Share Article: Help! My employee has raised a grievance, what do I do?

Employees may raise concerns, problems or complaints from time to time. They may or may not term these complaints a “grievance”. Whether or not they do, having and following a Grievance Procedure will invariably help deal with the issue.

It is of course best to try and nip problems in the bud before employees resort to a formal complaint. Parties are more likely to reach a resolution before positions become entrenched. ACAS recommend an open policy of consultation and communication with employees in order that minor issues can be sorted before they become major problems.

If however an employee raises a formal grievance, a Grievance Procedure will empower your managers to deal with it with confidence. The normal course would be to meet with the employee to properly understand their complaint, then investigate the complaint (which is likely to involve meeting with other employees about whom the complaint is made or colleagues said to have witnessed incidents) before meeting again to discuss your findings. Employees have the right to be accompanied at grievance meetings. Findings should also be confirmed in writing, with the opportunity to appeal the outcome.

The extent of investigation needed will depend on the size and resources of the organisation as well as the nature of the complaint. Notes should be taken of any meetings, with meeting participants ideally confirming their content. Documents or other evidence (such as CCTV) might also need to be considered.

The outcome of a Grievance Procedure could be disciplinary action for an employee who is the subject of a complaint. It might also however be tempting to discipline an employee for bringing what is considered to be a malicious complaint without substance. Tread carefully before so doing, as you might fall foul of legislation on Victimisation and Whistleblowing.

We can help with

  • Drafting Grievance Procedures
  • Investigating a grievance
  • Where an employee appeals a grievance outcome
  • Tribunal claims arising from a grievance

Contact Louise Taft on 020 7935 3522 or if you have any questions about a staff grievance.

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