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Dealing with a Grievances at Work

Dealing with Grievance at Work 

Problems and grievances at work happen and it is good to know who you can go to or how to raise it with your employer.  If you have a concern, problem or complaint at work, one thing you can think about is taking it up with your employer. This is called ‘raising a grievance’. 

Dealing with grievance at work


You may want to raise a grievance about: 

  • things you are being asked to do as part of your job 
  • The terms and conditions of your employment – for example your pay 
  • The way you’re being treated at work – like, if you’re not given a promotion when you think you should be
  • Bullying 
  • Discrimination at work – you might think your colleagues are harassing you because of your race, age, disability or sexual orientation 

You should be able to sort out your complaints by simply talking to your employer informally. 

Before you Raise your Grievance 

The best way to sort out a problem with your employer is to talk about it informally. This should be with your immediate manager, were you can share your concerns. You might find it helpful to suggest to your employer what you would like them to do to resolve the problem. If you feel you can’t talk to your immediate manager, you should speak to someone else in your company in a position of authority. You should always try to resolve and sort the problem out informally first before taking further action. If you can however, sort it out this way you might want to raise a formal grievance. 

How to Raise a Formal Grievance

Your employer should have a procedure to raise a formal grievance. You should always try to follow this, where possible. The details should be located in your employer Handbook, HR or personal manual, on your HR site or in your contract of employment. If your employer doesn’t have a formal procedure, you can follow the Acas Code of Practice. This sets out the standards of fairness and reasonable behaviour that employers and employees are expected to follow, when dealing with a dispute. 

If you do make a claim to the employment tribunal, there is a strict time limit for you to claim. This is usually three months minus one day from the date that the grievance last took place. The time limit still applies even if you’re taking out a grievance and you will need to make sure you don’t run out of time while going through the process. While you are going through this process it is always good to keep a record of exactly what happens and when. 

The Next Steps: 

As part of the process you should write to your employer – especially if you have not been able to sort it out directly with your manager. Give details of your problem, date the letter and keep a copy. You should include how to help resolve the issue. 

You should then meet with your employer at a reasonable time and place to discuss your grievance. You have the right to ask if you could bring a colleague or trade union representative to the meeting. You should then have the opportunity to explain the grievance and how you might revolve it. You should then hear back from your employer about what they intend to do. 

If you don’t agree with what your employer has decided, you can write a letter of appeal, saying that you are appealing against their decision and explaining why you don’t agree with it.  Your employer should arrange a meeting with you to discuss it and if possible have different or more senior mangers of staff present. You have the right again to ask for someone to sit in with you. If you are still not happy you may need to think about different ways to sort out your problems with your employer. Depending on your situation you may be able to use a mediation or make a claim to an employment tribunal. Which you can find out more information about here: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/work/problems-at-work/employment-tribunals-from-29-july-2013/ 

At Free2learn we support our students with advice on legal, wellbeing, health and other topics that you may need extra support with. You can find more of our resources by going to: https://free2learn.org.uk/resources/ 

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