How to raise a grievance at work in 2022: a complete guide

8 December 2022 by Robin - 11 minutes of reading time

how to raise a grievance at work

How can I raise a grievance at work? What are the steps? Am I entitled to a meeting? As an employer, what should I do if an employee raises a grievance. You may be an employee, and have problems in your workplace. This can be anything from not being satisfied with how you are treated, to harassment or discrimination, and more. You may then raise a grievance at work. Your Benefits will tell you everything you need to know.

What does it mean to raise a grievance at work?

You may be a worker. Additionally, there could be something bothering you at work. Moreover, you may have tried notifying your manager. However, the outcome that was brought about may not satisfy you. Then, you can raise a formal grievance. Indeed, you will be able to do this in writing.

It should be the case that your employer has a grievance procedure. Indeed, this should tell you, in writing, how to raise a grievance (also in writing). Furthermore, it should tell you exactly what to do step by step.

You could use mediation to solve problems that you have with your employer. Indeed, you can demand mediation anytime during this entire process.

Additionally, following you raising your grievance, you will need to meet with your employer in order to discuss your grievance. Moreover, you may disagree with the decision your employer takes on your grievance. Then, you can make an appeal.

Lastly, note that your employer and yourself need to adhere to the Acas code of practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures. Then, if your claim is taken to an employment tribunal, your pay may be adjusted. Indeed, this could be up to 25%.

Your employer may have done unfair dismissal. There is no time limit in employment law. In fact, you could get legal advice. You could also make a formal complaint at a tribunal claim against your line manager.

Why should I raise a grievance at work?

You may raise a grievance at work if you were treated poorlyharassed or discriminated against. In fact, if one of these happen, they may even warrant a formal investigation. This is the case for discrimination and harassment. 

Because of this, it’s important to know what can and cannot be considered discrimination or harassment. Indeed, there are certain characteristics for which you cannot be discriminated against in the workplace. Indeed, they are the following: 

Protected characteristics in the UK in 2022
Characteristic Is it a protected characteristic? (and thus illegal to discriminate against it)
Sexual orientation Yes
Personal belief or religion Yes
Sex Yes
Race (which includes national, ethnic origin, nationality or colour) Yes
Being pregnant, or on a benefit like maternity leave Yes
Having a disability Yes
Being in a civil partnership or marriage Yes
Having undergone gender reassignment Yes
Age Yes
Education No

Now, it’s important to know that these may not always be done consciously. However, discriminating against someone unconsciously cannot prevent them from raising a grievance. Indeed, an employee may still do so.

If an employer truly did not mean to discriminate against an employee, then their best bet is to clear the air during the grievance meeting. In fact, they may then find a compromise. However, note that an employer is also responsible for the actions of their workers.

It could be the case that it was the employees that discriminated against another employee. However, in this case, the employer is still responsible. In fact, an employer is responsible for wrongdoing such as these when done by employees.

How to raise a grievance at work: can I get mediation?

You could be able to get mediation to help with your grievance. But what is mediation? It is an impartial third party that will help you settle a dispute that you have with your employer or another employee. Indeed, a mediator is an independent individual. 

A meeting or discussion with your employer may not bring the results that you expected for your grievance. Then, a mediator could be a sound idea. Indeed, then, you would be able to bring a third party in to try to resolve the situation.

However, note that mediators should be used for issues that could be resolved through talking. However, they should not be used for matters that warrant a formal investigation. Indeed, for matters like discrimination and harassment, you should not use a mediator.

Note that mediation is confidential. Additionally, it has to be voluntary. It will not force a conclusion or way to resolve the dispute on your employer or yourself. Indeed, both you and your employer need to agree on the solution that the mediator helps both of you to find.

How to raise a grievance at work: what are the steps?

How to raise a grievance at work: what are the steps?

Your employer needs to have a grievance procedure. Indeed, this needs to be put in writing. Additionally, it needs to be made available to everyone. This may include the Human Resources manual or the intranet of the business. Additionally, it needs to include the following information:

  • The amount of time that each step should take;
  • What steps should be taken in order to appeal the decision that your employer takes;
  • How to do a meeting to talk about the issue with your employer;
  • The person to send the grievance to, if the person you typically contact is implicated in the subject of your grievance;
  • The person to which the grievance should normally be sent to;
  • How to write your grievance, and all the information involved with it.

Additionally, if you are an employee, there could be a number of benefits you are entitled to. In fact, there are many you could be missing out on. Then, Your Benefits can help. First, we provide a slew of articles on benefits, schemes and other things to know.

Second, we also provide a free simulator which can show you the benefits that you are entitled to. In fact, there are a number of financial aid that you are entitled to but aren’t claiming. And again, this service is completely free. 

Finally, our advisers are available to help you save on all types of bills. Indeed, this includes water, power, phone… You could save money on all of them. Simply ask to be called back to have our advisers call you back.

How to raise a grievance at work: what will the meeting achieve?

