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Grievance at work
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Procedure for raising a formal grievance

If you’ve tried and failed to solve a problem at work informally with a chat with your manager, you may want to raise a formal grievance.

Your employer should also have a formal procedure for raising a grievance and you should follow this when making your complaint.

The process for raising a grievance is likely to cover the following steps:

  • putting your complaint in writing to your employer
  • having a meeting with your employer
  • your right to be accompanied by a work colleague or trade union representative/official at a grievance meeting
  • how to appeal if you’re unhappy with the outcome of the grievance process. 

All employers should have in place grievance and disciplinary procedures so that issues can be raised promptly and there are no unreasonable delays for meetings, decisions, confirmation of decisions or rights of appeal. Depending on what your grievance is about, you may be able to take the matter further, to an employment tribunal.

Each party should give the other the basis of the problem.  Employers should act consistently, carry out all necessary investigations.  The employee should have the opportunity of putting their case forward and have the right to be accompanied at any hearing by a trade union representative or work colleague and all employees should have the right of appeal.

There is no set legal framework which has to be followed in regards to grievance procedures however, guidance is provided by ACAS in a Code of Practice on Discipline and Grievance Procedures and, if it is not followed, an Employment Tribunal may increase any compensatory award by up to 25% for unreasonable failures by either party to comply with any provision of the Code.

The full version of the Code can be found at ACAS.

Raising a grievance at work

If you have a complaint or problem at work that hasn’t been resolved, you may want to make a formal complaint. This is known as raising a grievance. There are a number of reasons that you might want to raise a grievance with your employer, this can include things such as: 

  • the way you are being treated
  • bullying and harassment
  • discrimination on the grounds of sex, race, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy or maternity or religion or belief
  • changes to your employment terms and conditions
  • your working environment
  • new working practices 

Which? Legal can help

Discuss your situation with one of our friendly specialist employment law solicitors who are experienced in advising members on raising a grievance and other employment matters. 

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Meet your experts
Duncan Snook Duncan joined Which? Legal as an employment law specialist in May 2018. He has over 10 years of experience as an employment solicitor in private practice. See profile
Brendan Donohue Brendan joined Which? Legal in 2018 and is a member of the Employment Lawyers Association. Brendan has over 15 years of experience advising on all aspects of employment law. See profile