How do I raise a Grievance at Work?

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If you are unhappy with your employer you can raise a formal ‘Grievance’.

If you have been unable to resolve problems at work with your employer, you should raise a formal ‘grievance’ with them in writing.  Your Grievance Letter should explain your concerns, and ideally it should also explain what you would like to happen to resolve those issues.

Will my employer have a Grievance Policy & Process?

All employers should tell employees how they can make a complaint about something at work, and who their grievance should be addressed to.  We recommend that employers have a full grievance policy and process that employees can refer to.

Do I have to follow my employer’s Grievance Policy?

You should follow your employer’s grievance policy.  If you don’t, they may ask you to go back and redo something so you have followed it.  Some large employers require online forms to be submitted, so if you send an email, your grievance may not get to the right person – or not as quickly as it would otherwise.

What are examples of Grievances?

A grievance can be any complaint about any action taken by your employer that relates to your employment.  It might be about something that has happened, or might happen, at work. Grievances can include anything from imposing a transfer to another team or making any changes without prior consultation; failing to respond to communications; unreasonably increasing your workload during pregnancy, because you’re pregnant; harassment/sexual harassment/bullying.  It’s important not to be prescriptive about the list of examples here, because you could raise a grievance about anything.

Do I raise a Grievance in writing?

A formal grievance should always be raised in writing.  This ensures there is a record of exactly what your complaint relates to, and also makes it harder for your employer to ignore it, or say they weren’t fully aware of the complaint or its implications.  Grievance procedures will normally require a grievance to be in writing.

What do you write in a Grievance Letter?

You should include all relevant information your employer will need to consider your grievance.  It’s a good idea to get advice and help with drafting your grievance, to ensure that all complaints are separately set out and that it includes reference to any potential claims you may have and careful reference to what you want to achieve as a solution.

Who should I send the Grievance letter to?

This will be made clear in your employer’s grievance procedure.  Generally, grievances should be sent to your manager, and/or to HR.  If your grievance relates to your manager, you may need to send it to your manager’s manager, and/or to HR.  Every situation is different, and there can also be a tactical decision to make regarding who to send your grievance to, or who to send a copy to, which we’d advise on.

Your Grievance should be put in writing.

What happens after I send a Grievance letter?

The person dealing with your grievance should confirm receipt and give you an idea of when a grievance hearing will take place and who will hear your grievance.  They may also tell you about their plans to speak to any relevant witnesses, and investigate matters before/after your grievance hearing.

What is a Grievance hearing?

A grievance hearing is your opportunity to discuss your grievance with the person dealing with it and to expand on any points they have queries about.  You can also expect them to ask you about anything witnesses have told them.  The hearing is all about getting as much information as possible to help them make a decision on your grievance.

In some circumstances, it may be appropriate not to hold a grievance hearing but for the employer to deal with the grievance in writing, such as where you have a disability or are suffering from ill health (mental or physical) which makes it difficult to attend meetings. In the context of a disability it can be a reasonable adjustment to deal with a grievance in writing, however, a hearing is usually the best way to proceed if at all possible.

Can I take someone to the Grievance hearing with me?

You should be permitted to be accompanied by a work colleague or trade union representative. If you have a disability, it can be a reasonable adjustment to have someone else attend with you, such as a relative, friend or even in some circumstances  your lawyer, if this would ameliorate the impact of your disability.

How will I be told the outcome of the Grievance hearing?

You should get a written note of the decision made about your grievance.

How long does a Grievance take?

This will depend on the complexity of the issues raised, availability of witnesses (summer holidays can cause delays, for instance), and how quickly a grievance hearing can take place, and how long it then takes for a decision to be made and issued.  A few weeks is pretty average, but longer is possible and not infrequent with complex matters.

Can I appeal the outcome of a Grievance?

You should always be given the opportunity to appeal against any aspect of the grievance decision that you are unhappy with.  Sometimes, parts are upheld and parts are rejected, and your appeal would just relate to the rejected parts.

Need more help?

If you need more help with the subjects covered here then do reach out to our expert online employment law solicitors.  You can email us at or call 03300 020 863.

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