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Employee Grievances

Making sure your grievance gets resolved to your satisfaction - for us it's personal

As an employee if your grievance is potentially career damaging or causing you ill health we can help you. Our employment law solicitors specialise in handling serious and complex employee grievances at work.

Bespoke grievance advice and support

If you are unhappy at work it can be a worrying, stressful and challenging time. Our legal advice and support is geared to making sure your work place dispute is resolved to your satisfaction and as quickly as possible.

Once you have discussed the details of your grievance with one our employment law solicitors we will give you our frank and reliable advice. We will give you our professional opinion about the merits of your grievance and how you should proceed.

Our approach is flexible; you can ask us to do as much or as little work as you like. We can stand in the background giving you advice and guidance as and when you ask, or you can instruct us to handle your grievance from start to finish.

You can ask us to help you with any of the following:

Drafting your grievance

Making sure your grievance letter or statement is accurate and persuasive is a key step that we can help complete for maximum impact.

Negotiations

You may also want us to liaise with your employer and negotiate on your behalf, especially if you are feeling unwell or anxious. Our involvement can help you cope better with the situation.

Prepare you for a grievance meeting

You need to be fully prepared for your grievance meeting or hearing. You may need a bundle of documents, witness statements, submit written submissions or make a verbal presentation. Whatever you need to do, we can help you prepare well and on time.

Grievance decision and appeals

We can help you review your employer’s decision and consider if you should appeal. We will also advise you about the potential option of resigning and claiming constructive unfair dismissal, or if you have a valid discrimination claim. If you have an employment tribunal claim to bring we can handle this for you too.

Questions and answers

What should I do? I’m not happy about an important issue at work.

You need to start and keep all relevant documents and keep notes and possibly a diary. Record what happens quickly after each and every event. This will help you recall key events and provide you with good evidence in support of your grievance.

Most employers have a written grievance policy and procedure. Get a copy. There may also be something in your contract of employment about raising a grievance. Check. This will give you an idea of how to raise your grievance and what to expect. You must follow your employer’s grievance procedure.

The procedure is likely to say you should discuss your grievance issue informally with your manager.  This can resolve the problem; yet often it doesn’t.  The next step will be to raise your concern, problem or complaint in writing and send it to a stated person.

My grievance is about the person I should raise my grievance with. What should I do?

Your employer’s grievance procedure should provide that you can raise your grievance with another manager. If it does not check with your employer’s HR department or send your grievance letter to another manager or other senior person.

What should my grievance letter or statement say and include?

Often ‘less is more’ when it comes to your grievance letter or statement. Avoid making it too long or complicated. Use normal font sizes and line spacing, plenty of paragraphs and add page numbers to that your grievance is easy to read.
Your written grievance should:

• summarise fairly your complaint or concern;

• be concise;

• be factual;

• include dates and names if possible;

• be bold and forthright but not threatening;

• be unemotional; and

• if possible, include your preferred resolution or outcome.

What should my employer do when it receives my grievance?

Your employer’s grievance procedure will set out the steps that your employer should take.

There is also an ACAS code setting out the basic steps that your employer should take when you have raised a grievance. It is called the ACAS Code of Practice on Discipline and Grievance.

The Code is supported by the ACAS Guide to Discipline and Grievances at Work.

As a minimum, under the Code your employer should take the following steps:

• meet with you and give you the opportunity to explain your grievance and how you want it resolved;

• adjourn the meeting if investigations need to be carried out;

• give its decision about your grievance in writing; and

• give you the right to appeal against its decision.

If your employer does not follow the steps set out in the Code and you bring a successful employment tribunal claim your award of compensation could be increased by up to 25 per cent.  Importantly, if you don’t comply, say by not appealing any grievance decision, your compensation could be reduced by up to 25 per cent.

I have raised a grievance about disciplinary action being taken against me – what should my employer do?

Your employer should consider if it is appropriate to suspend the disciplinary action until your grievance is resolved. Alternatively your employer may decide that your grievance can be dealt with as part of the disciplinary process so it will be considered alongside the disciplinary process.

Your employer is most likely to suspend the disciplinary process if your grievance raises serious issues about the manager conducting the disciplinary process, or if you have been given only incomplete information, or if you allege bias, or discrimination against you.

Can I be represented by a solicitor at my grievance meeting?

No, not normally. You do have the right to request to be accompanied at a grievance meeting or hearing. Your companion can be a work colleague or a suitably qualified trade union representative.

As long as your companion is not involved in the grievance in some way your employer should not object to your request.

Your employer may allow you to bring your partner or another person to accompany you.  It is always worth asking particularly if you are unwell or have no one at work you feel you can ask.
 
If you take a companion they will not be able to answer questions on your behalf but they can speak at the grievance meeting, respond to opinions expressed during the meeting and confer with you at any time.

