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Raising a grievance at work

Key points

  • Employees should let the employer know the nature of the grievance and issues promptly.
  • Try to resolve any grievance informally in the first instance to try to nip it in the bud.
  • Employers should arrange any formal meeting without unreasonable delay and should carry out any necessary investigations to establish the facts of the case.
  • Employers should allow the employee to be accompanied at any formal meeting and should allow the employee the right to appeal against any formal decision made.
  • Employers should have their grievance procedure in writing and make sure all staff are aware of any policy or procedure.

Grievances are concerns, problems or complaints raised by a staff member. Any worker may at some time have problems or concerns with their work, working conditions or relationships with colleagues that they wish to raise with management.

Issues that may cause grievances include:

  • terms and conditions of employment
  • health and safety
  • work relations
  • bullying and harassment
  • new working practices/organisational changes
  • discrimination.

Watch our expert adviser talk about one of the most asked questions to the Acas Helpline.

word  Acas most asked - How can an employee raise a grievance [24kb]

Grievances are best dealt with at an early stage, informally, with the immediate line manager. However, organisations should have formal procedures in place to handle cases left unresolved. Having formal grievance procedures in place allows employers to give reasonable consideration to any issues which can't be resolved informally and to deal with them fairly and consistently. Pursuing the formal route should be a last resort rather than the first option.

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