What is a Grievance?


Most employers will have a written grievance procedure. These are usually found in a Staff Handbook or in the contract of employment. A formal grievance procedure sets out a process by which an individual can have any areas of dispute or concern resolved in a fair and transparent way.

It will usually recommend, as a first step, that the individual tries to resolve it informally by speaking to their Line Manager or someone else specified in the procedure.

If this is unsuccessful, the next step would be to submit a formal grievance, usually in writing.

The individual who is appointed to hear the grievance (“the Investigation Officer”) will then usually arrange a meeting with the individual to discuss it further and for the investigation officer to gather more information and seek clarification on the grievance.

Most of the time the meeting will be followed by an investigation into the circumstances prompting the grievance; this can include speaking to witnesses and obtaining statements. Once the investigation is completed, the Investigation Officer should either write or meet with the individual who has lodged the grievance, to inform them of their decision. A right to appeal, against the decision, should be included in the Procedure.  

In most Employment Tribunal proceedings (but not all) an unreasonable failure to follow the ACAS Code of Practice on Grievance Procedures could result in any compensation being reduced. This applies to both the employer and the employee failing to follow the Code. 

If you have questions or need advice it is advisable to get advice from qualified, specialist employment solicitors.  Please get in touch with us on 01483 303636 to discuss your situation and see how we can help.

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