Grievances are concerns, problems or complaints that employees raise with their employers.

Employees should aim to settle most grievances informally with their line manager. Many problems can be raised and settled during the course of everyday working relationships. This also allows for problems to be settled quickly.

If it is not possible to resolve a grievance informally, employees should raise the matter formally and, without unreasonable delay, with a manager who is not the subject of the grievance. This should be done in writing and should set out the nature of the grievance.

Where some form of formal action is needed, what action is reasonable or justified will depend on all the circumstances of the particular case, but whenever a grievance process is being followed, it is important to deal with issues fairly. There are a number of elements to this:

  • Employers and employees should raise and deal with issues promptly and should not unreasonably delay meetings, decisions or confirmation of those decisions
  • Employers and employees should act consistently
  • Employers should carry out any necessary investigations, to establish the facts of the case
  • Employers should give employees an opportunity to put their case before any decisions are made
  • Employers should allow employees to be accompanied at any formal grievance meeting
  • Employers should allow an employee to appeal against any formal decision made

Related services

  • Employee handbook
    Compatible region(s): England & Wales Northern Ireland

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