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How to deal with employees who submit trivial or repetitive grievances

Author: Darren Newman


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  • Ensure that the written grievance procedure allows for maximum flexibility in dealing with grievances.
  • Make an initial assessment of the cogency and potential seriousness of a grievance when it is submitted.
  • Where the grievance appears to be concerned with a trivial issue, discuss informally with the employee whether or not there is a real need to pursue the matter through the grievance procedure.
  • Treat deliberately false or malicious allegations as matters of misconduct.
  • If the grievance is clearly frivolous, inform the employee that it will not be dealt with in accordance with the grievance procedure, unless the employee can show that it is based on a legitimate concern.
  • Proceed to a grievance hearing as quickly as possible where there appears to be a legitimate, but straightforward or minor, point at issue.
  • Ask the employee for clarification if the grievance repeats an issue that is already being dealt with.
  • Reject the grievance without a hearing where it is clear that there is nothing new being raised.
  • Deal with a grievance that is closely related to an ongoing issue under the existing process.