Every employer is legally obliged to tell employees how they’ll deal with grievances, and sharing a written policy is the best way to do this.
Simply Business has teamed up with Clarkslegal LLP to produce a downloadable, customisable grievance policy template. We’ve also created a quick-start guide to the grievance procedure for employers, which you can read below.
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Grievance policy template - free download
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Why use a Clarkslegal template?
Every small business is different, and has different legal requirements – but most small firms can’t afford an army of lawyers. Clarkslegal develop customisable, downloadable legal documents for small businesses. In partnership with Simply Business, you can download many of the key legal documents you might need during the life of your firm.
What is a grievance policy?
Businesses are legally obliged to tell employees about how they will deal with a grievance. So, a formal, written document that sets out how employee grievances will be dealt with by a company’s management is the best way to do this.
There are several areas in which grievances may arise. These include:
- Health and safety, including stress
- New working practices or broader changes in the workplace
- Relations between individuals in the business
Ideally, employers should plan ahead to minimise the risk of these issues occurring, especially during periods of change in an organisation. In most cases, there should be an attempt to resolve issues informally before a formal complaint is made.
What’s included in the grievance policy template?
Our downloadable grievance policy template includes the key clauses:
- The name of the person who the employee should report a grievance to, and their contact details
- Details of an additional person who the employee should report a grievance to, in the event that the first person is involved in the grievance
- An explanation that problems will be taken to a grievance hearing in the event that they can’t be resolved informally
- An explanation of how a decision can be appealed in the event that the employee is unsatisfied
- An explanation that employees have the legal right to be accompanied into meetings, either by a colleague or, if they have one, a union representative
- Firm time limits for each stage of the grievance procedure
In the worst case scenario, an employee may choose to pursue a grievance through an employment tribunal. Our template makes clear to the employee that if they go straight to tribunal without following the grievance procedure first, any compensation awarded could be reduced by 25 per cent.
How does a business prepare for a grievance hearing?
In the first instance, attempts should be made to deal with grievances in an informal manner. If this isn’t possible, then you should arrange a grievance hearing.
Before the hearing is held, the employer should give the relevant employee reasonable notice so they can prepare their case. You should conduct a full investigation, and you might choose to either call witnesses or take written statements.
An additional manager should attend the hearing to impartially ensure that it’s carried out properly, and there should be somebody there taking notes. Again, remember you need to explain to the employee that they have the right to be accompanied either by a colleague or by a union representative.
What happens after the hearing?
After the grievance hearing, the employee should be given a copy of the notes from the meeting. You may wish to redact certain details if you need to protect the anonymity of a witness.
You should then notify the employee of the decision, and explain how you’ve come to it.
As explained in the grievance policy, employees have a right to appeal if they’re dissatisfied with the outcome of the procedure. Appeal hearings follow a similar format to the original hearing, but you should also make sure you explore the factors that caused you to come to the original decision, along with any new evidence or information that’s come to light since. Generally, appeal hearings should be officiated by a different manager than the one who heard the first hearing.
Once you’ve made a decision at appeal, this should be shared with the employee in writing, and it should be explained that this is final.
Click to download a PDF of the grievance policy template.
If you would like to make changes and don’t have Adobe Acrobat, you can also download our grievance policy template in Word format.
The attached document has been produced by Clarkslegal so we can’t take responsibility for its contents. We’d recommend you take professional advice before making any important decisions based on its contents.