Is an employer obliged to provide notes on an investigation into a grievance to the employee who raised the grievance?
The employer should notify the employee of its decision on his or her grievance in writing, setting out the reasons for the decision. The employer would not usually include copies of notes on the investigation as a matter of course, but if the employee requests these, the employer may have a duty to disclose the documents in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998.
The employee has the right to see personal information that the employer has about him or her held as a computer record, or in a structured paper filing system. This could include notes on the investigation into his or her grievance. However, before disclosing the data, the employer must assess whether or not disclosure will breach the confidentiality of others. If a third party is identified in the notes, for example a witness who was interviewed as part of the investigation, the information can be disclosed only with that person's consent, or if it is reasonable in the circumstances to disclose it. Alternatively, the employer could provide the notes to the employee after removing the parts from which the third party could be identified.
The employer should also bear in mind that the purpose of the grievance process is to allow the employee to raise concerns or problems. The more transparent the employer's process, the more likely it is that the employee will be satisfied with the way it has handled his or her grievance.