this you can arrange a meeting to discuss the matter further. Your employee has a statutory right to bring a colleague or trade union official with them, although they’ll have to inform you of this decision.

You can run through their issues at this point to establish all the facts and see if there’s a way to reach a satisfactory resolution.

And after the meeting, you should write to the employee to explain what your decision is. This letter should explain how you expect to resolve the issue.

Further investigations

Keep in mind that a meeting won’t necessarily resolve the employee’s issue.

If you need to carry our further investigations, consider putting the meeting on hold so that you can then oversee a more thorough examination of the problem.

When you have provided your verdict, remember that your employee can appeal your decision.

They must do this in writing without a major delay. It's good business practice to do so, although it isn't essential.

But, as a business, you should provide them enough time to do so—establish the deadline in your official policies.

Need a little more help?

We can help you to deal with employee grievances at work. Get in touch with us today: 0800 783 2806.