What is a Grievance?

Any concerns, complaints or problems at work that you might want to raise with your employer is known as a grievance. The process is not legally binding, therefore, raising a grievance does not require that you or your employer have to abide by the rules.

Here are some examples of situations you can raise a grievance for:

  • Things you are forced to do as a part of your job
  • Not being considered for a promotion, when you feel you should have been
  • The way you are being treated at work
  • Any sort of discrimination at work, in terms of your religion, race, sexuality or gender.

In many cases it is possible to resolve your concerns through an informal conversation with your employer. However, in some cases this is not possible and you will need to write a formal grievance letter.

This is an important stage because a failure to do this first, before you make a complaint to an employment tribunal, may lead to a reduction in your compensation

Some basic rules when writing a grievance letter

  • Make sure to keep the letter to the point. It is important to provide enough details for your employer to investigate the issue, but providing too much detail or going away from the point will not help your case.
  • It is extremely vital that you stick to the facts. Refrain from stating allegations that you cannot prove.
  • Do not use abusive or offensive language. Annoying or disrespecting the person reading your letter will only lead to spoiling your case.
  • Do not use emotive language but explain how you felt about the situation.

What should you include in your grievance letter?

  • Your name, contact details and address
  • Your employer’s full name and address

It is important to address the letter to the right person. Ideally, the grievance procedure of your employer should mention the name of the person who deals with grievances. If not, you should send it to your immediate manager. If the complaint is about your manager, send it to their manager.

Important details to be mentioned:

  • The exact date and time of the incidents
  • Place where the incident took place
  • The names of all the people involved
  • Any witnesses, if available.
  • If you are complaining that you have not been paid well, mention how much you think you should be paid.
  • If you are complaining about a series of events, write them down in the order of their occurrences.
  • In case you do not remember the exact dates, mention an event that occurred around it. For example, a few days after the Halloween party.
  • In case the organisation you are working for is large, mention the name and designation of the people involved along with their departments.
  • If you have any evidence to support your complaint, make sure you include them in your letter, or mention that you have it and can provide when required.
  • If you can, offer a solution to the complaint for your employer to consider. It is important that whilst offering a solution, that you keep your expectations reasonable and not be biased. Do not forget that you are trying to resolve an issue.
  • If you have already tried to resolve the issue with your superior informally, mention the same in your letter.
  • Sign the letter and include the current date.

Hopefully these steps will help you write an effective grievance letter, that not only resolves your ongoing work issues but also helps you maintain good working relations with your superiors and co-workers.