Employee Grievance

Employee Grievance

Employee Grievance

Posted: 02/06/2021

How to deal with an Employee Grievance?

Many workplaces are suddenly going to see an influx of existing staff and new staff returning to the workplace. In some cases, they will be returning full time, in others on a new working rota, following business working practices and changes adapted through lockdown.

Whether that be new recruits, return from Furlough, or business restructuring, it is inevitable this will also lead to a rise in grievances.

In this article we look at 'What is an Employee Grievance?' and how employers should deal with matters arising. 

Simply put, an employee grievance is an issue, problem or complaint that an employee may have in the workplace. These can fall into some of the following categories:

  • Poor work to life balance
  • Changes to roles / duties
  • Lack of progression
  • Pay concerns
  • Too high of a workload
  • Disputes with colleagues or managers
  • Lack of, or poor-quality office policies
  • Illegal or unlawful action taken or ing place
  • Lack of concern over employee wellbeing – either health and safety or mental health
  • Office politics that show favouritism and/or nepotism
  • Lack of consistent treatment of staff e.g. different disciplinary outcomes for the same thing

Every organisation will come across their fair share of grievances.

They can be as little as a grumble from an employee that can be addressed quickly and effectively through informal means, to a full-blown employee grievance that requires formal action and specialist advice and support.

The ACAS Code of Practice does set out a fair procedure that should be followed when dealing with an employee grievance to ensure it is dealt with in a fair and reasonable manner.

In this article, we will look at:

  • How to deal with an employee grievance as a business
  • Can the employee grievance be dealt with informally?
  • How to deal with a grievance formally
  • How to hold a formal employee grievance hearing
  • Carry out an investigation into all the matters raised


  • Delivering the outcome
  • Can the employee appeal the decision?
  • How are grievances typically resolved?
  • Could mediation help?
  • What happens if an employee raises a grievance during a disciplinary process?
How to deal with an employee grievance as a business

Businesses don’t feel that grievances are going to impact them. They have a great team around them, and everyone is happy.

The reality is that everyone is human, and at one stage or another, there will be issues that need to be addressed. As a business, the best step you can take is ensuring you have a system or process in place that is very clear to understand and recognises when grievances are raised.

This shout include when an employee grievance is raised to their line manager in the first instance, which should be dealt with and addressed. Or, if the grievance is about the line manager, who the employee can turn to to register their grievance.

Having a clear procedure in place shows staff you have considered every eventuality. It also provides clear guidance on how they can address their concerns and that the business will take them seriously. The worst thing that can happen, is an employee has a concern and feels like they have nowhere to go or a person to turn to. This will just enable the problem to fester and become toxic in the workplace.

To understand full considerations and watch the video for 'Dealing With A Grievance', visit our HR Toolkit page at