16th January 2014

Why I Like Employee Grievances

Most employers and HR professionals will groan when faced with the prospect of dealing with an employee grievance.  This is completely understandable and it is always disappointing when an employer is unable to resolve matters informally with its employees.  However as an employer, I am of the view that, in certain circumstances, employee grievances should be welcomed.

A formal grievance allows the employer to assess the validity of the complaint
There may be situations where an employer does not recognise that its practices are potentially unfair.  By encouraging employees to use the formal grievance procedure, it allows for any unfair practices to be identified, addressed and hopefully resolved.  By the same token, if an employer’s practices are justified and proportionate, in determining a grievance the employer’s position can be formally explained to the disgruntled employee.

A formal grievance creates a useful paper trail
Employers and HR professionals will know the value of a coherent paper trail.  It is best practice for every significant conversation with an employee to be recorded in that employee’s personnel file.  Minutes of formal meetings are extremely useful if an employer’s actions are scrutinised at a later date by an employment tribunal.  However, occasionally, the content of any correspondence from the employee will be a more useful tool in assessing credibility, particularly in cases of constructive dismissal where the employee has resigned from employment.  In these circumstances, an employee’s formal written grievance can be more useful evidence to a tribunal than the minutes of a meeting which have been solely prepared by the employer.

A formal grievance system will filter out nonsense groans
Employers are frequently faced with employee issues which are relatively minor and unresolvable.  If an employer has sought to informally resolve an issue with an employee but the employee still remains unhappy, the employee should be invited to lodge a formal grievance.  In such situations, the employer will be able to test the employee’s resolve and frequently the employee will elect not to pursue the issue formally.  By encouraging use of the formal grievance procedure, this course of action should assist employers in filtering out the time-wasting, nonsense groans.

Ultimately I believe that an effectively-run grievance procedure should be an asset to any employer.  If an employer can efficiently consider and determine grievances, both informally and formally, this process should allow for the continued successful management of your staff.

Simon Allison
Partner – Employment Law

The opinions expressed in this site are of the author(s) only and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Blackadders LLP.

Blackadders takes all reasonable steps to ensure that the content of this site is accurate and up to date. The site is not, however, intended as a substitute for seeking legal or other professional advice but rather as an informative guide to the services provided by Blackadders and topical legal developments. Site visitors should always seek advice tailored to their specific situation. Consequently, Blackadders accepts no responsibility for any loss or damage suffered by anyone acting or failing to act on the basis of information contained on this site. Downloading of material contained on this site is at the user’s own risk and all necessary virus checks must first be carried out by the user. Blackadders is not responsible for the material found on any web sites linked to this one and links to this site may only be made with Blackadders prior consent.

Copyright

Blackadders owns the copyright in this blog and all material contained on it. The material on this site may be downloaded for personal use only and must not be altered. Otherwise, Blackadders’ written consent is required before any material on this site is reproduced, copied or transmitted in any way.

Privacy Statement

Information passed to us via this site is kept confidential and will not be disclosed to third parties except if authorised by you or required by law.

© Blackadders LLP 2022

Members of the Law Society of Scotland.

Blackadders Solicitors is a trading name of Blackadders LLP, a limited liability partnership, registered in Scotland No SO301600 whose registered office is 30 & 34 Reform Street, Dundee, DD1 1RJ. Reference to a ‘partner’ is to a member of Blackadders LLP.

Back to Business Legal News from Blackadders Solicitors