Raising a Grievance: Six Steps to Raise a Grievance at Work

It is unfortunate, but events may happen during the course of your employment that you are not happy about. Some of these events will be minor and, while irritating, are not something worth making a fuss over. Others, however, may be more serious and it is important to know what to do in these situations.

In some situations, all that will be necessary will be an informal chat with your supervisor or boss. But in others more formal action may be required, such as raising a grievance.

Definition: A grievance is a concern, problem or complaint that an employee will raise with their employer.

All procedures relating to grievance situations should be:

  • Fair and transparent
  • Set down in writing, in specific and clear language.
  • Rules and procedures should be explained;

This article will explore the six steps in raising a grievance at work.

  1. Let your employer know
  2. Raise a formal grievance
  3. Your employer will investigate your grievance
  4. Grievance meeting should
  5. Employer’s decision
  6. Appeal

Each company will have its own Grievance Procedure. You can find it in the Office Manual or the Terms of Business or your contract. If you cannot locate the procedure, then you should ask your HR department, or your supervisor or the office administrator, as they should be able to guide you to it.

In light of each company having its own procedure the information below is generalized.

Step One: Letting your Employer Know

It will not be possible to resolve a situation if you do not tell your employer about it. You will need to make them aware. It is advisable to do this informally at first, as it gives you and your employer the opportunity to resolve the issue quickly.

Step Two: Raise a Formal Grievance

If step one cannot be done, or has failed for any reason then you should raise a formal grievance. This should be done without unreasonable delay and in writing. Your written grievance should set out, what has happened, how/why it has upset you, and what you feel should be done to resolve the issue.

Step Three: Investigation

Your employer then has the opportunity to investigate your grievance. A formal investigation can involve meetings with staff and witnesses and/or the accumulation of documentary evidence. Your employer must fully investigate your grievance in order to make an informed decision about the matter.

Step Four: Grievance Meeting

A meeting should then be held with you (you are allowed, by law, to be accompanied if you wish) and your employer, to discuss your grievance and the evidence and/or statements your employer has gathered. This meeting should be held promptly, without unreasonable delay.

You should use this meeting as an opportunity to explain the grievance in as much detail as possible and how you think the situation can be resolved.

Step Five: Your Employers Decision

Once the meeting has concluded your employer will take the time to decide what action can or should be taken, if any. Keep in mind it is entirely feasible that your employer may uphold your grievance but state that there is nothing which can be done to resolve the situation. This decision will be confirmed to you in writing, this letter should also contain details about appealing the decision, including the time limits you must act within.

Step Six: Appeal

If you are not happy with the decision you may have the right to Appeal.

You can only Appeal the decision if you feel certain evidence was not looked at properly or misunderstood. You cannot Appeal just because you are not happy with the decision, you must have a solid reason for thinking your employer made the wrong decision.

In conclusion, if a situation arises at work it is always best to attempt to resolve the issue informally first. But, if this is not possible or unsuccessful then you should raise a formal grievance. Your employer will then formally investigate your grievance. After the investigation is complete a meeting will be held to discuss your grievance and a decision will be made as to whether or not your grievance is upheld and what action can result from the decision. If you believe that the wrong decision was made because the evidence was not properly evaluated at you can Appeal the decision.