From time to time in business, employee grievances will arise and it is essential that these are dealt with effectively and efficiently in order to save management time and also to preserve and protect employee relations, while keeping the business out of employment tribunals. Aspire Cambridge would like to give you the golden rules of handling employee grievances, but first we would like to talk a little more about employee grievances and what they actually are.
A grievance is a concern, problem, worry or complaint that is raised by an employee. The grievance could be about any number of issues including their workload, the working environment, their line manager, with a colleague or their pay and so on.
To ensure that a grievance is dealt with appropriately you need to deal with it at the earliest possible stage informally. if the matter cannot be resolved informally the employee has the right proceed through to the formal stages. Grievances should, wherever possible, be dealt with informally by the employee’s immediate manager. However, the procedure in place should allow employees to raise grievances with someone other than their own manager – in case the manager is the subject of the grievance.
The Golden Rules of Handling Employee Grievances
Here at Aspire Cambridge, we believe that if you follow these golden rules when it comes to employee grievances, you will be able to effectively resolve the concerns.
- Ensure grievances are tackled promptly (although not in haste), with investigations being carried out as appropriate.
- Grievances should be viewed constructively, as a complaint may enable a workplace problem to be identified and resolved.
- Make sure that no employee suffers recrimination as a result of raising a genuine grievance.
- When a written, or otherwise formal, grievance is received, arrange for a formal grievance hearing to be held without unreasonable delay.
- Inform the employee that they have the right to be accompanied by a colleague or trade union representative of his/her choice at any formal grievance hearing (or appeal hearing).
- At a hearing, allow the employee to explain the grievance and how he or she thinks it should be resolved.
- Ensure that managers hearing grievances are willing to listen to what the employee has to say and seek to resolve the matter in a way that is satisfactory to the employee wherever possible.
- It is generally a good idea to ask the employee at the outset what outcome he or she wants, then consider whether this is deliverable.
- Adjourn the meeting to allow for any further investigation that is deemed necessary.
- After the meeting (and following any further necessary investigation), decide what action, if any, should be taken.
- Communicate the decision to the employee in writing as soon as possible after the grievance hearing.
- It is important to always give the employee feedback on the decision taken, even if the decision is that nothing can be done to resolve the grievance or to change matters. The employee has a right to receive a response to the grievance, even if it is not the response he or she would have wanted.
- Inform the employee that they have the right to appeal if they feel that the grievance has not been satisfactorily dealt with or resolved.
- Hear appeals without unreasonable delay.
- Arrange for an appeal to be dealt with impartially by a manager who was not previously involved in the case, ideally someone more senior.
- Communicate the outcome of the appeal to the employee in writing without unreasonable delay.
- Where appropriate, send out a letter that states the matter is now closed and there is no further right of appeal (the ACAS Code requires only one level of appeal following a grievance).
- Confidentiality should be respected throughout the process of handling employees’ grievances.
- Where an employee has a grievance that relates to a disciplinary sanction, s/he should not use the employer’s grievance procedure, but instead raise an appeal under the disciplinary procedure.
If you have concerns about putting together a grievance policy/ procedure or need to know more about how to handle a grievance then please feel free to give one of our HR Consultants a call. We will be only too happy to help put your mind at rest so you know you are doing right by your employee and your business.
Headquartered in Cambridge with regional presence in Kettering and Milton Keynes, Aspire Cambridge provide cost effective Recruitment and HR solutions to an impressive portfolio of customers spanning the UK and Europe. Working with a diverse collection of industries from start-ups to blue chip companies covering a vast range of sectors. Aspire Cambridge has an unrivalled knowledge of the jobs marketplace so it’s no wonder that they hold an impressive track record of exceeding client and candidate expectations.
How do they do it? By “Placing People First”.
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