If you raise a grievance at work, you should also have a meeting with your employer to try to resolve the problem. In fact, this will also help both of you in establishing the facts of the situation, as well as hear out both sides of the situation. Additionally, you will be able to determine what the facts are.

The goal of the meeting is to find a solution to the situation. Indeed, it is scheduled in order to see if there is common ground to be found, and the solutions that can be determined. Note that, as an employee, you can take additional documents to support your grievance to the meeting.

Typically, the meeting will be organized and run by your employer. Indeed, they will first read through the grievance. After they have done so, they will see if the employee has anything that they would like to add

Following the meeting, you will be informed of what will follow by your employer. Indeed, they will first tell of their decision. Additionally, they willl also inform you what they intend to do next (if anything), and how you are able to appeal their decision.

You can take someone with you to the meeting. In fact, this can be a trade union representative, or even a co-worker. Additionally, depending on what Human Resources allows, you could also be accompanied by a Citizens Advice Bureau worker or family member.

How to raise a grievance at work: how can I appeal a decision?

How to raise a grievance at work: how can I appeal a decision?

First, in order to appeal the decision that was taken on your appeal, you need to make sure that you have gone through the grievance procedure at your workplace. However, afterwards, you can make an appeal. Indeed, the grievance procedure should tell you the person to which you have to send your appeal.

Second, it should say how much time you have to make an appeal. Third, it should determine and indicate the procedure that should take place. Lastly, it needs to say the manner in which the meeting will be conducted.

You can bring someone with you to the meeting. Indeed, that is one of your rights. Additionally, a manager can take care of the appeal process. However, this is if the manager was not involved in the grievance process. Lastly, at the end of the appeal meeting, you should be told of your employer’s decision in writing.

How to deal with a grievance raised by an employee

You may be an employer. Additionally, an employee may raise a grievance at work. If that is the case, there is a certain way you need to handle it. First, it may not have been solved informally. Then, they should go through the steps necessary to put their grievance in writing. 

All businesses need to have a grievance procedure. Indeed, this means that your business should outline the steps to take if someone wants to make a formal written grievance complaint. Furthermore, it needs to indicate how much time the process takes as well as what to do.

Once an employee has raised a formal grievance at work, you need to have a meeting with them. After the meeting, you will have to inform them of the decision that you came to in writing. However, note that if they are not satisfied with that decision, they can make an appeal.

Note that your grievance procedure should follow the Acas Code of Practice. Indeed, this is not a legal requirement. However, it is highly recommended

Additionally, you may not have adhered to the code. Then, the tribunal may chose to reduce or to increase any amount of money awarded in the case. More specifically, they can decrease or increase it by 25%.

What should my grievance procedure contain?

You may be an employer. If that is the case, you are legally obligated to provide a grievance procedure in writing. In fact, this needs to be made available to all employees. Indeed, there are a number of information that it needs to include. More specifically, it should indicate the following:

  • Give the outcome that should be expected if a grievance is raised at the same time as a disciplinary action;
  • Indicate that a trade union representative or co-worker can come with an employee to their grievance meetings;
  • Detail the exact steps that need to be taken to make an appeal for a grievance decision;
  • Who should be notified in the event that a grievance is raised, and how they can be contacted;
  • Who should be contacted in the event that the person who should typically be contacted is part of the grievance;
  • The period of time that is required for every step of the grievance process;
  • Indicate that, in the case that an informal decision cannot be taken, the employer will organize a ‘grievance hearing’ (a meeting) with the employee in question;
Note that employment contracts do not have to include the steps that should be taken in a grievance procedure. However, you may. In this case, the grievance procedure needs to be followed exactly. Otherwise, the employee could claim a breach of contract to an employment court.

Do I need to do anything before the grievance hearing?

An employee who did not settle a grievance informally needs to be granted a grievance hearing. Additionally, more things should be true. In fact, an employer should figure out a person that would take notes in the meeting. They should find a manager who could mediate the meeting, and make sure it goes correctly.

Furthermore, the employer should tell the employee in no uncertain terms that they are able to bring a union representative or co-worker to the grievance hearing. Furthermore, if necessary (like in the case of discrimination), they should do a full investigation. Additionally, they should collect statements.

It’s important that an employer gives the employee notice. Indeed, this would tell them in how much time the meeting would take place. Then, the employee knows how long they have to prepare their case.

Note that it’s always a good idea to make sure that your employees are working in a good environment. Indeed, then, you can avoid situations such as this one. In fact, making sure that employees are not harassed or discriminated against could improve productivity and well-being of everyone in the workplace.

Furthermore, if an employee feels that they can talk to you, this often decreases the chance that they would want to take their claim to an employment tribunal. In fact, it increases their chance of finding a way to resolve their situation by finding common ground.

Robin is a writer for Your Benefits, writing about aids that people may be entitled to. He is currently working on his Master in journalism at the Institut Supérieur de Formation au Journalisme in Lille.

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