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What Is a Grievance (and How Do You Address One)?

What Is a Grievance (and How Do You Address One)?

March 17, 2023

Grievances can be tricky to manage and address in the workplace. If not handled correctly, they can lead to employee frustration and even costly legal action. Therefore, it’s essential for employers and HR professionals alike to understand what a grievance is, what types of grievances might arise in their business environment and how best to address them once they’ve been raised.

In this blog post, we’ll take you through everything you need to know about tackling workplace grievances so that your team is best equipped for any issues that may pop up with employees.

What Is a Grievance (and How Do You Address One)? CMD Recruitment

What is a grievance?

A grievance is a complaint or concern raised by an employee about any aspect of their job. It could relate to anything from workload, pay, fairness of management decisions, or even working conditions. It’s an escalated form of complaint that needs to be addressed in line with company policy.

When a grievance is presented, it usually implies that the standard policies and procedures set in place have not been respected or followed. Addressing grievances quickly is important because employees can be left feeling disgruntled and unmotivated if their concerns are not heard. 

If the grievance isn’t handled correctly, you also leave yourself exposed to legal ramifications. If unresolved complaints are brought to court, it can result in further financial loss for the organisation due to legal costs and compensation payments. 

What Is a Grievance (and How Do You Address One)? CMD Recruitment

What should you do if you need to raise a grievance?

Being prepared is the key to succeeding in a grievance. If you have a grievance that needs to be addressed, you need to follow the correct channels. Familiarising yourself with the details of the grievance and having any necessary documents or evidence ready will ensure that your side of the story is heard and all bases have been covered before going through the grievance process. 

When gathering documents, be sure that they are relevant and valid to use as evidence as this can heavily influence who wins the case. If you are submitting a written document, such as an appeal letter, make sure it is grammatically correct and has thoughtfully laid out arguments with supportive facts included.

At this stage, you are seeking a fair resolution to your grievance, but if the situation escalates, you may be looking at legal action and a claim for compensation, so it’s important to get everything in order.

What Is a Grievance (and How Do You Address One)? CMD Recruitment

What are your rights as an employee?

As an employee, it is important to know your rights in the workplace. The law requires employers to provide workers with employment contracts outlining their pay, benefits, and other details of their job. 

Additionally, employers must ensure that jobs are safe and provide a space that is free from discrimination or harassment. Workers should also be aware of the legal provisions regarding overtime pay, minimum wage, and taking time off for illness or maternity leave. 

Understanding what the law requires of employers will help ensure that you receive your required entitlements while on the job. Protecting your rights allows you to work without fear or intimidation. Make sure you familiarise yourself with all applicable laws so you can guarantee a pleasant and secure work life.

What Is a Grievance (and How Do You Address One)? CMD Recruitment

How to file a grievance at work

Filing a formal grievance can seem like an overwhelming task. To ensure you are taking the right steps to file your grievance correctly, it’s important to understand the process from start to finish. 

First, it’s essential to determine whether or not you are in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations related to grievances. Once you have ensured this is true, document all material details regarding your grievance including date of occurrence and any other relevant information. 

After compiling information about the situation, obtain a complaint form for filing a formal grievance and complete it accurately in its entirety. Omissions that make you look bad could come back to hurt you later down the line.

Review the form a second time before submitting it and then make several copies of the completed form so that you have them on hand at all times. Finally, submit your complaint in its entirety according to the instructions outlined on the form in order to officially file your grievance.

What Is a Grievance (and How Do You Address One)? CMD Recruitment

How are grievances typically resolved? 

Handling employee grievances without going through a formal process can be beneficial for both the employer and employee. There are several different ways to approach resolving grievances informally, such as engaging in an open discussion so that both parties can learn to understand each other’s perspectives. 

This strategy allows employees to feel heard and gives employers the opportunity to provide employees with solutions that don’t require too much time or effort. Additionally, if the issue is something minor, it may be best to overlook it altogether. You could also bring in a third party to provide dispute resolution. 

What Is a Grievance (and How Do You Address One)? CMD Recruitment

How to communicate with your employer during a grievance 

When it comes to addressing a grievance with your employer, the most important thing is to ensure that you communicate effectively. Before speaking with your employer, you should be well-informed on the issue at hand and have a plan for how best to present your case. 

It’s helpful to practise what you will say beforehand so that you can feel more confident going into the conversation. Empathy and respect should also be present – try to see things from their perspective as well as yours, and avoid being accusatory or hostile.

Above all, stay calm and try not to let emotions get in the way; it’s useful to try and separate concrete facts from opinions or assumptions when articulating your thoughts. Following these tips will help ensure that the discussion is productive while leaving both parties feeling heard and respected.

Closing thoughts

Overall, knowing the steps to take and having an understanding of your rights as an employee when facing a grievance are essential parts of any successful resolution. Learning how to file a formal grievance can help you get the attention of a superior and make sure that your rights are being respected. 

And remember: if filing a formal complaint isn’t right for you in this particular situation, there are other ways to seek resolution such as speaking with Human Resources or working directly with your supervisor to reach a satisfactory outcome. 

Whatever path you choose to take, it is important to communicate with tact and professionalism no matter which route the grievance takes. By following these tips and steps, hopefully you can minimise stress related to workplace grievances and arrive at positive solutions.

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