Responding to a Formal Grievance

HR - Process Bliss

A grievance procedure is a formal way for an employee to raise a problem or complaint to their employer.

This template will help the employer to respond to the employee's grievance.

The employee can raise a grievance if:

- they feel raising it informally has not worked
- they do not want it dealt with informally
- it’s a very serious issue, for example sexual harassment or ‘whistleblowing’

This process features on our list of 25 processes every business needs.

1Receive written notice of the grievance from the employee

Importance: Essential

The employee should write in a letter or email:

- what the grievance is about
- any evidence, for example a payslip or employment contract
- what they want their employer to do about it

Upload grievance letter:

2Invite the employee to a grievance meeting

Importance: Essential

Use the template letter attached to invite the employee to a grievance meeting.

Book a meeting room for the meeting.

The meeting should be arranged to be held within 5 working days ideally, after the grievance letter has been received.

The employer should put in writing to the employee:

- the date, time and location of the meeting
- information on the employee’s right to be accompanied to the meeting

Reply to Grievance Raised and Invitation to Grievance Meeting Letter Template.docx

3Conduct the grievance meeting

Importance: Essential

Use the template attached to document the meeting.

The employer should:

- ask the employee to provide more information about the grievance
- discuss how the grievance could be resolved
- remain impartial
- do their best to understand the feelings of the person raising the grievance
- take notes or appoint someone else to take them
- go through the evidence
- take care in deciding on any actions (usually the employer will not need to make an immediate decision)
- consider ending the meeting and resuming it at a later date, if they need to investigate statements and facts from the meeting
- sum up the main points at the end
- tell the employee when they will get a decision

The employee should be given the chance to:

- explain their side
- express how they feel – they might need to ‘let off steam’, particularly if the grievance is serious or has lasted a long time
- ask questions
- show evidence
- provide details of any witnesses the employer should contact

With the permission of the person raising the grievance, the companion is allowed to:

- take notes
- set out the case of the person raising the grievance
- speak for them
- talk with them during the meeting

The companion cannot:

- answer questions put to the person raising the grievance
- prevent anyone else at the meeting from explaining their side of things

Grievance Meeting Sheet Template.xlsx

3.1Sign the grievance meeting sheet

Importance: Optional

Investigator & employee to sign grievance meeting sheet.

If the employee refuses to sign the sheet, another person in the meeting can sign the sheet.

Upload signed sheet:

3.2Give employee a copy of the meeting sheet/record

Importance: Essential

The employer should:

- give the employee copies of the meeting record and notes taken
- tell the employee when they will get a decision

The amount of time needed for a decision should be in line with your workplace grievance policy, if there is one.

If there are delays, for example if further investigation is needed, the employer should explain how long the delays will be and why.

The employer can withhold some information in certain circumstances (for example, to protect a witness).

Under data protection law (GDPR), the employer should get consent from the person who provided information before sharing it.

This might mean the employer needs to make some information anonymous before sharing it.

4Review the evidence and meeting notes, then decide on the outcome

Importance: Essential

- see if there is a case to answer
- make sure everyone is treated fairly
- gather evidence from all sides
- decide what should happen next

The employer should decide on the best outcome based on:

- the findings from meetings and investigations
- what is fair and reasonable
- what their workplace has done in any similar cases before

State outcome:

5Issue appropriate letter concluding the meeting

Importance: Essential

Use the template letter attached to conclude the meeting/hearing.

The employee has the right to appeal the outcome, if they feel that either:

- it does not resolve their problem
- any stage of the grievance procedure was wrong or unfair

If the employee chooses to appeal, follow your disciplinary appeal process template.

Add a link to your disciplinary appeal process template here!

If the outcome of the meeting results in disciplinary action, follow your disciplinary investigation process template.

Add a link to your disciplinary investigation process template here!

Upload signed letter:
Grievance Meeting Outcome to Employee Letter Template.docx

5.1Add letter to the employees personnel file

Importance: Optional

Add a link to the personnel records here!

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