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THE WORK ETHIC
PO Box 28287
Edinburgh
EH9 2WU
Telephone: 0131 662 6988
Fax:0131 667 8175

23 Cramond Glebe Rd
Cramond Village
EDINBURGH
EH4 6NT
Telephone: 0131 336 1619

Free EnquiryEmployee Grievance Procedure

What is a Grievance Procedure?

There can be few workplaces that can claim to have the perfect working environment and a workforce that is entirely happy - every workplace has its problems. These can take the form of worries and concerns on the behalf of employees to more serious situations such as bullying in the workplace or inappropriate behaviour. Although there are no legally binding process that an employer must follow to bring these grievances to a positive resolution, for each there are certain procedures that an employer should observe.

Initially, a grievance should be settled informally. In some cases, this may be difficult, as the grievance may be with the employer himself. A worker may have a problem with his terms of employment or perhaps have a problem with the employer’s conduct. However, if at all possible, an informal meeting between the employer and the employee with the grievance should be held. In many cases, this is all it needs to resolve an issue. If, however, there is no chance of a positive resolution through this form of meeting, then a grievance procedure can be undertaken by the employee.

While each business should have its own principles for grievance procedures, there are guidelines laid out by the Advisory, Conciliatory and Arbitration Service (ACAS). Failure to follow these guidelines does not make a person or organisation liable to legal proceedings. However, should the case go to an employment tribunal, they will take into account the measures followed. An employer has a duty to try and do everything within his power to maintain the harmony of the workplace.

The responsibility for the procedure lies primarily with the employer. As the head of the workforce, they are advised to carry out any investigations to establish the facts of the case whilst keeping their employees informed of the basis of the case and allowing all parties involved to give their side of the story. In the event that any decisions are made, employers must allow their workers the chance to appeal if they feel the decision is unjust.

However, employees also have certain responsibilities and rights within the framework set out. In the event that the grievance is with the employer himself, then the employee must inform a manager who is not the subject of the grievance. In addition, any employees involved in the procedures have the right to be accompanied by a companion to any meetings – especially if action is to be taken by the employer as the result of the grievance having been raised.

If the problem still cannot be resolved, then the grievance can be taken out of the employer’s hands and given over to an employment tribunal. This is where it becomes vital that the employer has followed the correct procedures, as these will be reviewed by the tribunal and could affect the possible outcome. It is always unfortunate if a grievance goes as far as a tribunal, as the results nearly always manifest themselves as a ‘bad feeling’ within the workplace. It is always far better to resolve issues informally or to follow the ACAS guidelines to a positive resolution.

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Testimonials

"Faced with a complex industrial dispute involving three parties, Callander Golf Club called on the expertise of The Work Ethic to help resolve the situation. Sound legal advice backed by high-level negotiating skills led to an out-of-court settlement to the satisfaction of the Firm’s clients."

J Morrison, Callander Golf Club

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