Handling an employee grievance correctly can mean the difference between a successful resolution and it escalating to an employment tribunal.
You should have a clear grievance procedure in place, which must be easily accessible for all employees and be part of your employee handbook and their employment contract.
If you need advice on your grievance procedure and other HR policies, or have an on-going situation you need expert step-by-step support with, then the Croner Business Helpline can help.
Free with your MIA membership, you have access to expert HR & health and safety advice by calling the Croner Business Support Helpline, quoting the unique MIA member scheme number (members can contact email@example.com or call 01403 800500 for the details!)
Here are our helpline partner Croner’s 10 top tips for managing grievances:
- The informal route: As soon as the complaint is made, ensure line managers speak to the employee about why they are dissatisfied and look for a solution to the problem.
- Ask the right questions: A good place to start is to explore what outcome an employee wants. This will help them work towards a solution rather than focussing on the problem.
- Moving to the formal route: If you can’t resolve the issue informally, you need to ask the employee to put it in writing to take it forward
- Seek advice: You must comply with the ACAS code of practise on disciplinary and grievance procedures. You can also call the free business helpline for expert support.
- Representing your company: The employee’s manager is the most appropriate person as they will have a greater understanding of the issues involved. If it’s about the manager then another manager should take it, or a member of the HR team.
- Establish the facts: Carry out a full investigation and collect all relevant evidence, whether that’s emails, recorded phone calls or speaking with other employees.
- Grievance interviews: Invite any employee who the grievance is against to a meeting and let them know they can be accompanied by a colleague or a trade union representative, if a warning or disciplinary action is on the cards.
- Keep records: Every step must be in writing to protect your business in the event it escalates to an employment tribunal. Write a letter to employees inviting them to meetings, keep minutes and inform employees in writing about decisions made.
- Communicate: All parties must be made aware of what happens at each stage of the process, along with the outcome of any decision. Give full reasons for your decisions.
- Prepare for an appeal: If a grievance is rejected or partially rejected, the employee who brought it does have the right to appeal the decision. Wherever possible, an appeal should be heard by a manager not previously involved in the case.