Resolving UK Employee Grievances Effectively

Resolving UK Employee Grievances Effectively

Over the past two years, employers have seen an unprecedented rise (almost 30%) in grievance complaints. Bullying topped the reason and received a staggering 67%. While it is natural to receive such complaints, the key is to know how to resolve them in a manner that is in the best interest of the company.

So, it is suggested that we plan and proceed as quickly and efficiently as possible. Here’s how.

What is a Grievance?

Employee grievance is a formal or informal complaint by an employee wherein he can raise a concern about the work environment, management, or coworkers.

Types of Employee Grievances: Workplace Complaints

Employees can face dissatisfaction due to several reasons, including:

  • The payment
  • Working conditions
  • Bullying, and
  • Workload

Managing Employee Grievances in UK: Best Practices

Regardless of the scale or the seriousness of the employee grievance, HR must acknowledge it first.

UK companies are liable for writing a grievance procedure by law. The document must explain how the method works and how long it will take to come to fruition. This should be shared with all the employees in their statement of employment or the staff handbook.

Primarily this should include:

  • Who to contact to complain about the grievance
  • How to contact the person

It should also talk about the following:

  • If the informal meeting does not meet a resolution on the issue, a formal grievance meeting will be conducted.
  • The period each hearing stage will take
  • Who to contact in the absence of the person otherwise assigned
  • How to appeal against the decision
  • Employees can bring a union representative or a colleague.
  • What to do if the grievance is raised during a disciplinary action

Before the Hearing

To prepare for the hearing, it is essential to:

  • Go through the employee grievance procedure. This helps in applying it effectively. Reading the Labour Relations Agency (LRA) Code of Practice for the Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures is also essential.
  • Investigate to verify the genuineness of the issue.
  • Secure statements of the witnesses and share them with the complainant.
  • Gain all the essential facts needed for the hearing.
  • Have an individual take note of the meeting.
  • Decide a date, time and place for the hearing.
  • Allow the employee sufficient time to prepare grievance cases or consult reliable representatives. It is also suggested that they be reminded of their right to bring a third party.
  • Talk to a witness or the manager.

Sometimes, an employer may not have all the information required for the final hearing. For instance, when an employee shares information about the witness, this would require further investigation. Therefore, having a single grievance meeting is not sufficient. An employer may have to conduct several meetings to conclude.

The Grievance Hearing

In a hearing:

  • Ascertain that the venue is closed and guarded.
  • Let everyone know who is present and the reason why.
  • Listen closely to the complainant’s issue. This provides an insight into the matter and allows us to see if another problem might be causing it.
  • Consider diverse opinions.
  • Evaluate all the relevant data to assess whether a matter demands immediate intervention.
  • Adjourn the meeting if the issue requires further investigation.

Most importantly, handle the grievance sensitively. A rushed decision may lead to unwanted repercussions. This also implies that you may have to devise specific procedures for issues about sexual harassment, discrimination, or bullying.


The Decision

After the hearing,

  • Make a fair decision. Also, make sure it doesn’t harm the business or your relationship with other employees
  • Inform the party involved about the decision in writing. It should also mention the appeal procedure.
  • Explain how the decision was reached.

Parting Thoughts

An employer who follows the procedure mentioned above will have no reason to receive further dissatisfaction in the form of an appeal. To proceed rightfully, you will need an expert on employment law by your side. So, contact and search for the right solicitor for you.

Written By –

Omar Shams

Omar Shams

CEO & Founder at

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