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What is a grievance?

A grievance at work is an issue or problem that an employee might want to raise with their employer. A grievance procedure should be followed if an employee puts a formal complaint in writing to their employer.


Should I raise a grievance?

It is always best to try and resolve matters with your employer informally first however, if your work-related issue cannot be resolved informally or it is perhaps too serious for it to be resolved informally, it may be appropriate to raise a formal grievance.

A grievance can be made at any time during your employment. If you make a claim before an Employment Tribunal regarding the work-related issue that you are unhappy about without having first raised a grievance, then the Employment Tribunal may in some circumstances reduce the amount of compensation that you would have otherwise been awarded.

Grievance at Work


How do I raise a grievance?

Your workplace should have a grievance procedure set out in a Staff Handbook. If your workplace does not have a grievance procedure, then you can follow ACAS guidance in relation to raising a grievance.


Click here for a template of a Grievance letter. This template is based on one provided by the employee advice website, ACAS.


If you need help drafting a complicated grievance then please contact Oakwood Solicitors for further advice as we may be able to assist you on a private retainer basis.


What happens after I have raised a grievance?

Your employer should respond to your written grievance within a reasonable timeframe, even if this is to just acknowledge that they have received it.

Once you have raised a grievance you will usually be invited to a grievance meeting to discuss your grievance. You are entitled to take a colleague from work or if you belong to a trade union, a representative to this meeting.

You should be allowed to explain the problems that you are facing and your employer, in turn, they may provide solutions to resolve your concerns.

Shortly after the meeting you should be advised of the outcome of your grievance, whether it has been upheld or not. You may be notified of the outcome verbally or your employer may notify you of the outcome in writing following the meeting.


If you are not satisfied with the outcome of your grievance

Sometimes, employees may find themselves in a situation where their grievance has not been upheld and their grievance has not been successful. This could be because the employer has a different point of view from the employee or the employer is not taking the employees grievance seriously.

Whatever the details of the outcome may be – if you are not satisfied with the outcome of your grievance, you can appeal against the decision made. Your employer should have made you aware of how to appeal the grievance outcome but if they have not, look in your Staff Handbook or ACAS for guidance.

If you would like advice in relation to drafting your appeal letter, or what to expect when raising an appeal, then please contact Oakwood Solicitors for further advice as we may be able to assist you on a private retainer basis.


My employer has not dealt with my grievance. What should I do?

An employer has obligation to listen to your grievance and follow the ACAS Code in dealing with your grievance in a fair and appropriate manner.

If your employer has failed to follow the ACAS Code, your employer may be liable to pay a 25% increase in any damages you may be awarded in relation any subsequent claim you may make against them. Please contact Oakwood Solicitors Ltd for further advice.


My grievance has been heard but nothing at work has changed, now what?

Employees should have an end goal of what they aim to achieve in submitting their grievances.

However, just because your employer has listened to your grievance it does not mean your work related issue will automatically disappear. If you have raised a grievance but your work related issue has not gone away, contact Oakwood Solicitors for advice on your next steps.

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If you wish to pursue your claim to the Employment Tribunal

Generally an employee must start ACAS Early Conciliation within three months less a day from the incident or decision that they wish to complain to their employer about, even if the grievance or grievance appeal process is still ongoing.

If an employee does not start ACAS Early Conciliation within that time period then they may be prevented from bringing a claim against their employer before an Employment Tribunal. It is important that you seek legal advice as soon as you are able to ensure that you do not inadvertently pass the time frame in which you have to bring a claim before an Employment Tribunal.

It is also worth noting that not all grievance issues can be pursued before an Employment Tribunal, but there could be other legal remedies available. Please contact Oakwood Solicitors Ltd for further advice.



Please contact Oakwood Solicitors Ltd as soon as possible for a free initial review of your potential claim. Choose one of the methods on the right-hand side of this page, or call us on 0113 200 9787 to find out how we can help you.

You can download a copy of the Grievance letter template either by clicking here, or by the ‘Download PDF’ button below.

Download PDF

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