Zeba Sayed

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.

Zeba Sayed, employment law editor

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