When an employee raises a formal complaint or grievance it needs careful handling. We can manage the grievance for you, conduct any necessary investigation and deliver an outcome. Alternatively, we can handle any appeals against previous grievances.
The complaint could be about anything related to their employment, For example, a complaint or concern about other employees or even how and where they work.
You can often handle the matter informally. A quiet word between a manager and the employee may resolve the issue.
If not, you will need to handle it more formally. It’s important to follow a proper grievance process that complies with the Acas Code of Practice. Although there is no legal requirement to do so, there are two good reasons why we recommend it:
First, following the Acas code helps ensure you handle things in a fair and balanced manner. This can reassure the employee that you have given their complaint a fair hearing. In addition, if the employee appeals against your decision, it’s less likely that they can base their appeal on the process.
Second, if the employee later takes a claim to an Employment Tribunal, you will be in a stronger position. Employment Tribunals take a dim view of employers that have not complied with the Acas code. This can add up to 25% to any financial award in favour of the employee.
Common causes of a grievance
An employee could complain about anything that’s work related, even a customer! However, common causes of grievances include:
- Disciplinary action against an employee
- Being denied a pay rise or promotion
- A change in the business the employee doesn’t like
- Perceived unfair treatment, harassment, bullying or discrimination
- Poor or badly handled communication
- Risk of redundancy
These are just some examples, there are many more. Complaints can be very diverse in nature. In practice, there are often elements from several of these included in a complaint.
How we can help
We are experts at grievances and the associated investigations. If you need assistance managing an employee grievance, especially if it is of a sensitive nature, we can help.
Sometimes you can anticipate a potential conflict, for example if you have to deliver bad news. Don’t wait for the complaint, talk to us in advance and plan your approach.
We can help reduce the risk of conflict and limit your exposure at any future Employment Tribunal. If your matter requires legal advice, we have trusted employment law partners we can refer you to.
If you would like to discuss getting our assistance with a grievance, please contact us today.