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Help for small firms

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

Step 5: Handling an appeal

Managing a complaint at work - Step 5

Handling an appeal against a decision

  • The employee can appeal against the decision after a grievance meeting, but must do so in writing. They need to set out grounds for appeal without unreasonable delay - normally within five working days of receiving the meeting's decision.
  • Write to the employee as soon as possible telling them:
    • the date, time and place of the appeal -  normally within five working days of receipt of the appeal in writing
    • they have the right to be accompanied at the appeal. An employer should be aware that a worker also has a right to be accompanied at an appeal.
    • the decision after the appeal meeting is final.
  • The appeal should be heard, where possible, by a manager preferably more senior and not previously involved in the case. Again, this is not always possible in a small business, so the same manager or owner may have to hear the appeal, but they must be objective.
  • Thoroughly explore any new evidence and ensure both parties have the opportunity to comment on it.
  • Summarise the key points and close the appeal.
  • Afterwards, carefully consider an outcome which should be given to the employee in writing without unreasonable delay - normally within 24 hours.
  • Keep a confidential written record of grievance cases.

What should I keep in writing? Go to the Frequently-asked questions.

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