A grievance is a concern, problem or complaint that employees raise with their employer. An employee can make a grievance at any time – even in response to:
- Working Conditions
- Performance Process
If you’re working in a firm and find that the action taken by the employer is unfair, or unwarranted, or is breaching your contract, you can file a grievance against them.
In general, you can lodge a grievance before claiming constructive dismissal; otherwise, any damages you are awarded at an employment tribunal could be reduced.
You or your employer is not legally bound to follow when raising or handling a grievance at work. However, there are some principles you and your employer must consider.
Keep reading know them.
Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures
LRA (Labour Relations Agency) Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance procedures set out principles that employees and employers must follow to ensure a reasonable standard of behaviour in handling grievances.
Raising a Grievance at Work
Talk to your employer informally before raising a formal grievance. If this informal approach doesn’t help, resort to raising the matter formally.
Use your employer’s formal procedures for grievances. The LRA Code of Practice provides the necessary guidance to every employer.
Every employer should put their grievance procedures in writing. You can find these procedures in any of the following:
- Company Handbook
- Human Resources (HR) or the Personnel Manual
- HR Intranet Site
- Employment Contract
Your employer is legally bound to give you in writing the name of the person that you can apply to or to seek redress or put the matter right.
Also, remember that the employer must give you in writing the name of the person that you can apply to.
Here are some steps that your employer’s grievance procedure is likely to include to comply with the Code:
- Writing a letter to set out the details of your grievance
- Holding a meeting to discuss the issue
- The ability to appeal your employer’s decision
Usually, the grievance policy of your employer may want you to copy your grievance to HR, or only send it to the HR officer. If there is no policy, simply lodge the grievance in any event with your manager or HR.
Be sure the grievance you raise should set out in as much detail as possible. The particulars must clearly mention why you’re not satisfied with the actions of your employer.
Find here quick guides to writing a grievance:
- To begin with, set out that you would like to lodge a formal grievance.
- Mention the reasons or circumstances like bullying, or discrimination that has led you to write the grievance.
- Give particular reference to relevant facts. This can include, time, dates, parties to any discussions and reference to all pertinent
- Referring to past events where required to discuss the background and underlie issue is appropriate. But, it’s essential to highlight why you’re raising the grievance now.
- If it’s the issue of redundancy or a performance improvement plan, explain why you consider any process is unfair – like why it’s unrealistic time-frames for the improvement or bogus allegations or no sufficient training to support.
- Set out the chronology by giving particular reference to relevant facts times, dates, parties to any discussions and reference to all appropriate
- Give reference to, if relevant, how the actions of your employer have affected your health
Don’t become too inflammatory or emotive. Even if you’re taking the issue with an individual or the way the organization is run. Instead, try to be as diplomatic as possible while putting your points across. Keep in mind that you are raising the grievance to cite your frustrations and highlight your ill-treatment without across the line into a ‘slanging match.’
How Employers Deal with Grievances
Once you lodge an informal grievance, your employer will acknowledge it and carry out necessary investigations to establish the facts.
The concerned managers will notify you of the grievance meeting with unreasonable delay. They will give you an option to bring a trade union official or a work colleague to the meeting.
These persons are entitled to fully participate at the meeting, support you and put questions to your employer. However, they can’t answer questions on your behalf.
At the meeting, you need to properly put your case, together with any suggestions you have for resolving it.
Once the grievance is heard, and the meeting is over, the employer will write and notify you about the results as soon as possible. It may be possible that furniture investigations arise after the meeting and another grievance meeting may be held.
Raising a grievance at work is not easy. This is because its nature and form need to be accurate and you should put it across your position. There many some situations and angles where you may include the wrong thing or omit some crucial pieces of information. It’s, therefore, essential to obtain early legal advice to have a grievance at work.