If you are experiencing problems at work the best way of resolving this situation is to raise a grievance (complaint). If possible, you should try to resolve matters by speaking to your Manager or HR Department. If there is no satisfactory resolution the only option is to lodge a formal written grievance.
Your employer has a duty to investigate your grievance and provide you with a written outcome. If you don’t agree with some or all of the findings, you have a right to appeal.
The first step is to check your employer’s grievance policy. If they don’t have one you should look at the Acas guide to Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures which sets out the procedure that you and your employer should follow.
Grievances are designed to help you resolve issues at work. Although a grievance can be submitted after you leave employment, the Acas Guidance is not clear as to whether an employer has to deal with an ex-employee. We believe that it would be best practice for them to do so as this might avoid a Tribunal Claim.
The person dealing with your grievance should not have been involved and therefore it is important that all necessary detail is included rather than assuming any knowledge.
Raising a grievance enables you to simply set out exactly what has happened and the affect this has had on you.
You should set out all relevant facts and circumstances that will enable your employer to investigate your complaint fully. If there are several complaints you could use separate headings. If there is a lot of detail you may wish to submit a timeline of events.
Write the letter as if you are explaining the situation to a third party that does not have specific knowledge of your job. In the event that you need to get legal advice, or if the matter ends up at an Employment Tribunal, this will make it easier for an employment lawyer or judge to understand the situation.
Bear in mind that you will have an opportunity to expand on any of the points you make during the grievance hearing. You should therefore keep the grievance letter clear and concise.
If you have any evidence or documents to support your grievance refer to these in your grievance letter and provide copies.
You should provide a summary of how you have been personally affected. It should also include details of any particular outcomes that you wish to achieve. For example, apologies, refund of legal fees, disciplinary action or training for the person complained about.
Aim to provide an account which will enable the person hearing your grievance to either make findings or to undertake further investigations in order to resolve the situation. It is understandable if at your hearing you become emotional as the fact you have had to raise a formal grievance will be due to the seriousness of the issues and how this has affected you.
Where there are issues of whistle blowing, bullying and/or discrimination, you may need assistance. There are time limits for bringing all legal claims, usually three months minus a day from the dismissal or date of any alleged act of discrimination or detriment.
We have written a Grievance Letter Template to guide you on how to write a formal grievance letter. This Acas Grievance Letter Template is for employees. We always encourage our clients to draft their own Formal Grievance Letter using this template so that all the facts are put together in chronological order. This minimises your costs as we can go straight to advising on the law and adding references to statute and case studies.
We can then advise in writing your prospects of succeeding in bringing a claim for discrimination and/or constructive unfair dismissal in the Tribunal. If you believe your grievance is not being properly handled we can explore ways of getting this back on track. If you are at the appeal stage we can ensure your appeal addresses all the main issues.
Download our Grievance Letter Template