Dealing with Grievances

News on 31 October 2018

From time to time, an employee may want to raise issues with you that they have in work.

Grievances can be seen in a negative light. In reality, who likes dealing with complaints?

However, when an employee raises a grievance they could be highlighting a real problem to you that you knew nothing about. 

The way you deal with an employee’s grievance can make or break the employment relationship.

What do you do when you receive a grievance? 

  • Is this something that you can deal with informally? If yes, then great! Solving problems quickly and easily can help to remove all the stress from a grievance situation.
  • If you can’t deal with it informally, then arrange to meet with the employee to discuss their grievance
  • Listen to them and get as much information as possible. Don’t prejudge them based on their past / perceptions of them. They may have genuine concerns
  • Investigate what they’ve told you – don’t avoid asking difficult questions and don’t avoid speaking to people. If you miss anything at this stage it can have a negative impact further down the line
  •  If you’ve found “quick fixes” to the issues they’ve raised, implement them
  • Write them an outcome letter to explain what you’ve done to investigate their grievance and answer each point. If you cannot make any changes to resolve their problems, explain why
  • Give them the right to appeal the decision if they aren’t happy
  • Grievance processes are unsettling and can cause a lot of stress for everyone involved.

Imagine you’ve made a complaint and the person you’ve spoken to either doesn’t want to listen to you, isn’t interested, or just doesn’t give you an explanation of what they are going to do to solve your problem?

By handling a grievance carefully and with empathy and honesty, it can really help to keep the employment relationship positive, and sometimes, even if they employee doesn’t get what they are looking for, they understand things .

Whether you uphold their grievance or not, dealing with the employee in a fair way is important.


If you need a templated letter to amend for your business, download one from our online documents. If you need our help delivering that decision, call us on 02920 090500.