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Help for small firms

Managing a complaint at work: A step-by-step guide

Be prepared should things go wrong

In running your business, you expect that at some point there could be a complaint from someone who works for you. It could be to do with their work, where they work, or who they work with.

For example, it might be about a complaint of discrimination against a manager, or an issue over health and safety they claim has not been dealt with.

Such complaints are known as grievances and can occur at any level of your business - from the boardroom to the warehouse floor.

The line manager should have a quiet word with the employee making the complaint as soon as they can. Grievances can often be settled quickly and informally in the course of everyday working life.

But, if that doesn't work, you need to take action to sort out the matter formally:

  • stick to the Acas Code of Practice on discipline and grievance.
  • understand the basics for handling a grievance.
  • manage a formal grievance from investigating it through to deciding how it will be resolved.

Acas training

If you're new to HR or employing people you can also sign up for our HR for Beginners training. It's specially tailored to help small firms get their recruitment, contracts, and managing people's performance right. See Human resources management for beginners course dates and locations.

Acas also has a full range of other training courses on hiring, managing and getting the best from staff.

How to get the best out of your staff
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