Grievance Procedure – Key points for Employers

Most employee grievances can be resolved quickly and informally through discussions between the employee and a manager. Where that doesn’t work, the employee may raise a formal grievance and employers should have a written grievance procedure in place that explains what happens and which staff know about.  An employer’s grievance procedure should always comply with the ACAS code of practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures. The grievance process applies to all employees regardless of length of service. It may also be applied to others e.g. grievances raised by workers, such as agency staff, particularly where those grievances relate to allegations of discrimination or malpractice.

How does an employee raise a formal grievance?

An employee should set out their grievance in writing and submit it to their line manager or an equivalent or more senior manager, if their grievance involved their line manager.  The employee’s written grievance should set out the nature of their complaint and include any relevant facts, dates, and names of individuals involved so that their employer is able to investigate it.

How should an employer respond?

The employer should arrange a grievance meeting, soon after receiving the employee’s written grievance and inform the employee of their right to be accompanied at the grievance meeting by a companion.  The companion may be either a trade union representative or a work colleague.  The work colleague will be allowed reasonable paid time off from their job to act as a companion. If either the employee or companion are unable to attend the meeting at the time specified, the employer must try, within reason, to agree an alternative time.

The employer may adjourn a grievance meeting if they need to carry out further investigations, after which the grievance meeting will usually be reconvened.

Following the grievance meeting, the employer should write to the employee to confirm whether or not the employee’s grievance is upheld.  It may also be appropriate to notify the employee of any further action that it intends to take to resolve the grievance. It may be necessary to remind the employee and others who have been involved in the procedure regarding confidentiality.

The employer must advise the employee of their right of appeal. If the employee wishes to appeal they should do so in writing setting out their grounds of appeal soon after the date on which the decision was sent or given to them.

How should an employer manage a grievance appeal?

An employer should hold an appeal meeting, soon after receiving the appeal. So far as possible, this should be dealt with impartially by a more senior manager than the person who decided the grievance who has not previously been involved in the matter. Again, the employee will have a right to bring a companion, as explained above.

After the appeal meeting, the employer will need to confirm its final decision in writing, soon after the appeal hearing. Normally there will be no further right of appeal.

Contact Us

If you need any further help, guidance or template letters in connection with a grievance procedure, please contact Heather Love.


Heather Love

Heather Love

Senior Associate Solicitor

Tel: +44 (0) 1306 502967

Office: Dorking

Email: h.love@downslaw.co.uk