How to raise a grievance at work and get what you want

If you’re unhappy with a situation at work, it might be worth raising a formal grievance – but make sure you watch this video first!

Full transcript:

So grievances, we'll just chat about grievances in this video.

Specifically when is a good time to write a grievance, when it is not a good time to write a grievance.

And then if you are going to write one, then how are you going to do that?

and the best way to go about it and the process that then follows from that.

So, firstly just weighing up whether to write one or not, it's a question of you know what do i want out of this situation?

It's an also question of timing.

So, given example if you're trying to negotiate an exit package or a settlement agreement deal to leave your job with a decent payout,

okay if you've been badly treated which is basically what this website is all about, which our whole business all about,

then your best bet often can be first of all writing without prejudice letter or have... having a without prejudice conversation um with your employer.

Without prejudice is different from grievance; without prejudice means that it can't be referred to openly,

it can't refer to in court, or it can't be referred to at work in an open meeting.

So, that means like a confidential off-the-record scenario where you're setting out not only your complaint but also your resolutions.

So, you what how much money for example that you want out of it or other things,

like an agreed reference perhaps that you want as part of your settlement exit package.

Okay, and with or without prejudice letter there doesn't have to be any kind of formal process,

there doesn't have to be a meeting and an outcome letter and a set number of days.

So, that's off the record, that's your first port of call.

And the reason why is because once you've written a grievance letter which is also classified as a type of open letter,

which means it can be referred to at work, it can be referred to in court and so on.

Why your employer will often have to do there is at least be seen to investigate that.

so it's not going to sort of result in some kind of grand kind of apology,

but they will certainly want to be seen to be investigating that and be seen to be doing the right thing.

So, they'll be put in management time and energy into that whole grievance process,

which if you think about it they could have put that into the without prejudice negotiation process instead.

So, the cost that it will cost them to you know run a grievance investigation,

well they might have been willing to give you that as part of an agreed negotiated settlement exit package deal.

So, try and answer that first.

Now obviously if you don't get anywhere with or without prejudice letter or with your negotiation discussions,

that can be a really good time to put in a grievance.

Because that will really ramp up the pressure on them because it will activate you know this process and so it will make them think a bit harder.

And also you know one other benefit is that they'll..... often they'll need to reply to your grievance letter with the specific point set out.

So, you're really prepping your scenario for an employment tribunal.

So, um you're really prepping your scenario for an employment tribunal

by that I mean that you're getting your kind of points across and their.... their answers so you can slot those in

and really kind of fine-tune your case.

Now no one wants you to go to an employment tribunal but the more your case is prepped for one,

then the more likely it is that your.... your employer going to actually agree to giving you a fair deal.

Because they're worried about you kind of suing them because they can see that's going to take a lot of time and energy and they might lose and so on.

So, we're not suggesting you go to tribunal but the more prepared you look, then the more likely you are to get a fair deal.

Um, all right so once you've decided to make a formal grievance or put in a formal grievance as we say,

then a couple of things to look out for certainly read the ACAS code on.... on grievances

which sets out um you know the kind of time scales involved here normally that the people use,

or your company's internal grievance procedure.

That can be a document which you could obtain on the intranet or from HR if they have one,

and effectively you're writing a letter, they'll invite you to meeting there may be HR there and a manager or just HR,

you'd be allowed to take a colleague or union rep.

We can't go to that meeting as lawyers but we can certainly tell you what to say from behind the scenes

and you know we are specialist lawyers whereas union reps aren't, they are not lawyers

and they...... also they work for the same company as well so you might prefer to get one of us on...on your before that point.

So, in that meeting you should take copious amount of notes and refer to your numbered paragraphs, try and number your paragraphs, okay?

So, that then they reply also numbers.

After that meeting they'll send you an outcome letter that will...... by in large it will dismiss the um...the complaints one-by-one with various reasons

but you'll.... you'll see in there you know the tenuous reasons the more there probably sort of quaking in their boots waiting to see what you do next.

Then you've got a grievance appeal which is the next stage and then again that goes to a different manager.

So, often you know if that was your line manager, you've got a problem with it will go to the line manager and so it gives you another bite in the cherry.

The important thing about this is at any point along this journey you will then be able to suggest a settlement or have it without prejudice conversation.

So, it's not that you're expecting again them to admit their fault here,

it's just that you're really just hoping to keep that pressure on and using this kind of grievance procedure just to kind of really help leverage your position

and negotiate yourself a fair deal when you're being badly treated at work.

Which is what we really passionately believe in is that people shouldn't just have to kind of resign

with their tail between their legs and go home and cry into their cornflakes when they're being really mistreated at work.

People should really have that reflected in it in a fair exit package.

So, good luck with that there's lots of grievance template examples on our website here,

you know use one of them or get in touch with us for a free consultation if you're um keen to find out more about how we can help you as well.

Cheers, bye.