Grievance Procedure

The statutory grievance procedure applicable for all employees.

Statutory Grievance Procedure

A statutory 3 part grievance procedures applies to the discipline and dismissal procedures of all employers.

  • Step oneThe employer must give a written statement to the employee setting out why they have decided to take disciplinary action.
  • Step two. The employer must meet the employee, who has the right to be accompanied by his or her colleague or union representative. The employer must state their case, let the employee respond and then, after the meeting, give the employee a decision. This should explain that the employee may appeal against the decision.
  • Step three. The employee may appeal against the decision and choose to be accompanied to an appeal meeting, which should ideally be heard by a different or more senior manager. The employer must inform the employee of the decision of the appeal. If the employee is not satisfied and believes that employment rights have been infringed, they may be able to make a complaint to an employment tribunal.

There are some circumstances where an employer does not need to follow the statutory grievance procedure:

• If more than one employee is affected by the same grievance and it is raised with the employer by an official of a recognised trade union. In workplaces where a union is not recognised, a collective grievance can be handled by a union representative or employee representative who has been elected or appointed by employees to deal with such grievances. The employer must have agreed to use this collective procedure.
• If there are reasonable grounds for believing that there would be a serious threat of violence or damage to property by one of the parties.
• If a party has suffered harassment and reasonably believe they would suffer further harassment if they follow the procedures. Harassment means that there has been conduct which is offensive, humiliating, intimidating or violates your dignity.
• If it is not practicable to begin or complete the procedure within a reasonable period, for example, if one of the parties becomes seriously ill.
• If the employee has left the job and it is not reasonably practical for the employee to send a written grievance to the ex-employer. For example, s/he is living abroad, not traceable or dead.

There are similarly circumstances where an employer is allowed to dismiss someone, or take disciplinary action, without going through the procedures because it would not be practical to do so. These are:

• A collective redundancy, where the employer is proposing to make more than 20 employees redundant and is consulting with officials of a recognised trade union or an elected employee representative.
• When an employer lays off a group of staff and immediately re-hires them under different terms and conditions.
• When employees are dismissed for taking industrial action. (In the case of lawful, officially organised action, special arrangements apply.)
• Where it would be illegal to continue the employment.
• Sudden and unforeseen stoppage of the employers business, for example, when a factory burns down.

In addition, there are some circumstances where neither the employer nor the employee has to follow the procedures:

• if there are reasonable grounds for believing that there would be a serious threat of violence or damage to property by one of the parties;
• you have suffered harassment, and reasonably believe you would suffer further harassment if you follow the procedures. Harassment means conduct which is offensive, humiliating, intimidating or violates your dignity;
• if it becomes not possible to begin or complete the procedure within a reasonable period, for example, if one of the parties becomes seriously ill.

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