Home > Legal Issues > Grievance Procedures

Grievance Procedures

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 4 Oct 2015 | comments*Discuss
Employment Grievance Procedures Work

Grievance procedures whilst at work are necessary to enable fair resolutions to problems that can occur in the workplace. By having a uniform grievance procedure it ensures that problems are dealt with in the same manner for everybody. They’re needed to provide individuals with a framework by which they can voice a complaint if they feel it cannot be resolved with their immediate supervisor or line manager.


Most of the laws relating to grievances and disciplinary issues at work can be found in the Employment Act 2002 but there are other pieces of legislation which can be useful additional sources of information. These include:
  • Employment Rights Act 2004
  • Employment Relations Act 1999
  • Employment Act 2002 (Dispute Resolution) Regulations 2004

In 2004, The Employment Act 2002 made it a legal requirement for employers to adhere to at least a minimum standard of procedures that have to be followed by all employers and workers for disciplinary, grievance and dismissal issues.The failure of an employer to follow these procedures would, in the event of the firing of an employee, make that dismissal unfair. Failure to follow the procedures could also result in an increase in the amount of compensation an employee might be entitled to.

Breach of Discipline

Disciplinary matters at work usually fall into two categories – performance/capability and conduct. Usually performance issues can be resolved amicably by internal company training and establishing goals, targets etc. and through feedback and support for the worker.

However, if all of these options have been utilised and problems with performance still arise, it may then escalate into a more formal disciplinary procedure. Poor health and frequent absences from work would also fall into this category and, whilst it is an obligation for employers to try to initially deal with sickness and absenteeism sympathetically, unacceptable levels of absence and unexplained or unjustifiable sickness can lead to more formal warnings.

Likewise, when it comes to conduct, lateness, theft, fighting, committing a criminal offence, abuse of a company’s computer network, hostility to other employees or to the employer themselves are just some of the issues which cold constitute gross misconduct and which may have to be dealt with formally.

3 Stage Disciplinary Process

If a situation escalates to the point where it becomes necessary to take formal action, the procedure should be to issue the worker with a formal disciplinary letter, hold a meeting and then give the worker the opportunity to appeal if they feel their case has been dealt with unfairly. Conversely, am employee who has a grievance should also put their grievance in writing, requesting a formal meeting.

It is important to keep all records of the case on file so that they can be referred to if the case is subsequently taken to an employment tribunal. This is crucial, particularly for the employer if the situation results in the dismissal of the employee. So, notes of meetings, phone calls, conversations etc. should be meticulously kept.

Possible Outcomes

Once a letter has been issued and a formal meeting has taken place with the employee, the company might decide to take no further action or issue them with a formal warning. Company policy can dictate what kind of ‘warning’ procedure they choose to adopt but all employees should be made aware of it before they start work. Often, they’ll follow the course of being a verbal warning firstly, followed by, perhaps, a first written warning then a final written warning.


In cases of serious misconduct, however, there are numerous grounds for immediate dismissal without the employee having the right to either a verbal or written warning. These can include:

  • Use of illegal drugs
  • Theft from the workplace
  • Wilful damage to the workplace
  • Acts of physical violence perpetrated on a work colleague or employer.

All of the above could be categorised as ‘gross misconduct’ and it’s important for all workers to be fully aware of what their employer deems to constitute ‘gross misconduct’ as this can differ between companies.

However, aside from issues of gross misconduct, a worker can also be dismissed for breaches of statutory regulations, incapability, redundancy, retirement but in the case of redundancy and retirement, it’s crucial that these issues are handled correctly and legally or else the company can be sued for discrimination if the correct procedures have not been followed.

In general, employers must do all they can to ensure that any grievance procedures and/or dismissals are carried out in a fair and professional manner and would be likely to be deemed as reasonable by any employment tribunal. To do that, they should ensure that their entire workforce is familiar with the grievance procedure, that the correct procedure is fair to all staff and has been followed accordingly and that a proper and thorough investigation has been carried out.

And, from an employee’s perspective, if they feel they have been badly and unlawfully treated as the result of being subject to a grievance procedure or they have actioned the grievance procedure themselves yet are not satisfied with the outcome, they can consider appealing against any decisions which have been reached by their employer and take matters further by taking their case to an employment tribunal but it is important to seek advice on that first.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
stampy - Your Question:
Hi I have been told I cannot wear my work jacket in work only in the months of October-February even if its cold, I dis wear it today as its cold in the shop and was told to take it off or I will face a disciplinary it does not state anything in my contract about this and my jacket is a company issued uniform

Our Response:
You can make a formal grievance complaint if you’ve tried solving a problem by talking to your manager but you’re not satisfied. Please see link, here. I hope this helps.
GreatCVs - 5-Oct-15 @ 11:15 AM
Hi I have been told I cannot wear my work jacket in work only in the months of October-February even if its cold,I dis wear it today as its cold in the shop and was told to take it off or I will face a disciplinary it does not state anything in my contract about this and my jacket is a company issued uniform
stampy - 4-Oct-15 @ 1:33 PM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • pete
    Re: A CV for a Teenager
    Yeah sure charles lets teach him a lesson ;)
    21 June 2019
  • charles
    Re: A CV for a Teenager
    Hey Pete can i join you in that basement
    20 June 2019
  • linards
    Re: A CV for a Teenager
    Dont listen to alex it was all me my name is linards prodnieks
    19 June 2019
  • GreatCVs
    Re: A CV for a Teenager
    Our company has banned your IPs and you won't be able to use them next week but you have until Monday. The police are investigating this…
    18 June 2019
    Re: A CV for a Teenager
    Okay Okay Alex Boor I Get Your frustrated how pete did such a thing to you but we are still I'm a investigation of who cumed on my wife and…
    18 June 2019
  • Alko
    Re: A CV for a Teenager
    He did officer I swear he stuck his 12inches up my area and it really hurt and then he shipped me round the face with it I'm still in pain…
    18 June 2019
  • Pete
    Re: A CV for a Teenager
    No I didn't I swear I wouldn't do such a thing Alex is lying I'm just a fragile old man who plays Minecraft
    18 June 2019
  • The 1 N word
    Re: A CV for a Teenager
    I'm the person who wrote all of the below I will take my punishment because I'm gay and also pete touched me and raped me
    18 June 2019
  • Robert
    Re: A CV for a Teenager
    i cannot believe my son is on here making these nasty posts. he will be grounded for a month and he will not get any money to buy yeezys. i…
    18 June 2019
    Re: A CV for a Teenager
    Crime is reported to police, there is a police investigation. If you are the victim or witness of a crime, the police will ask you to make a…
    18 June 2019