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Mustn't grumble: The everyday art of dealing with complaints

For employers, dealing with complaints is part of the day-to-day running of the business. Complaints could be about anything from the workplace environment, the work itself, or someone at work.

They could be minor, about washing up used mugs in the shared sink, or more serious such as a discrimination issue.

Smaller businesses or newer employers are just as likely to encounter complaints big and small, but may not have the resources that larger organisations can use to deal with them.

That's why Acas has plenty of Help for small firms on how to deal with day-to-day problems, including how to manage complaints.

Managing complaints and grievances

When a complaint is raised with management, it is known as a grievance.

In the first instance, most grievances are best responded to with a quiet word about the issue. More often than not, that is enough to settle a problem quickly and informally in everyday situations.

But if that doesn't work, a formal approach may be needed, typically by following the Acas pdf icon Code of Practice - Disciplinary and grievance procedures [1Mb].

Managing a complaint at work: A step-by-step guide takes you through the whole scenario. The guide sets out what you need to know and do at each stage of the process, from hearing the complaint to handling an appeal.  There's also a real-life case study, a myth-busting page and a comprehensive list of FAQs.

Acas publications and services

Managing a complaint at work: A step-by-step guide is one of a suite of eight step-by-step guides aimed at keeping you on the right side of the law in key areas of employment, including contracts, pay, performance, absences, engagement and redundancy.

Acas experts can visit you and work with you to build effective working relationships and develop robust grievance procedures. See Disputes and mediation: how Acas can help for more information.

Practical training is also available on Dispute resolution, Investigations, Discipline and grievance, Skills for supervisors, and, for newer employers, Employing People - A Practical Introduction.

For free, impartial advice and guidance visit Acas Helpline Online.

Visit the Acas Training Courses, Workshops and Projects area for more information.

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We recommend that you explore further information and advice available on this website, particularly within our Advice A-Z guidance pages. If you have questions about workplace rights and rules visit Helpline Online.
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