What are grievances?

A grievance is a concern, problem or complaint raised by an employee against their employer.

It is ideal for an employer to have a grievance procedure in writing, commonly held within the staff handbook, contract of employment or held with additional company policies to help you manage this situation fairly and without delay. Contractually, you must ensure employees know who they should apply their grievance to and how they should make this application.

As a manager or a business owner, you may have to encounter a grievance issue or complaint. It is important to successfully handle this to maintain continual running of your business and fair treatment to all staff.

Typically a grievance process will consist of a number of stages including investigation, hearing, and possibly appeal.

Why do grievances matter?

If a grievance procedure is contractual and not handled correctly, the employer may be liable to receive a claim from an employee for breach of contract. If an employee feels like they have to leave the company due to consequences or actions from their grievance, then they may claim constructive dismissal. There could also be a risk of an employee claiming unfair dismissal and further consequences to consider such as a breakdown of relationship of mutual trust and confidence between the employer and employee and loss of morale.

We can help you with grievances

We can support in these situations by advising or guiding you through the process. This could entail the investigation, holding a hearing and managing the outcome.

We can provide the essential documents, offer recommendations going forward, provide training and development, review your policies and ensure the decided outcome is fully understood.

If required we can conduct the necessary meetings at our offices to provide a neutral offsite environment, to minimise employeee stress, workplace disruption, and maintain privacy.

Alternatively, our team are experienced to act as external investigator and explore the issue impartially and quickly, leaving you to focus on managing your business and staff. Should there be an appeal against the outcome, we can provide a second experienced consultant to run this so as to maintain impartiality.

Lastly our experienced trainers can work with you to enable you to feel confident should a difficult situation arise again.

We can train you to handle grievances

We don’t currently have any public open courses scheduled that deal with this topic, so please contact us to discuss bespoke courses.

Employment law relating to grievances

Employment Rights Act 1996

The Employment Rights Act 1996 sets out the rights that employees are entitled to in the workplace. The act talks about a range of interesting topics that can affect the employee, such as: The employment contract Pay Protection from detriment Time off from work Dismissal The Employment Rights Act is a crucial piece of legislation…

Other HR issues relating to grievances

Absence Management

Absence management is the process in supporting your business through planned or unplanned absence of your workforce. This could include sickness, injury or annual leave. Policies and procedures can be put in place to support your business through the following with notification procedures, payment terms and return to work support. It is important to have…


An organisation should ideally have a set of rules or code of conduct to inform staff of correct, legal and safe ways to act or perform at work. If an employee breaks a rule then an employer may choose to follow the disciplinary procedure. Sometimes it is beneficial to try to resolve the issue informally…


Dismissal is when the employer terminates the employment relationship against the employee. Dismissal should be a last resort but sometimes it is unavoidable and the relationship must end this way. To comply with legislation and best practice, employers should carry out necessary investigations without unreasonable delay to establish the facts. It is important to manage…

Employee Engagement

Employee engagement is an approach taken by an organisation that results in the right conditions for all employees, allowing them to work to their greatest potential, increasing their commitment to the organisations values and goals, also by motivating employees to contribute to the organisations overall success. Employee engagement is based on trust and the two…

Employment Disputes

Arguments : confrontation : disagreements : tension : yelling : physical fight These are examples of employment disputes that can unfortunately happen between staff in the workplace. An employment dispute can be between team mates, cross-departmental or conversed seniority. It could be longstanding or a shorter stemmed reaction. Either way every dispute will be different…

Performance Management

Performance management is the process to help staff reach business objectives through optimal performance at work. Employees are a key asset to the successful running of your business, so it is important that your team is supported within their role and given the opportunities to develop and achieve results. Staff should be aware of the…

Unfair Dismissal

For a dismissal to be fair it must be for a fair reason i.e. conduct, capability, breach of the law, or redundancy; and the dismissal must have been dealt with fairly i.e. follow the correct process, with the correct notice and payments. Unfair dismissal can be claimed by an employee through an Employment Tribunal if…


Whistleblowing is when a worker reports a certain type of wrongdoing. A whistleblower is protected by law and shouldn’t be treated unfairly or lose their job because they ‘blow the whistle’. A concern can be raised at any time about an incident that happened in the past, present, or is believed to happen in the near…
Scroll to top
Call Now Button