Guide

Handling an employee's grievance

Last updated: 7 March 2017

Grievance procedure

By law employers must set out a grievance procedure and share it in writing with all employees, eg in their statement of employment or staff handbook. It must include:

  • who the employee should contact about a grievance
  • how to contact this person

It should also:

  • say that if the problem can't be resolved informally, there will be a meeting with the employee, called a grievance hearing
  • set out time limits for each stage of the process
  • identify who to contact if the normal contact person is involved in the grievance
  • explain how to appeal a grievance decision
  • state that employees can be accompanied in any meetings by a colleague or union representative
  • outline what happens if a grievance is raised during disciplinary action

You don't have to include information about the grievance procedure in employment contracts. However, if you do, you must follow the procedure, or the employee could bring a breach of contract claim against you.

Acas Code of Practice

The Acas Code of Practice isn't legally binding. However, an employment tribunal can reduce or increase any money awarded in a case by up to 25% if the code hasn't been followed.

Download 'Code of Practice: Disciplinary and grievance procedures - guidance from Acas' (PDF, 1.7MB)

Handling an employee's grievance
Grievance procedure