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The grievance procedure in the workplace

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The grievance process in jobs is an often overlooked procedure that can be followed should an employee have concerns, complaints or problems that employers ought to engage with.

However, there is no legally-binding process that either party in this situation needs to follow when raising or handling these issues, although businesses as well as individuals should still maintain certain principles during the process to ensure everything is handled correctly and in light of the law.

Acas - the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service - has an established code of practice regarding disciplinary and grievance procedures, often referred to as the code, which sets out principles that both bosses and their staff should follow in order to attain a reasonable outcome through an acceptable standard of behaviour during a grievance process.

Of course, there is the option to sort out problems informally. Simply chatting with a manager in a casual way before raising a formal grievance may help the situation along and can apply to a number of things, including terms of employment, pay and working conditions as well as any issues of discrimination or disagreements with co-workers.

If this does not work, grievances in jobs instead ought to be reacted to formally, using an employer's formal procedures should they be set out in the terms of employment. Before moving forward, workers should check company handbooks, human resources manuals, or a possible intranet site if the contract does not set anything out.

Employers, however, must give in name the person that a person can apply to, as this complies with the aforementioned Acas code. Employer's grievance procedures will include several steps if they are familiar with this organisation's direction.

Firstly, by writing a letter to your employer in which people set out the details of the issue, people can move forward and meet with an employer to discuss the issue. People must have the ability to appeal their employer's decision, while any extra advice can be found in the Discipline and Grievances at Work booklet provided through Acas.

When writing the letter, people are advised by the government to say in the piece exactly how they would like their employer to resolve the problem, ensuring that the letter is dated and a copy is kept. Further writing should take into account what the person wants to say as there is nothing wrong with doing this at the meeting, should they feel uncomfortable.

Despite this, the employer ultimately decides how the meeting will work and they will often go through issues that have been raised before giving an opportunity to comment back on them. Either way, the manager needs to establish facts, find a way to resolve the problem and if further investigation is needed, the employer should consider holding off on completing the meeting before arranging it to finish it at a later date.

Despite the issue being an individual gripe, it is still a legal right for people to take a companion to the meeting with them and they must make a request to their employer that someone goes with them, whether it is a colleague, trade union representative or trade union official.


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