Having a good grievance procedure is important as it allows employers the opportunity to resolve workplace issues early, saving them from the breakdown of employment relationships and, ultimately, tribunal claims.
We look at the key steps to carrying out a fair grievance hearing:
1. Decide whether or not the grievance can be resolved informally or if the formal grievance procedure should be used.
Can an employer deal with a grievance informally?
2. Make sure you comply with both the terms of your organisation's grievance procedure and the Acas code of practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures.
What is the minimum an employer must offer an employee in terms of access to a grievance procedure?
What are the possible consequences of failing to follow the Acas code of practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures?
Does the Acas code of practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures apply to collective grievances?
3. Appoint an appropriate manager to deal with the employee's grievance.
Who should deal with an employee's grievance?
4. Carry out a full investigation into the grievance and obtain all relevant evidence. Send the evidence to the employee in advance of the grievance meeting.
Is an employer obliged to provide notes on an investigation into a grievance to the employee who raised the grievance?
Can an employer anonymise witness statements obtained during a grievance or disciplinary procedure?
5. Invite the employee to the grievance meeting and remind him or her of their statutory right to be accompanied by a colleague or trade union representative.
Do workers have the right to be accompanied at a grievance hearing?
Who can be chosen as a companion at a disciplinary or grievance hearing?
Can an employer reject an employee's choice of companion for a disciplinary or grievance hearing?
Where a grievance hearing has been arranged but the employee subsequently cannot make the arranged time, how should the employer handle the situation?
Must a disciplinary or grievance hearing be held during an employee's normal working hours if these are outside normal office hours?
6. Ensure that someone who is not involved in the case is appointed to take notes on the proceedings.
7. Allow the employee to explain the details of his or her grievance and how they would like it to be resolved.
8. Adjourn the grievance meeting to give proper consideration to all the evidence before making a decision.
What are the possible outcomes of a grievance?
9. Once the decision whether or not to uphold the grievance is made, inform the employee in writing with details of why that decision was reached.
Where an employee's claim of harassment turns out to be unfounded, can he or she be disciplined for raising a grievance?
10. Notify the employee of his or her right to appeal against the outcome of the grievance procedure.
Is there a set timescale for the lodging of an appeal against a decision in relation to a grievance?
This checklist is based on XpertHR's guide to preparing for and conducting grievance hearings. If you are an XpertHR subscriber, you can view the full guide here.