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Editor's message: Even in the most congenial workplaces, from time to time employees may have concerns about their work, working environment or working relationships. Having a clear and effective grievance procedure in place can help organisations resolve such issues at an early stage, often without recourse to a formal process.
The written statement of terms and conditions of employment issued to every new employee must include specified information relating to the redress of grievances. Beyond that, there is no minimum statutory procedure to follow in relation to grievances. However, you must ensure that your process complies with the basic principles of fairness set out in the “Acas code of practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures”. Although employees cannot bring employment tribunal claims based purely on a failure to follow the code, the tribunals will take any such failure into account when considering relevant cases.
While your organisation will be able to deal with many grievances in a straightforward manner, it is also advisable for it to have a clear policy for dealing with some of the more challenging aspects of employee grievances, including persistent trivial grievances and those raised in relation to ongoing disciplinary or capability procedures.
Bar Huberman, acting employment law managing editor
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Additional information on the law on grievance procedures for NHS employers, including dealing with bullying and harassment and job planning and pay progression disputes. To be read in conjunction with the general information on the law on grievance procedures.
In Jinadu v Docklands Buses Ltd EAT/0434/14, the EAT held that an employee was not entitled to have her disciplinary proceedings suspended while the employer considered a grievance that she had raised about her treatment. However, the case was remitted because the tribunal had failed to make clear findings as to whether she was dismissed for gross misconduct or for poor performance.
The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has held that an employer was not obliged to put the disciplinary process on hold until the employee's grievance had been investigated.
A model letter inviting an employee to attend a grievance meeting.
A model letter inviting an employee to a grievance appeal meeting.
A model grievance procedure, which sets out the steps in the grievance process, including informal resolution, mediation, the right to be accompanied and appeals.
HR and legal information and guidance relating to employee grievances.