What can I do? I’m not well enough to attend a grievance meeting.

Employees often feel unwell and do not want to attend a grievance meeting. It is understandable particularly if a lot is at stake.

If you are truly unwell and not able to attend the grievance meeting you should see your GP so that he or she can assess you and if appropriate sign you off work. Your employer should then postpone the grievance meeting until you are well enough to attend.

You should not delay attending grievance meetings unnecessarily. Having a grievance hanging over you may well have a detrimental impact on your health. Your employer may also think you are unreasonably delaying.

Ultimately your employer could hold a grievance meeting or hearing without you being present. To be fair you ought to be asked if you agree to this approach and to send in written submissions.

Before making the decision to hold a grievance meeting in your absence your employer should obtain a medical report from you GP to see if you are well enough to attend or what reasonable adjustments could be made to let the meeting go ahead with you in attendance.

Can I ask my employer to change the grievance meeting date or time?

Yes, at least for the first date. If you or your companion are not available (for good reason) for the arranged date or time you can ask your employer to rearrange the grievance meeting for a new date within five working days of the original date.

In most cases if you have a genuine reason to ask for a postponement your employer will be sympathetic. Employers tend to object when the employee is unreasonably causing problems by asking for more time or a new date!

I don’t agree with the grievance decision. What should I do?

You have the right to appeal against the decision. Your employer’s procedure and its decision letter should set out what you need to do and by when. When preparing your grounds of appeal against the grievance decision you should follow the above guidance for drafting your grievance letter or statement.

My appeal was unsuccessful. What options do I have?

Your employer’s appeal decision is very likely to be the end the internal grievance procedure. If you do not agree with the appeal decision you may have a number of options including:

• You can accept the decision and get on with your job – and possibly start to look for a new job.

• You may decide to resign from your employment. You should make sure you carefully consider the merits of this option, including whether you could bring a valid claim against your employer, for unfair dismissal or discrimination. 

• Raising a further grievance. Your employer may refuse to consider it but if your grievance covers new matters, for example, about how the grievance procedure was dealt with, they should repeat the process. 

Before deciding what to do you should take legal advice.

Can I resign and claim compensation for constructive unfair dismissal?

Possibly. To find out more about constructive unfair dismissals please see our Briefing Note What is a constructive unfair dismissal?

Find out how we can help you

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Get prepared

Before you call or meet with us it will help us better understand the background facts and your concerns if you:

  • find your contract of employment or service agreement
  • collect together any other relevant correspondence, emails and documents
  • prepare a short chronology or list of key events
  • use one of our online forms to tell us about your problem.

Our online forms are the easy and convenient way to tell us about your case. Our ‘save as you go’ feature lets you complete your answers in your own time.

Reasons to choose Quantrills

Expert help from solicitors Your case will be personally handled by a qualified employment law solicitor with years of experience who will make sure you get the best possible outcome.

Jargon free advice Our clear and straightforward advice ensures you understand your legal position helping you make informed decisions.

Convenient easy access We like to hear form our clients. Instructing your solicitor at Quantrills is easy by:

  • phone and email
  • our online forms you can save
  • meetings held in person, by telephone or Skype

Best client care How we look after you as a client is very important to us so you will recieve:

  • same day response
  • highest quality legal advice and representation
  • value for money and competitive fee options with no hidden costs

Testimonials

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I phoned Simon Quantrill who listened with a dispassionate ear and gave me the confidence that I had a real issue to resolve with my employer

Grateful employee client after settling her claim of unfair dismissal

I did not know what to do. Talking to my boss made me feel as if I was being unreasonable. I didn't know where to turn and did a search on the Internet for a specialist in employment law and found Quantrills. They turned out to be true professionals.

My solicitor from Quantrills gave me good advice about what steps to take at each stage

Employee client commenting on our advice

I hope I never have a similar situation again, but if I did I would know that the professionals at Quantrills will listen to me, tell me if I have a case and then support me in getting a resolution.

I felt fully supported throughout my case, both by my solicitor and by Simon Quantrill himself, who kept a close eye on the progress of my claim, particularly as we neared the end of my case

Employee client confirming the high level of personal attention she received

My case proved to be quite a long and arduous journey at times involving meeting medical experts and a barrister. I felt that my solicitor was robust yet courteous in dealing with my employer and this finally led to a successful negotiated settlement in my favour without going to court.

Julie Temple or one of her team were always at the end of the phone to answer questions, giving me unemotional advice

Thank you message about Julie Temple from employee client

My employer was a huge multi-national organisation who had the weight of departments of lawyers at their call. This was not a problem. Julie Temple drafted letters and emails for me to send that were better than I could have written and not only because they were in real 'legal speak' but because they got straight to the point and were unemotional. My claim was successful as I got my ex-employer to admit their behaviour was wrong which was my goal.