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Raising a Grievance at Work

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What is a grievance at work?

A grievance in the workplace is when you have a problem, concern or complaint that you would like to make your employer aware of.

Your work-related grievance could be due to a wide range of concerns to do with your working conditions, treatment by management, failure of defined workplace processes, or any other aspect of your employment.

In instances where your grievance is not upheld, you may be entitled to a grievance settlement agreement. If this is the case, our team of experienced employment law solicitors will ensure that you receive a fair grievance settlement amount.

Grievances at work examples

  • You are being treated less favourably due to a protected characteristic such as your sex, race or your age.
  • You have not been informed and offered the opportunity to apply for a promotion while off on maternity leave despite having the necessary experience and qualifications.
  • You are being unfairly performance managed by a new manager despite having had excellent appraisals from your previous manger over the previous 10 years.
  • You are being sexually harassed at work by a colleague.

How to raise a grievance at work

When you have a grievance at work, you should attempt to resolve the grievance informally with your employer through your line manager or the HR department. If your grievance cannot be resolved informally, then you are required to write a formal grievance letter in line with your employer’s grievance policy.

Your grievance should explain in detail the reasons as to why you are dissatisfied, including:

  • Formal notification that you are raising a grievance.
  • Set out the background of events leading up to your complaint and any details of steps that have already been taken.
  • Outline the details of your complaint by stating all of the relevant facts and circumstances. This will help your employer investigate your grievance at work in full. If you wish to include substantial levels of detail, add a timeline of events for clarification, but keep in mind that the grievance hearing will allow you to go into further detail. Include any evidence to support your grievance.
  • Provide a conclusion that summarises how you have been personally affected; try not to be overly emotive.

We have written a Grievance Letter Template to help you write a formal grievance letter, which is fully in line with the Acas code of practice.

What is the Acas Code of Practice?

The Acas Code of Practice provides a course of action if you have a workplace complaint which cannot be resolved through normal communications with a line manager. The Acas grievance code of practice sets out clear and transparent procedures for raising and dealing with complaints to ensure everyone is treated fairly and reasonably and in the same way in similar circumstances.

Introduced in April 2009, the Acas grievance procedure replaced the more prescriptive statutory grievance procedure and suggests parties ‘should’ rather than ‘must’ act in a certain way. Employment Tribunals can increase or reduce compensation by 25% if either side has ‘unreasonably’ failed to follow the Acas grievance procedure.

How we will help

Grievance procedures under the Acas code seek to ensure work grievance procedures are conducted fairly. We can help by providing expert Employment Law advice and advising you on how to raise a formal grievance and assisting you in writing a grievance letter and/or letter of appeal.

Where your complaints are not upheld, your grievance may result in a Grievance Settlement Agreement, which our Employment Law team can assist you with while ensuring that you obtain a fair grievance settlement amount.

Contact us today on 01273 609911, or email

Martin Searle Solicitors, 9 Marlborough Place, Brighton, BN1 1UB
T: 01273 609 991

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