Grievance procedures seek to promote the satisfactory resolution of disputes in the workplace which could include any problem or complaint that an employee may have against their employer and also to try and ensure that employees are treated fairly and consistently. Grievance procedures generally do not form part of the employee’s contract of employment.
Grievances are governed by the ACAS Code of Practice 1. The guidelines state that if workplaces disputes cannot be resolved informally then the employee should raise a grievance in writing to an independent manager if possible. The employer should then carry out a proper investigation. A grievance meeting should follow at which the employee is entitled to be accompanied by either a colleague or a Trade Union representative. After the grievance meeting, the employee should be given the outcome of the grievance in writing which should notify the employee of their right to appeal if the outcome is unfavourable to them. If the employee appeals, the employer must hold a grievance appeal meeting which should be chaired by a different manager if possible and after the grievance appeal meeting the employee must again be advised of the decision in writing. The appeal decision will be final.
Where the employer has unreasonably failed to follow the ACAS Code, the Employment Tribunal may increase the employee's compensation by up to 25%. Where the employee has unreasonably failed to follow the ACAS Code such as by going straight to the Employment Tribunal rather than appealing, the Employment Tribunal may reduce the employee’s compensation by up to 25%.