The 3 Things Not to Do When an Employee Raises A Grievance

Posted on 15 July 2019 by You HR

1. Don’t assume or draw conclusions

It’s important to remember that there are two sides to every story and it is vital you don’t make assumptions or draw conclusions without hearing both sides. Facts are key in resolving workplace disputes, without trying to establish all the facts first you are putting yourself at risk of allegations of unfairness. It is rare these situations are clear-cut; the key is to act reasonably and investigate what you can.

2. Don’t avoid the proper procedures

When an employee raises a formal grievance, a structured procedure must be followed. If you have a process set out in your Employee Handbook you should refer to this. Employment Tribunals will take into account when considering relevant cases if you, as the employer, have followed ACAS Code of Practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures. Therefore, it is key that your approach is well planned and thought out. The situation should be dealt with promptly to avoid a claim.  It is important to note that not all grievances are dealt with formally. You should respond to the employee providing them with all available options to address their concerns such as the informal facilitated discussions, mediation routes or the formal grievance route.

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3. Don’t forget to explicitly say this matter is to be kept confidential

In these situations, emotions are heightened and whilst you may feel it’s obvious that discussions on such topics should be kept confidential, employees may want to discuss further with their colleagues and seek their advice. So it is always safer to be explicitly clear in any letters or conversations that happen and make it clear to any individuals involved who they can turn to for support and who their point of contact is. Address who is inappropriate to discuss the matter with as this will help to avoid additional conflict or angst for other employees.

TIP: Ensure that you have made such information clear to the employees involved at the start of the procedures or communications about the matter via a written communication.

We hope that these tips have given you some guidance on how to deal with an employee with a grievance but if you would like further assistance please email us at

If you enjoyed this article you may enjoy our article 'How not to engage a top performing team' where we turn this hot topic on its head and look at what you shouldn't be doing!

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