Clauses in our Grievance Procedure
Changes to this policy – the grievance procedure policy template provides that you can amend the procedure at any time (subject as noted below). At the start, fill in the date (or month and year) when you adopt this policy. If you update it again in the future, update this date.
Fill in your company name, country of incorporation, company number and registered office address where indicated.
Introduction – This section explains what a grievance is and when to use this procedure. This section refers to stage one (the informal stage), as set out later on in more detail.
While the procedure is expressed to be non-contractual, employers should consult employees or their representatives if they are thinking of revising their grievance procedure. Please note that if the grievance procedure has been approved after negotiation with a trade union, it may have become a contractual term of the employees’ contracts. In such a case, modify the template accordingly by deleting the last sentence in this section (the words in square brackets). So long as it has not become a contractual term, the procedure can be applied with a degree of flexibility, staying within the requirements of the Acas Code of Practice, unless there is a good reason to depart from it while still being fair to the employee.
Procedure – This section starts with noting a number of rules that apply to the 3 stages of the procedure in the interests of fairness.
In relation to the numbered paragraphs in this section please note the following:
2 – Workers and employees have the right to have a work colleague or a union representative accompany them at grievance hearings.
3 – Please note that although it is not spelt out in the procedure (as that may not be helpful to the employer), if the work colleague or union representative chosen is unable to attend at the time set for the meeting, then the employee has the right to suggest a reasonable alternative time and, so long as this is within five working days of the previous date, the employer has to accept it (section 10 of the Employment Relations Act 1999).
5 – To avoid delay, the Acas Code of Practice advises you to hold a grievance meeting within 5 working days of the grievance having been reported by the employee, but this may not be appropriate always, e.g. when you need to carry out an investigation. In such a case, the meeting can be adjourned to allow you to investigate, and you can then reconvene at a later date to discuss the matter more fully. Such an adjournment is mentioned in stage two of the procedure.
7 – If you start applying grievance and disciplinary procedures to agency workers or the self-employed, this may create a risk they become employees.
Stage one – This is the informal step in the process. It is recommended that this first stage is an informal meeting between the employee and his or her line manager. If the line manager is the cause of the grievance, then you skip this stage and start at stage two. Even if using this “informal” stage, a written note of the meeting ought to be made and kept with the employee’s personnel file.
Stage two – Fill in the name or position of the person to whom the grievance should be addressed if the line manager has been unable to resolve it informally. This could be the personnel manager or the general manager, for example. Ideally the employee should set out the grievance in writing and in sufficient detail for the employer to be aware of all the basic facts so it can investigate it (if needed) and deal with it appropriately.
Stage three – This stage permits the employee to have an appeal against whatever the outcome of stage two was. Fill in the name or position of the person to whom the grievance’s appeal should be addressed and the deadline for lodging an appeal. The appeal should be conducted impartially and, where possible, by a manager who was not previously involved in the earlier stages of the grievance process. This might well be a more senior manager, but this does not have to be the case (except in Northern Ireland, where the Labour Relations Agency Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures applies). Choose which option applies in the last sentence of this paragraph.
Ex-employees and grievances – If an ex-employee has a grievance, although it might seem odd, they should still be given a chance to have it resolved. A significant benefit of this is that if handled well, it might reduce the risk of an employment tribunal claim. Sometimes an employee might just be seeking an apology, although any admission of guilt by the employer might have consequences. This part of the procedure is intended to refer the ex-employee to stages two and three as appropriate (depending on which stages that have already used while they were still an employee). Fill in the name or position of the person to whom the grievance or its appeal should be addressed.