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Whether your business is small or large, if you employ staff you need to have some kind of grievance procedure in place.
Think of a Grievance Policy as a method of settling employee complaints as fairly and quickly as possible. Your staff will almost certainly come across problems in their day to day role and although most issues can be resolved informally with good people management, if this fails a set grievance procedure needs to be the next step.
Staff Grievances and the ACAS Code of Practice
ACAS, the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service is a public body setup to help businesses and employees prevent problems at work before they arise. The ACAS Code of Practice gives practical guidance for handling disciplinary and grievance issues in the workplace and should be followed and referred to at every opportunity.
While the ACAS code isn’t considered legally binding, failure to comply with it can end up costing your business.
If a claim from an employee went to an employment tribunal and was found in their favour the tribunal can increase the compensatory awarded if the ACAS code was found to have been ignored. For example:
Being a fair and transparent employer
Putting in place a grievance policy to avoid potential litigation costs might be all the reason you need, but a grievance process can be a valuable aspect of good employer-employee relations.
Having a documented procedure in place that employees are aware of and feel comfortable using gives them confidence that any grievances that they may have can be aired in a formal and professional setting. Without a clear policy, good employees may simply choose to leave your business rather than continue trying to deal with a serious issue informally.
What should a grievance procedure contain?
A grievance procedure doesn't need to be a standalone or lengthy document. It can be covered off in a section of your employment contract or as part of your employee handbook. However, to document the procedure fully you may wish to have a dedicated grievance policy that is easily accessible to staff.
Your grievance policy and procedure should comply with ACAS guidelines and cover the below broad areas:
Employment disputes can have a huge impact on a business, so building a working environment where team members can be open about problems should be a goal of every employer.
But when issues can't be dealt with informally, having a published grievance policy and procedure provides you the opportunity to resolve problems before they become detrimental to the workplace.