Grievances at Work

Workplace grievances provide an employee with the opportunity to raise an issue or complaint. Whether they are resolved via an informal or formal method, it is essential that they are handled with the necessary care and attention. Our HR Professionals can support you in making the right decisions and ensuring the matter is correctly dealt with.

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Some of the reasons you may require outsourced HR advice concerning workplace grievances include:

  • You need someone who is external to the organisation to act as an investigating manager (this may be to demonstrate independence in the process or because the matter is particularly complex)
  • Your organisation does not have its own dedicated HR team to handle workplace grievances
  • Your existing HR team do not have the capacity currently or lack the specialist expertise required to handle challenging grievance matters

No matter what the grievance concerns, our HR Business Partners will be on hand to lend their support. Working alongside our Employment Law team, we can advise clients in person or virtually to address grievances in the workplace head on.

Benefits of working with our HR Business Partners for grievances at work

  • Respond quickly and with confidence to any grievance matters
  • Ensure you follow the right legal process
  • Reduce the risk of employment claims
  • Avoid the potential for future problems with robust HR practices

We offer highly accessible ad hoc HR advice to employers, including in relation to workplace grievances. Our CIPD qualified and vastly experienced HR Business Partners can provide advice in response to employees raising grievances at work, tailoring their guidance to businesses of all sizes.

Our HR Business Partners can assist with both:

Need help with something else? Our HR Business Partners have a range of expertise and can provide clear guidance on most issues that you are likely to face as an employer.

Speak to our workplace grievance solicitors today

If you’re looking for outsourced HR advice on how to address grievances at work, get in touch with our experts today.

Contact us on 0131 270 7700, visit our offices in EdinburghGlasgowEast Lothian or Shetland or fill in our enquiry form at the bottom of the page to request a call back.

Our workplace grievance expertise

Informal resolutions to workplace grievances

When faced with a grievance, an employer should consider whether the matter should be dealt with informally or formally. As HR professionals, we don’t encourage formality where it would otherwise be considered unnecessary. More often than not, undue formality will prove to be unhelpful where a matter could be nipped in the bud before it escalates.

For example, if an employee is offended or upset by an off-hand comment made by another colleague, it may be more beneficial to try to resolve the matter by having an informal word with the offending employee about their behaviour.

The nature of the grievance raised and the aggrieved employee’s wishes will be important in deciding how to deal with the matter.

In some cases, workplace mediation may help to resolve the dispute informally and quickly.

Our HR Professionals can work alongside you, advising you on the most effective methods for informally investigating and resolving workplace grievances. This can allow all parties to move forward with minimal disruption.

Formal processes for workplace grievances

In certain situations, an employee can insist upon a formal process being followed. For this to happen, a written grievance must be submitted.

Even if the employee has not insisted upon it, in cases where a grievance raises a potential legal issue, such as discrimination or whistleblowing, a formal grievance procedure would be strongly advised.

In a formal grievance procedure, you should arrange a meeting to allow the employee to explain their grievance and show any evidence they may have. The employee should be allowed to explain their side of the story, express their grievance, ask questions, and provide evidence, including details of any witnesses they feel their employer should contact.

Employees should be allowed to bring a companion to the meeting, who can be a workplace colleague or trade union representative. Often this meeting is referred to as an Investigation Meeting.

The investigation meeting is a fact-finding exercise to gather in all the information that is relevant to the concerns raised by the employee. An employer should take all the circumstances into account when determining who to appoint as the investigating manager. The investigating manager should not be involved in any way with the concerns that have been raised in the grievance. If the matter is very serious or complicated, it may be desirable to appoint a senior member of staff or someone with prior experience of handling investigations.

Sometimes, it can be easier and more cost effective to bring in someone experienced from outside of the business to carry out this investigatory role; that is where we can help.

Our HR Professionals can act as investigating managers, gathering all of the necessary evidence and witness statements to establish the facts of the matter.

Sometimes, it might be necessary to then have a separate grievance hearing before deciding on the outcome. The employer should confirm the Grievance Outcome in writing. Sometimes the outcome of a grievance might include Disciplinary Proceedings.

What is a grievance at work?

Grievances at work involve any form of complaint, problem or concern raised by an employee to their employer. This could be an existing employee or it might be a former employee, for example, someone accusing an employer of constructive dismissal.

There is no strict, legally binding process when dealing with grievances, meaning they can often be dealt with informally. However, an employee will have the right to raise the matter formally in some situations.

How do you address a grievance?

Grievances can either be handled informally, or formally, depending on the complexity of the matter and the nature of the grievance itself. If you need guidance on the best way to approach a workplace grievance, this is something our HR Professionals can support you with.

It is extremely beneficial to have any workplace grievance procedures in writing, so they are accessible for all of your employees. Typically, these should be included in a company handbook, employment contract or HR manual.

Why work with us?

  • Decades of specialist employment law and HR expertise for a wide range of clients
  • Strong skills in amicably resolving workplace disputes
  • High level experience with Employment Tribunal claims
  • A complete service for all aspects of employment law and HR

Speak to our workplace grievance solicitors today

If you’re looking for outsourced HR advice on how to address grievances at work, get in touch with our experts today.

Contact us on 0131 270 7700, visit our offices in EdinburghGlasgowEast Lothian or Shetland or fill in our enquiry form at the bottom of the page to request a call back.