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  • How you can deal with grievances

    Grievances are an inevitable part of employing staff. Whilst they are a pain for some managers, they allow a business to nip concerns or complaints in the bud. This is before they grow into something which can be much bigger and more time consuming.
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    You should encourage employees to raise grievances as early as possible. But this should be an informal chat in the first instance.
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    Whether it be an allegation of bullying by a manager or any other complaint, employers should look into issues as soon as possible.

    Dealing with grievances

    It is important for both employer and employee to approach a grievance with an open mind. Avoid a hostile or unreasonable attitude.
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    Dealing with a formal grievance will involve a fair investigation. This should happen before to any meeting. But, if any part of the grievance is unclear and requires clarification, it is good practice to hold a meeting to clarify the issues.
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    Grievances can sometimes be lengthy. Aggrieved employees can use their grievance letter to air all frustrations. It can often be difficult to see the wood from the trees.
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    In this instance, it is beneficial for the employer to try and clarify the precise issues with the employee. Try to focus their concerns; it will make the investigation process a lot smoother.
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    Employees have the right of accompaniment at any formal grievance meeting. This could be a colleague or union representative.
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    There is no specific right to for anyone at interview to have a witness, but employers may consider allowing this.

    Outcomes

    The outcome of a grievance can often be disciplinary proceedings, for example, if allegations of bullying have been upheld.
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    Employers shouldn’t jump to disciplining alleged perpetrators until the investigation is over.
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    Employees also have the right to appeal a grievance decision. This could be to someone more senior, but in any event, someone independent.
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    It?s common for employees to raise grievances part-way through a disciplinary process. This is often an attempt to stop or delay a disciplinary decision.
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    There is no hard and fast rule for concurrent disciplinary and grievance processes anymore. The ACAS Code allows for a suspension to the process when an employee raises a grievance.
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    It’s down to the employer to consider the most appropriate way of dealing with such matters.
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    Likewise, an unfounded grievance could become a disciplinary matter if the employee has been dishonest.
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    Since the introduction of protected conversations in 2013, grievances have become more common.
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    Employers should still consider continuing with a grievance investigation. Even if discussions are taking place in the background. Just in case a you can’t negotiate a settlement.
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    It will be very difficult to explain the delay in dealing with the grievance to a tribunal.

    Small businesses

    In smaller businesses, it can often be difficult to find someone to deal with investigations and meetings. Especially if an appeal is also submitted.
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    As with disciplinary procedures, it is open to a business to branch out. They can use resources within associated companies. They may eveb bring in external consultants to deal with grievances. This can support an employer in showing that a grievance was fair and appropriate.
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