Every employer is legally obligated to tell employees how they will handle grievances, and sharing a written policy is the best way to do it.
Simply Business has partnered with Farillio to produce a downloadable and customizable grievance policy template. We’ve also created a quick start guide to employee grievance policies and procedures for employers, which you can read below.
Grievance Policy Template – Free Word Download
Choose to upload your template now or get it straight from Farillio’s site where you’ll also have access to their full suite of customizable legal templates.
This template was produced by Farillio, so we cannot be held responsible for its content. We recommend that you consult a professional before making any important decisions based on its content.
What is a grievance policy?
Companies are legally required to inform employees of how they will handle a grievance.
The best way to do this is to have a formal written document that describes how employee grievances will be handled by company management.
There are several areas in which grievances can arise. These include:
health and safety, including stress
new work practices or broader changes in the workplace
relationships between individuals in the company
Ideally, employers should plan ahead to minimize the risk of these issues arising, especially during times of change in an organization.
For example, if the company is restructuring, organizing a forum for employees to ask questions and reassure themselves could reduce the number of long-term grievances.
In most cases, there should be an attempt to resolve issues informally before a formal complaint is filed.
At this point, you can request mediation from an impartial and independent person. Their job is to work with both parties to find a solution to the problem.
Both parties will need to agree to mediation and you may need to pay for it if the mediator is from outside your company.
Why use a Farillio model?
Every small business is different and has different legal requirements, but most small businesses can’t afford an army of lawyers. Farillio develops customizable and downloadable legal documents for small businesses.
By partnering with Simply Business, you can download many key legal documents that you may need during the life of your business.
Here are some other templates to help you run your business smoothly:
What is included in the model grievance policy?
Our downloadable template for workplace grievances includes key clauses:
the name of the person to whom the employee must report a grievance and their contact information
details of an additional person to whom the employee should report a grievance, if the first person is involved in the grievance
an explanation that the issues will go to a grievance hearing if they cannot be resolved informally
an explanation of how a decision can be appealed if the employee is not satisfied
an explanation that employees have the legal right to be accompanied to meetings, either by a colleague or, if they have one, a union representative
firm deadlines for each step of the grievance process
In the worst case, an employee may choose to file a complaint in an employment tribunal.
The model makes it clear to the employee that if they go directly to court without first going through the grievance process, any compensation awarded could be reduced by 25 percent.
You can see an example of basic disciplinary procedure and the Acas Grievance Policy Guidelines on its website.
How does a business prepare for a grievance hearing?
First, attempts should be made to deal with grievances informally. For example, having a two-way conversation with the goal of finding a solution to the problem.
If this is not possible, then the employee may want to raise a grievance and you should schedule a formal grievance hearing.
In serious cases, for issues such as sexual harassment or discrimination, the grievance may have to go directly to a hearing. If it is a crime, the police may need to be involved.
Before the hearing, you must give the employee reasonable notice so that they can prepare their case. Typically, reasonable notice would be around five working days, but it is recommended that you notify the employee as soon as possible.
You must conduct a thorough investigation and you can choose to call witnesses or take written statements.
Another impartial official should attend the hearing to make sure it goes smoothly, and there should be someone on hand to take notes.
Again, remember that you must explain to the employee that he has the right to be accompanied either by a colleague or by a union representative.
The importance of keeping records
As soon as an employee raises a grievance, it is important that you keep detailed written records.
Your records should keep track of:
who is involved in the grievance
What is it about
any mediation or informal attempt to resolve the issue
details of any grievance hearing
the reasons for any decision and final action
if the employee decides to appeal the decision
Make sure your written records keep all personal information confidential and comply with data protection regulations.
What happens after the hearing?
After hearing the grievance, you must give the employee a copy of the meeting notes. You may want to remove some details if you need to protect the anonymity of a cookie.
You should then inform the employee of the decision and explain to them how you arrived at it.
How to handle a call
As explained in your company’s disciplinary and grievance policy, employees have the right to appeal if they are not satisfied with the outcome of the process.
Appeal hearings follow a format similar to the original hearing. But you should also make sure you consider the factors that led you to make the initial decision, as well as any new evidence or information that has since come to light.
As a general rule, appeal hearings should be held by a different manager than the one who heard the first hearing.
Once you have made a decision on appeal, it should be shared with the employee in writing, and it should be explained that it is final.
Ensure the well-being of your staff
The grievance process can be stressful and time consuming for employees.
Therefore, you need to make sure you support them and ensure their well-being.
Supporting employees throughout the process can help them take care of their mental health and maintain staff morale, while reducing absences and productivity issues.
Read our guides on how to support mental health as an employer and how to improve mental well-being to learn more.