Most of us have no option other than to work for a living.
While it is a bonus if you have a job you love, what really matters is that your workplace is somewhere you feel safe and at ease.
If you raise an issue about a problem at work and you consider that your employer has not addressed it properly, you may be able to raise a formal grievance to ensure that proper investigations are carried out.
What is a grievance?
A grievance is a problem in your workplace which is causing you concern.
There are many possible causes, including –
- unsafe systems of work
- unacceptable working conditions, and
- difficulties in your relationship with a co-worker.
Your employer should have a formal mechanism in place to deal with a grievance at work. In the first place, however, it is often worth having an informal chat with your line manager to see if a quick solution can be found, preventing the need to resort to the formal process.
If that does not work, you should confirm whether a grievance policy exists. The benefit of a policy, for your employer, is that it means they can deal with grievances fairly and transparently, using a predetermined process which they follow in all grievance situations. You can expect the policy to be in writing and easily accessible for staff members.
If your employer does not have their own grievance policy, they will be expected to follow the Acas Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures.
Where you decide to go down the formal grievance route, you should put the issues in writing as soon as possible and send it to your manager. (If your problem is with your manager, you send the grievance to a different – or more senior – manager).
Your employer should then invite you to a meeting, generally within 5 working days, in order to discuss the terms of the grievance. You are legally entitled to have a fellow employee attend the meeting with you, where your issue is with your employer’s duty to safeguard your welfare. The accompanying person can be a work colleague, trade union rep or any other person specified by your employer as permitted.
Following the grievance meeting, your employer will notify you of the outcome in writing and give you details of the appeals procedure, if you are not satisfied with the result.
Right of appeal
Where you appeal the first outcome, the process will be repeated. For reasons of fairness, the person hearing your appeal should be someone other than the one who dealt with the original grievance meeting.
If the decision on the appeal is still unacceptable to you, this is the point where you should consider getting advice from a specialist employment law solicitor.
How we can help
For answers to any questions you may have about this article or to discuss any aspect of our employment law services, please give us a call on 01343 544077.
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All initial enquiries are free of charge and without obligation. From experience, it is likely to be in your best interests to contact us as soon as possible. If you delay getting in touch with us, it may mean your options to take further action are restricted or extinguished.