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Grievance Proceedures

Grievance Procedures should provide an open and fair way for employees to make know their concerns and enable grievances to be resolved quickly before they become major difficulties.

The written particulars of terms and conditions of employment that every employee should receive under the provisions of the Employment Rights Act 1996 must contain a statement relating to grievance procedures. There is no exemption for small employers.

Any Grievance Procedure must comply with the revised version of the ACAS Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures which came into effect on 6 April 2009.

The object of any grievance procedure should be to ensure that employee's grievances are dealt with quickly, fairly and consistently, and at the lowest appropriate level within the work place at which the matter can be resolved satisfactorily.

The number of stages within such a procedure will depend on the size of any employer, its structure and resources. The stages of the procedure will, basically, take the employee through various levels of management. It is important to provide realistic time limits and departure from those limits should only be in exceptional circumstances. It may well be necessary to write separate policies or, to have separate arrangements, in respect of different categories of case. This may be appropriate for matters of public disclosure, bullying and harassment. Any action taken against an employee because he or she has brought a complaint under the grievance procedure may amount to unlawful victimisation.

It is particularly important that records are kept in respect of any grievance. Any such records should be confidential and processed in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998. It is our recommendation that in grievance procedures the employee who has brought the grievance should be provided with copies of notes of meetings at every stage of the procedure unless there are exceptional circumstances that dictate otherwise.

Employers are advised to ensure their policies and procedures are up to date.

Employment Law Support is able to assist your business drafting a Grievance Procedure and guide you through the processes on a step by step basis to ensure it is carried out properly and reasonably.