Managing an employee grievance can be an incredibly time-consuming task. While some complaints may be addressed informally, others may call for a formal procedure. In some cases, grievances may escalate into a disciplinary process or uncover another issue.
No matter the nature of the grievance or degree of support required, we offer a full range of Employment Law and HR solutions to help you tackle these difficult situations confidently.
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How we help
Make light work of employee issues
Respond to employee grievances the right way and prevent unnecessary strain on management time with our pragmatic Employment Law and HR support.
From setting up a grievance procedure to holding a hearing and managing appeals, we’re here to walk you through the process so that you can resolve issues quickly, compliantly and with minimum disruption to your business.
- Ensure best practice with advice from a dedicated team of Employment Law experts
- Set out your approach to employee complaints with a robust grievance policy
- Save time with bespoke document drafting and expert-created templates
- Not confident or time-poor? Let us conduct the investigation, hearing and appeal for you
- Protect against claims with our optional, FCA-regulated Legal Expenses Insurance
Reduced management burden, quicker resolutions
Grievances can greatly disrupt your business – impeding productivity, taking time away from important projects and generally destabilising your workforce. It’s therefore essential to tackle these issues head-on, but mismanagement can be costly.
With step-by-step support from legally-qualified experts, you can quickly identify the best course of action, avoid legal pitfalls and secure the best possible outcome for your organisation, safe in the knowledge that you have conducted a fair procedure.
Whether you need help developing policies and procedures, support drafting meeting invites and outcome letters, on-site assistance with investigations and hearings or just an expert second opinion, our qualified team can help you get to grips with all kinds of grievance so that you can maintain engaged, high-performing teams.
"Your support is absolutely invaluable to us and gives us the confidence we need in resolving any staffing issues. Your response is consistently appropriate, helpful and superfast!"
Common grievance queries and questions about our service, answered by our Employment Law and HR specialists.
Can an employee withdraw a grievance at work?
Yes, a grievance can be withdrawn by the complainant at any time.
How can I resolve workplace grievances?
It’s important to have a grievance procedure, set out in your Employee Handbook, that explains how any workplace complaint should be resolved, whether that be on a formal or an informal basis. A formal procedure will usually involve meeting with the complainant to discuss their grievance in detail, investigating the complaint before giving an outcome. It is also best practice to offer the right of appeal.
Can I ignore a grievance?
This would not be a good idea. If someone has complained about their treatment at the hands of a colleague or manager, ignoring the problem will not make it go away. In fact, it will probably make things worse. If the complaint is not dealt with properly, it could lead to a resignation and then a constructive dismissal claim or, depending on the subject matter, a claim for discrimination.
What is the Acas code of practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures?
Acas have set out procedures which should be adopted by all employers when dealing with a disciplinary or grievance issue. It involves investigating any issue, holding a meeting with those involved, providing an outcome and offering the chance to appeal. If an employer fails to comply with the Acas Code of Practice, it can lead to employees receiving uplifts in compensation of up to 25% following a successful claim.
What is the grievance process at work?
Most companies will have a grievance procedure set out in their Employee Handbook. If not, they should follow the Acas Code of Practice.
What should I do if an employee raises a grievance against me?
Refer to your Employee Handbook to determine the process you should use. If there is no handbook or procedure, then you should refer to the Acas Code of Practice. If the grievance is against you personally, you should refer it to a colleague to independently investigate.
How long should a grievance investigation take?
That will depend on the subject matter of the grievance or how many allegations are made. There is no legal time limit on how long the investigation should take and the Acas Code of Practice says that an investigation should be completed within a reasonable time frame.
Can you provide grievance training?
Yes. Our Grievance & Disciplinary training course has been designed by HR specialists to give managers and supervisors the skills and confidence needed to manage these essential processes. It can be delivered exclusively to you on site or at a location of your choice.
Explore other HR support and advice
From persistent lateness and social media misuse to complex fraud and allegations of sexual harassment, our HR and Employment Law specialists can provide much-needed support and expertise through difficult disciplinary matters.
Can employees resign during a disciplinary?
Yes. Employees resigning during the disciplinary process is a fairly common tactic adopted by someone facing serious allegations. Resignation is a unilateral act, and employers cannot choose to accept or reject the resignation. If someone resigns with immediate effect, their employment ends straightaway. If they resign with notice, then it may be that you can conclude the disciplinary process before the notice period ends
Can you offer on-site support with investigations and hearings?
Yes. If you’re not confident tackling the situation alone, we can provide on-site HR Consultancy support with disciplinary investigations, hearings and appeals. We can conduct the meetings for you or, if you prefer, attend them with you to offer professional, experienced support. We can also provide similar assistance with employee grievances.
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Why choose us?
At Ellis Whittam, we’re known for our bespoke service and the quality of our support. Not only is our expertise unmatched, but we take the time to know you so that we can function as a true extension of your team.
- Your own small team of dedicated experts
- Commercial, pragmatic advice tailored to you
- Bespoke contracts, policies and handbooks
- Trusted by over 35,000 organisations
- Recognised as a leading firm by the Legal 500
Who you'll be working with
Principal Employment Law Adviser
HR Consultancy Manager
“I’ve taken Ellis Whittam into every organisation that I’ve worked with. I’ve introduced them to many teams and many colleagues and referred them with absolute pleasure because I genuinely trust in the service that we get.”
Debbie Jamieson, People Director
“We get a great deal of comfort and satisfaction knowing that we have support as and when we need it, in a decisive and responsive way.”
Richard Berry, Group HR Director
Bluestone National Park Resort
“What we recognised in Ellis Whittam is the background that they have. They are able to supply knowledge and experience in a number of disciplines, which enables us to develop our business in a way that’s safe, to do it on time and with a quality to it.”
Debbie Rainbow, Director of Human Resources and Health & Safety
“As the company started to get larger, we knew we had to protect our employees and our contractors both onsite and in the offices. Ellis Whittam is exactly what we needed to move the company forward.”
Joanne Beaver, Operations Director
“We have found Ellis Whittam to be responsive and aligned with our business in terms of our processes and expectations. Their pragmatic approach has proven to be a great fit – nobody wants to be fighting their adviser on basic employment decisions.”
Jonathan Green, COO
“Ellis Whittam supports our 280 staff members with Employment Law and Health & Safety and has provided quality management training too.”
Lisa Best, Head of Service Delivery
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