What constitutes a grievance?
A grievance can be raised if you have any concerns, problems or complaints relating to your workplace. A grievance may relate to any aspect of working life, such as your contract of employment, salary/bonus pay, working conditions, or concerns regarding discrimination and harassment.
How should I bring a grievance?
Ideally you should initially try to resolve the grievance informally. However, sometimes this is not practical or not appropriate. Equally, if you are not happy with the response to an informal approach or the situation has not improved, you should raise your concerns in writing in accordance with your employer’s grievance procedure. A grievance procedure will often provide that such concerns should be raised with your line manager (or another manager if the grievance concerns your manager). If your employer does not have a grievance procedure you should put your concerns in a letter to your manager or the head of HR.
How much detail should I include?
You should include sufficient information to enable your employer to understand and investigate your concerns. It often helps to give a brief summary of your complaint so that your employer can easily see what the issue is, and then provide background information, chronologically if possible. Keep your examples relevant and succinct – you will have a further opportunity to add details at the grievance meeting. A grievance the length of ‘War and Peace’ is likely to be met with a less sympathetic response than more succinct version.
Why is it important to recognise a grievance?
It is important for employers to recognise a grievance so that the appropriate procedure to deal with it is triggered.
In the event that matters are not resolved, the employee may bring a claim in the Employment Tribunal. The normal time limit for an Employment Tribunal Claim (which is rarely extended) is three months less one day from the date on which the act complained of took place. Failing to recognise a grievance promptly may mean that the clock is already ticking!