My employer’s taking ages to respond to my grievance. What are my options?

by Direct2Lawyers on September 5, 2012

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If you’ve submitted a grievance at work then it goes without saying that you’re experiencing a problem at work – a problem that’s exercising you enough to force you to take formal action to redress it. Whether this problem is being caused by difficult co-workers, an overburden of work, a medical condition or any other reason you want to know that your grievance is being dealt with in a fair and efficient manner. If your employer deals with your grievance in a reasonable time frame then fine – you’ve at least been listened to. However, it is often the case that employees’ grievances are often not acknowledged for months on end, let alone reasonably dealt with. In this article we’ll therefore look briefly at how employees can submit a grievance and then move on to consider what you should do if your grievance is being ignored. This will entail a look at:

  1. How do I submit a grievance?
  2. How should my grievance ideally be dealt with?
  3. What should I do if my grievance is dealt with badly or not at all?

How do I submit a grievance?

You can choose to make an informal or a formal grievance. An informal grievance is normally communicated verbally to your line manager (or some other responsible senior person). However, if you wish to make a formal grievance then you should do this in writing (using a letter of grievance) and submit it by email to prove when and how you submitted your grievance.

How should my grievance ideally be dealt with?

Your employer should acknowledge your letter of grievance within a week. They should then hold an investigation into your grievance, if necessary. This investigation should be undertaken by an impartial employee or third party. Once the results of the investigation are available your employer should arrange a grievance meeting with you. You are allowed to bring a work colleague or a Trade Union official (if you have access to one) to this meeting. The meeting should be conducted in a fair and impartial way, with both sides being able to put their cases. You should be allowed to call such  witnesses as are reasonable when presenting your case. The grievance meeting should normally be held within 4 weeks of your grievance and you should ideally be kept well informed by your employer of the progress of the grievance. After your grievance meeting you should be informed by letter of the outcome of the grievance – specifically on whether your grievance has been accepted or rejected. If given the option (and you should be given the option to do so) you should be informed that you can appeal the grievance and whom to appeal to.

What should I do if my grievance is dealt with badly or isn’t dealt with at all?

If your grievance is dealt with badly then this is grounds for appeal. You should write to your employer specifying how you think your grievance was dealt with badly and what your other points of appeal are (if any). If your appeal isn’t handled satisfactorily or your grievance is unreasonably rejected at the appeal stage then you should consider your options. Is this issue of fundamental importance to you? Could you keep working at your employer if you’re being treated this way? If you can’t envision staying at your employer then you should think about potentially resigning (and if you wish to do so claiming constructive unfair dismissal).

If your employer doesn’t deal with your grievance at all then this is potentially grounds for resignation (and a claim for constructive unfair dismissal). However, consider your options wisely first and obtain advice from a specialist employment lawyer.

Direct 2 Lawyers offer free employment law advice for employers and free employment law advice for employees. The expert employment law solicitors that they use also offer Employment Tribunal representation to employees and employers and also offer no win no fee unfair dismissal representation.

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