How To Deal With Employee Grievances

13 July 2022|Related :

Employee grievances are a very serious issue that must be attended to by an employer via considered and actioned protocols.

What Is An Employee Grievance?

An employee grievance is an internal formal complaint made by an employee once they feel that their concern over an issue can not be solved informally, i.e with a conversation between parties.

An employee raises a grievance via written submission in the initial step of employer curated disciplinary and grievance procedures. A business’ HR (human resources) department is often designated to handle grievances in the workplace. 

Grievance procedures often involve pre-set meetings or mediations, known as ‘hearings’, between all relevant staff, allowing each case to be carefully reviewed before a decision on the outcome can be made.

It is important to note, all employee concerns or issues raised, no matter how informally, should be taken seriously as this may provide a solution to a problem before it evolves into a formal grievance.

An open door policy presents the opportunity for clear and transparent dialogue between employer and employees, and can prove vital in dealing with matters that transpire to be a formal grievance or otherwise.

Employer Set Grievance Procedure

In accordance with current UK law, any employer must have a set grievance procedure which is clearly visible and accessible for all employees.

If a grievance procedure is not adhered to it may affect the outcome in a progressed state, such as an industrial tribunal.

A grievance procedure must include who is the first point of contact for an official employee grievance and how they can be reached (usually a designated HR professional), or an auxiliary contact if the regular contact is involved in the issue.

Secondly an employer should fully inform the employee if their issue does not present any informal solution, a grievance hearing will be set. 

Formal Grievance Hearing

A grievance hearing is an organised meeting with the goal of addressing and resolving any issues or concerns that prompted an employee to raise a grievance complaint. 

Ideally a hearing must take place within 5 working days of the initial grievance being raised to allow enough preparatory or investigative time for all involved whilst still offering a level of immediacy.

It is an employer’s responsibility to arrange for someone to make notes of any hearing proceedings; these records of evidence, conversation or decision must be kept confidential but accessible. 

Employers can request an objective witness if necessary, and must make any reasonable adjustments to proceedings i.e a translator if the employee so requires.

An employee, by law, is entitled to be accompanied by a relevant person such as a colleague or trade union representative through the entirety of any hearing proceedings, this must be accommodated by an employer.

An employer must remain impartial and consider all views and evidence presented from any party involved, demonstrating empathy and consideration in what can be an emotive and volatile setting. 

Decision Process

In the majority of cases, an outcome decision or solution does not need to be made on the spot. 

A short period of time either directly following a hearing or spanning the following few days can provide a setting of contemplative clarity for an employer to digest any data or evidence raised, before fully committing to a final decision on the outcome.

Post Decision

Employees must be made aware they have the right to an appeal process regarding any final outcome to their grievance case. 

An employee might feel the need to appeal if they deem their disciplinary outcome is too severe, the wrong conclusion has been reached and the issue is not resolved, grievance protocols have not been followed or they have new evidence to show.

Any appeal must be submitted in official written format. Any employer involved in the original grievance case must not be involved in a subsequent appeal hearing. If an employee feels they have exhausted every avenue of support within an internal grievance process and believe they have grounds, they can make a claim for an industrial employment tribunal.

Once a grievance case has been resolved, Sufficient aftercare and support must be made readily available to any employee who feels they require this. This may come via an internal communication channel or simply and magnanimously ensuring no bad feeling or extenuating issue is carried forward.

How Ryans Can Help

Here at Ryans we have a history of client service excellence spanning three centuries. As a chartered accountancy and business solutions firm, we offer expert HR services to efficiently manage your company’s human resource requirements.

We simplify our expansive expertise to ensure full transparency and maximum efficiency of our HR support when dealing with you or your business.

Contact us today!

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