Grievance procedures at work

Grievance procedures at work

Your company should have some form of grievance procedure you can use if you have a concern, problem or complaint at work.

Examples of when you might want to use a grievance procedure include:

  • You think unreasonable demands are being made of you
  • You believe your employer is not meeting its contractual obligations towards you, perhaps regarding pay, perks or other conditions
  • You think you are being treated harshly
  • You believe you are being discriminated against, perhaps because of your gender, race, sexual orientation or age, or because you are disabled

Firstly, you should consider whether it is appropriate to raise your concerns informally with your line manager or with someone else in a position of authority.

However, if you have decided to raise a formal grievance, you should check your contract of employment and/or your Employee Handbook or similar, to find out what the exact process is. In general, raising a grievance involves writing to your employer to spell out what your concerns are. Organisations such as Citizens Advice have template letters on their website you can use for this purpose.

On receipt of the letter, the company should set up a formal meeting, at which you can explain your grievance, and make suggestions as to how to resolve the matter. Following this meeting, your employer should write to you with its decision.

Should you disagree with this decision, your company must give you the right to appeal to someone else within the organisation.

You can ask a colleague or a trade union representative to accompany you to a grievance meeting.

If you subsequently take the matter to an employment tribunal, they may look upon your case less favourably if you haven’t used your employer’s internal grievance procedure first. Referrals to tribunals must be made within three months of the event you are complaining about, and this strict deadline applies even if you have used your internal grievance procedure. Hence if you have an issue with your company, you can’t realistically afford to delay raising a grievance.

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