How long does an employer have to respond to a grievance? There are several reasons why your employee might raise a grievance with you – although ideally they should raise a grievance with you informally at first.
It could be as simple as a conversation with you about a problem that they are experiencing in your workplace.
Once your employee has raised a grievance with you, you should hold a grievance meeting within 4 weeks unless there’s any extenuating circumstances not to do so.
What Reasons Are There For Raising A Grievance?
There are many reasons why your employee might raise a grievance, such as:
- They have raised a grievance informally but feel that it hasn’t had the desired effect or wasn’t dealt with properly.
- They do not don’t want the issue to be dealt with informally and want a formal process to determine the outcome.
- It’s a serious issue such as non-payment, whistleblowing, or harassment.
It might also be relating to other terms and conditions in their employment contract, things they’ve been asked to do as part of their role, the way they have been treated, or even if they have experienced bullying or discrimination at work.
Crucially, if your employee feels like they have been discriminated against because of protected characteristics or beliefs (sex, age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief) then this is a serious discrimination case and should be treated with careful consideration.
How Does The Grievance Process Work?
Once your employee raises a formal grievance, there’s a formal procedure that all employers should follow.
ACAS sets out a code of practice, although most employers should have their own grievance procedure in place. The procedure should follow the ACAS guidance as a minimum and be in writing AND easy for anyone to find.
The procedure should make it clear that you will process ALL grievances fairly and consistently and give everyone a chance to make their case before coming to a decision.
There must be an investigation to ensure that all information is brought forward, and employees can bring a relevant person to a grievance meeting – that might be a legal presentative, union representative, or someone from the Citizen’s Advice Bureau.
Any actions arising from the grievance meeting should be taken as soon as possible and the employee must be given the opportunity to appeal against the outcome.
The grievance process should flow as follows:
- The employee raises an informal grievance with you to see if you can resolve the issue without any formal action.
- If it is not resolved, your employee should write to you and inform you of their decision to raise a formal grievance, outlining their reasons for doing so.
- You’ll then have a grievance meeting with your employee once all evidence has been collated and the investigation has been concluded.
- An outcome will be reached, and you will inform your employee of that outcome and give them the opportunity to appeal any decision they disagree with.
- If your employee still feels that you haven’t reached the outcome they were looking for, they might consider taking the case to an employment tribunal
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