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Website URL : http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=4066

Grievance hearing

A grievance hearing is a meeting that deals with any grievance raised by an employee. When arranging a grievance hearing employers should:

  • hold the meeting in private where there will be no interruptions
  • If the grievance concerns the line manager, consider who else could hear the complaint
  • tell employees about the right to be accompanied
  • ensure an open discussion of the issues and give the employee a chance to say how they think it can be resolved
  • consider adjourning the meeting if further advice need to be sought
  • avoid snap decisions - even if the solution at first seems obvious, there may be repercussions to consider
  • give you employee the chance to appeal if they're not happy with the outcome.

Following the meeting the employer should decide on what action, if any, they intend to take. They should communicate their decision to the employee without unreasonable delay. The employee should also be informed that they can appeal if they are not content with the outcome.

Grievance appeal

When an employee feels that their grievance has not been dealt with satisfactorily they can appeal. They should let the employer know the reasons for the appeal without unreasonable delay and in writing. They have the right to be accompanied at the appeal meeting, and the outcome of the appeal should be given to the employee in writing without delay.

There is no prescribed form which the law requires for handling grievances. Basic practical guidance is provided in the Acas Discipline and grievance - Acas Code of Practice and the Discipline and grievances at work: The Acas guide. A failure to follow the Code does not in itself make a person or organisation liable to proceedings, however, employment tribunals will take the Code into account when considering relevant cases.

Allow an employee to be accompanied at the meeting

Workers have a statutory right to be accompanied by a companion at a grievance meeting.

The companion may be:

  • a fellow worker (i.e. another of the employer's workers)
  • an official employed by a trade union
  • a workplace trade union representative, as long as they have been certified in writing by their union has having had experience.

The companion should be allowed to address the meeting, respond on behalf of the worker to any views expressed at the meeting, or confer with the worker during the hearing. The companion does not, however, have the right to answer on behalf of the worker.

Some worker may have an additional contractual right to be accompanied by a person other than listed above, for example, spouse, partner or legal representative.

Giving the employee copies of meeting records

Copies of meeting records should be given to the employee including copies of any formal minutes that may have been taken. In certain circumstances (for example to protect a witness) the employer might withhold some information.

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