Raising a Grievance at Work
As an employee, it’s important to understand the difference between disciplinary and grievance issues.
Disciplinary issues usually refer to concerns relating to your misconduct or behaviour, made by an employer against an employee. A grievance refers to a complaint or concern being raised by an employee to their employer, regarding their employment with them.
Both procedures must comply with an Acas minimum standard. A reasonable and fair investigation process must be carried out. If there are hidden agendas or unfairness at play, we can help you to defend yourself more effectively in order to exit on better terms.
Disciplinary proceedings may result in immediate dismissal, leaving you without an income, and potentially damaging your prospects for future employment. With that in mind, it’s vital to obtain advice from an experienced legal expert if you are facing serious allegations.
If you have been bullied, given unfair targets, or have suffered discrimination in the workplace, you may well seek to resolve the difficulties by submitting a grievance. You may also lodge a grievance because you believe for example you have returned from maternity leave and your role is no longer available to which is a breach of legislation.
It is essential that grievances are well drafted, as they can put you in a tactically advantageous position whichever way the matter goes. Your grievance should convey the essential legal points, but also give you the leverage you need to secure the result you seek or believe is fair.
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How Loch Law can help
With either a disciplinary or grievance situation, there are certain legal requirements that mean the employer must deal with the situation reasonably and fairly following Acas codes too. As these might include investigations, it’s important to know that your entitlement to key rights (like being accompanied at a formal disciplinary or grievance meeting) is protected.
Here at Loch Law, our specialists can advise you throughout the process, ensuring that the matter is being dealt with properly. We can assist you with the necessary letters to your employer, such as letters to appeal your employer’s decision if required.
If the disciplinary process leads to your dismissal, or if your grievance is not dealt with fairly, we can advise you on bringing a claim in the Employment Tribunal.
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I cannot recommend Joe Milner at the Tunbridge Wells office highly enough. He was extremely helpful and reassuring, and settled my claim quickly and efficiently. What a delightful chap to do business with.
The expertise of Loch Law made me feel in very safe hands. Caroline was thorough at explaining the legal situation, giving clear advice and was committed to getting me a fair outcome.
It goes without saying my contacting you at the outset & getting your great advice gave me confidence through this upsetting episode.
What is a disciplinary at work?
If you receive an invitation to a disciplinary meeting at work from your employer, it can be an extremely stressful and distressing time. Depending on the severity of the issue, you may face being suspended from work. If you are faced with disciplinary action at work, your employer has a legal obligation to make sure it is dealt with fairly and reasonably. This includes carrying out a proper and thorough investigation before putting the allegations in writing. Your employer must have a disciplining process in writing, which needs to include:
- Details of the disciplinary process and rules you must follow;
- Written notification of the behaviour or performance that could lead to disciplinary action;
- The actions your employer might take and your right to appeal.
When facing a disciplinary, it’s important to understand what the allegations are, and to be fully prepared to defend your position.
An employer is legally obliged to carry out a thorough investigation before inviting you to a disciplinary meeting. Once you reach that stage, you are entitled to be accompanied at disciplinary meetings by a work colleague or Trade Union Representative. You are entitled to see all the evidence that will be used at a disciplinary meeting ahead of the meeting so you can prepare for it. At the meeting you should take the opportunity to fully explain your position, and provide evidence to support your case. You should also be given the right to appeal any warnings or a decision to dismiss you.
What is a grievance procedure at work?
If you have had to raise a grievance at work, it can be difficult and stressful to deal with. However, if you wish to resolve an issue, which you cannot resolve by talking to your manager to get it resolved then a formal grievance complaint is generally the best way to proceed.
If an issue cannot be resolved informally, you will need to follow the formal grievance procedure. All employers should have a grievance procedure. If your grievance involves harassment or bullying, your employer may have an anti-harassment and bullying policy which you would need to follow.
You should have access to your employer’s grievance procedure, which will usually be in the company’s handbook. This should provide you with guidance on the next steps, along with all the relevant information on the grievance procedure, including:
How to submit your grievance;
Set out the details of what happens next e.g., your employer should arrange a meeting with you to discuss your grievance.
Information around your rights to appeal the outcome of your grievance.
The employer should meet with you to discuss your concerns, and it may be necessary to meet with other employees to investigate further. You have the right under legislation to be accompanied at a grievance meeting by a workplace colleague or Trade Union Representative.
If you are unhappy with the grievance outcome, you should be able to appeal the decision.
If you are currently facing a disciplinary process or considering raising a grievance at work, then contact us for a free initial consultation.