When an employee is unhappy with an aspect of working life, they have the right to raise a grievance about it. Sometimes grievances can be relatively easy to resolve and sometimes they can be complex and relate to matters that have evolved over time; in these circumstances a sustainable resolution can be much harder to achieve. Whatever the situation, you as the employer will want to address it, to avoid the situation and relationships deteriorating and to contain the damage and risk to the organisation.
Minor grievances can often be addressed through talking to the employee or through enabling the aggrieved employee to talk to colleagues with whom they are upset in an environment that feels safe to everyone. Deeper disputes, perhaps where there are allegations of bullying or harassment or discrimination, will require an experienced and skilled mediator if they are to be resolved permanently through mediation. However, where the circumstances are unsuited to mediation or the informal route does not achieve resolution, then formal grievance procedures will need to be implemented.
Sometimes an organization will have a Grievance policy in place but often help is required to put this into practice. Even without an in-house policy, we can guide you through a process that will meet statutory requirements and comply with the non-statutory ACAS Code of Practice for Disciplinaries and Grievances (failure to follow this can result in an uplift of 10-25% on any compensatory award subsequently made in tribunal in respect of the matter).
There are specific duties required under the Code and one of these is the requirement for an employer to act fairly and reasonably in addressing the grievance. In more complex situations, this means an investigation is required before an outcome can be given. We can advise on the best way to approach this, given the inevitable nature of internal relationships, and can undertake the investigation on behalf of the employer if desired.
The ways in which we add value in such circumstances are:
- Policy development and implementation
- Advice and support to interpret policies and to determine a fair and reasonable course of action
- Facilitation of informal meetings, or mediation
- Impartial investigation and investigation report
- Template documentation and advice on process
- Preparation for conducting a grievance hearing
- Attendance and advice at the grievance hearing
- Note taking in the grievance hearing
- Advice on determining the outcome of the grievance hearing and documenting this to the employee
- Managing the appeal process, including preparation for, and attendance, advice and note taking at, the hearing.
Please contact us in confidence for more information and to discuss this further.