Employee Grievance

Support with managing employee grievances from HR experts

Are you looking for guidance in managing an unhappy employee?

Dealing with an employee grievance can be very challenging for a small business.

You can be the best employer in the world but you’ll never please all the people all the time. Unpopular decisions will have to be made, or something will happen in the workplace that is beyond your control, resulting in a disgruntled employee who raises a grievance.

Finding someone to hear the grievance who isn’t involved in the situation can be difficult and knowing what solutions you can suggest can also be problematic. Emotions can be running high and it’s important to find a way forward to ensure that an employee grievance doesn’t start to have a widespread negative impact on your business.

That’s where our expertise comes in.

For more information, see our Employee Grievance FAQ.

Employee Grievance - Support Options - Lighter HR

Support Options for Employee Grievance

Guidance on the Essentials

You’ll have guidance on the right steps to manage the employee grievance, be provided with all the documentation you need, and have support by phone and email for peace of mind.

Full Support

We take care of the end-to-end grievance process, including holding the hearing, investigating the issues and documenting the outcome; we’ll update you regularly so you can just focus on running your business.

Key Service Features
for Managing Employee Grievances

Support from an assigned CIPD qualified HR consultant with at least 10 years’ experience who has dealt with all types of employee grievance issues.

You’ll be compliant with UK Employment Legislation and the ACAS Code of Practice for managing grievance situations from when we start working together.

Support in preparing for conversations that can be emotive and difficult, and where there is risk of you unintentionally saying the wrong thing.

Focusing on the facts, we always use a pragmatic approach to employee grievances so we achieve the appropriate outcome for you with minimal risk.

What our clients say…
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Do you need to manage an employee grievance?

Let’s chat it through so you know what your options are.

Employee Grievance FAQ

I’m worried I’ve not acted ‘by the book’ for this employee grievance…

The most common concern when it comes to an employee grievance is that something should have been done sooner. It could be that an employee has mentioned something about their issue in the past, maybe even putting it in writing, but it wasn’t recognised as a grievance that should have been dealt with through the employee grievance procedure.

Another concern that employers often have is that maybe they could have taken action that would have avoided the employee being unhappy in the first place.

Whatever the situation, we can help you. We just need you to tell us absolutely everything that has happened to date and we can then help you move things forward in a way that’s both practical and aligned to best practice and employment law.

The grievance is about something that I’ve done, what do I do?

No one’s perfect and you can find yourself in a position where something that you’ve done has upset an employee.

There are many scenarios if you are the subject of the employee grievance where it would be appropriate to get our help, for example:

. If you’re the most senior person in the organisation and therefore there’s no point of escalation;
. If you could ask a manager of another team or department to hear the grievance but you’d rather the matter was dealt with externally due to reasons of confidentiality;
. If there are concerns raised about the impartiality of the process if it is performed internally.

If you are in one of these or similar scenarios, get in touch and we can manage the grievance for you effectively and impartially.

How can you help me deal with a grievance?

The first thing with an employee grievance is that, you might actually be named in it! In these cases, we can deal with the matter on your behalf. In this scenario, we’ll hear the case, carry out any investigations needed and then provide the employee and the employer with an outcome report that contains a set of recommendations. It will still be your decision as the employer as to whether you take those recommendations on board, but we will have to report on what we find. We will be balanced and unbiased but this may mean that we have to tell you things that you don’t want to hear.

Alternatively, we can support you as you move through the employee grievance procedure. We can either provide light-touch support and help you to prepare for meetings, provide you with documentation, review documentation and be at the end of the phone. We can also be with you on calls and in meetings with the employee, we can chair meetings and write the all important outcome letter. Our service is fully flexible and we’ll work with you in whichever way is best for you.

Can you reduce the risk of an employment tribunal claim?

We need to be clear and honest here – there is nothing that anyone can do that will remove the risk of an employment tribunal claim altogether.

When it comes to an employee grievance, the main employment tribunal risk is that you don’t deal with the grievance appropriately and the individual resigns and brings a claim for constructive dismissal. There could also be allegations of discrimination that are rolled into that claim and it can get expensive and time consuming.

Whilst we can’t remove the risk entirely, we will work with you to ensure that the risk is managed.

The biggest contributing factor in an employee raising an employment tribunal claim is how they feel they have been treated. Grievance situations can be difficult and emotional, particularly when you’re in the middle of it all. This is the first way in which we can help. By being external and independent we can start to remove the emotion and get to the facts. We can help all parties understand where things may have gone wrong and often find successful resolutions that get the employee/employer relationship back on track.

Employees also can feel that, by involving us, the company is taking their grievance seriously which is very beneficial and again, helps to take some of the emotion out of the situation.

Critically, we can manage the risk of you incurring higher-than-necessary awards and paying the additional 25% at tribunal for failing to follow the appropriate process.

Since the abolition of tribunal fees in 2017, employees have had easier access to tribunal claims. In the period April to June 2018 there was a 165% increase in claims when compared to the same period in 2017. There was a further 26% increase in claims during 2019. This means it’s more important than ever to seek professional advice and support.

What’s the risk of dealing with this employee grievance without professional help?

This is one of the few situations when it simply might not be appropriate for you to deal with the matter yourself. If you’re named in the grievance then you really can’t be involved in hearing and investigating it. You’ll be accused of being biased and it’s unlikely that it would be deemed to be legally sound if you do find yourself having to defend your actions in an employment tribunal.

Even if you aren’t named in the grievance, if the employee is being critical of the business or other members of your team, it can be difficult to keep all emotion out and not become impatient.

In terms of legal risk, the most significant is that you don’t deal with the matter in a procedurally sound way, find yourself in an employment tribunal defending your actions, lose the case and have to pay an additional 25% on top of any award that the individual receives.

Is managing this grievance going to take up a lot of my time?

That will really depend on how involved you want to be. With employee grievances, we can do a lot of the work on behalf of the company so it’s possible that it won’t take up a lot of your time.

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