Handling Grievance & Discipline Procedures

Handling a grievance

When dealing with a grievance:

  • ensure you’re familiar with the procedure and apply it correctly
  • hold any grievance hearing in private without interruptions
  • where a grievance relates to the person’s line manager, ensure that the employee can raise the grievance with someone else
  • listen carefully to the person’s explanation of the problem and consider whether there is a deeper issue which might be the root cause of the grievance
  • listen to any conflicting points of view
  • weigh up all evidence to see whether there is an issue you need to address
  • decide what action to take, trying to balance fairness to the person without compromising the business or other workers
  • inform all concerned parties of your decision and the appeal process
  • ensure you resolve any problems relating to policies, procedures or conduct where the grievance procedure highlights these
  • keep the process as confidential as possible

Deal with grievances sensitively, particularly where they concern other workers. You may wish to develop specific procedures for very sensitive matters involving unfair treatment eg, discrimination, bullying or harassment. . Consider also having a separate "whistleblowing" procedure, so that workers are encouraged to raise any complaints about wrongdoing eg fraud, internally rather than disclosing them outside the business.

If a worker raises a separate grievance during a disciplinary hearing, it’s good practice to adjourn the hearing until the grievance is dealt with.

By dealing with problems in a fair and reasonable manner, you’re much less likely to lose valued and skilled staff through resignation. It will also help you successfully defend a constructive dismissal claim.

From October 2004 you will have to follow minimum grievance procedures. For more information on changes in the law, see discipline and grievance procedures and the employment contract.

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