Staff Grievance Policy

0.1. Grievances are concerns, problems or complaints that employees raise with their employers. Issues that may cause grievances include:

  • terms and conditions of employment
  • health and safety
  • work relations
  • bullying and harassment
  • new working practices
  • working environment
  • organisational change
  • discrimination

 

1.0 General

1.1 Introduction

This grievance procedure exists to ensure that any issues that an employee might wish to raise are dealt with as quickly and effectively as possible. It is the right of any employee to initiate the grievance procedure.

If an alleged breach of discipline by another employee is raised as a grievance and the allegation is upheld through the grievance procedure, it may be appropriate to refer the matter to the normal disciplinary procedure. The content of the disciplinary procedure will be subject to the normal constraints of confidentiality.

All meetings will be held in private and the need for confidentiality must be respected at all stages.

1.2 Companion

Staff involved in a grievance (either as the person making the grievance or any person implicated in the complaint) have the right to consult and be accompanied (or represented) by, a staff representative or their trade union official or, especially where there are conflicting interests, any other mutually acceptable companion.\

There is no duty on a fellow worker to accept a request to accompany a work colleague and no
pressure should be brought to bear on a person if they do not wish to act as a companion.
A worker who has been requested to accompany a colleague and has agreed to do so will be
permitted to take a reasonable amount of paid time off to fulfil this responsibility. Oblong will also
allow a reasonable amount of time off for the accompanying person to confer with the worker before
and after the hearing.
1.3 Time limits
Time limits may be extended where necessary. Where they are extended, clear reasons for the delay
(e.g. holiday, sickness, further investigation) must be recorded. The employee shall be informed in
writing of the reason for the delay and of the proposed new timescale or arrangements.
Delay may be justified in particular if:
a) any of the parties to a grievance hearing, including the nominated companion, are unable to
attend at the mutually agreed time. In this case the meeting may be postponed at least once to
another time to suit all parties. In the event of sickness of the person making the grievance or the
person designated to hear the grievance, the meeting may be postponed for up to 4 weeks.
b) the investigating officer decides that in order to action stages of the procedure more time is
necessary to conduct a proper investigation.
1.4 Investigation
All employees are required to contribute to any investigation where requested. In exceptional
circumstances, witness statements may be submitted in confidence with the identity of the person
protected from the person making the grievance and other members of staff; however, staff should
be aware that if the matter is progressed to a disciplinary action, then the full content of all witness
statements may be disclosed in order to allow the person under investigation to defend themselves.
Normally the Investigating Officer will be an appointed board member or other person appointed to
hear the grievance. Alternatively, where appropriate and with the agreement of the board of Trustees,
an Investigating Officer may be appointed who is an external party brought in for the purposes of
conducting the investigation.
1.5 Suspension
In extreme cases where there are reasonable grounds for believing that the continued presence at
the place of work of an employee connected with the grievance will be detrimental to the progress of
the grievance procedure, the progress of any investigation and/or the continued working of the
organisation, that employee may be suspended on full pay while the case is investigated.
No member of staff or member of the Trustee board may take part in this procedure if they are
involved in the grievance.

 

2. Procedure

2.1 Informal stage
The employee should first attempt to resolve any grievance through discussion with the other staff
members directly. They can also relate through the monthly peer management sessions any issues
concerned. Staff members can raise any issues they feel they can't address with colleagues directly
with their supervisor. If this does not resolve the matter, the formal grievance procedure should be
followed.
2.2 Stage 1 (written grievance)
The employee bringing the grievance should put it in writing, stating explicitly that s/he is making a
formal grievance. The grievance statement will give the details of the problem, those involved, the
names of any witnesses and any appropriate additional information, e.g. suggestions of how the
matter could be resolved. The statement must be signed and dated and sent to the Chair given
normal circumstances, within 2 weeks of the incident causing the grievance occurring.
The grievance will be investigated by the appointed investigating officer (board member not the
Chair) who will call a grievance meeting within 2 weeks of receipt of the grievance where possible.
The employee bringing the grievance will be informed s/he has the right to consult with prior to and
be represented at this meeting by the staff representative, a trade union representative or a
mutually agreed companion. The employee should inform the panel in advance whom they have
chosen. Date, time and venue of the meeting will be arranged by mutual agreement, including that
of the employee’s companion where this is requested. The investigating officer should ensure that
there is a third party present to take confidential notes of the proceedings. These will be distributed
to all attendees after the meeting.
The person hearing the grievance must establish the nature and extent of the grievance and attempt
to find a mutually acceptable resolution to the issue.
After the meeting, the investigating officer will respond in writing to the grievance under normal
circumstances, within 2 weeks of the meeting stating proposed action and informing the employee of
their right of appeal at Stage 2.
In the event of any of the participants in the grievance hearing being unable to attend at the
mutually agreed time, the meeting may be postponed once to another time to suit all parties. In the
event of sickness of the person making the grievance or the person designated to hear the grievance,
the meeting may be postponed for up to 4 weeks.
2.3 Stage 2 (Appeal)
If the employee is dissatisfied with a response or decision at Stage 1, they may appeal in writing,
giving the grounds for the appeal, to the Chair of the Board of Trustees within 2 weeks of receiving
the response.
The Chair of the Board of Trustees will agree an Appeal Panel of 2 Trustees which shall include the
Chair. This panel shall hear the appeal within 2 weeks of receiving it.
The employee bringing the grievance will be informed s/he has the right to consult with prior to and
be represented at this appeal by the staff representative, a trade union representative or a mutually
agreed companion. The employee should inform the panel in advance whom they have chosen. The
Appeal panel should ensure that there is a third party present to take confidential notes of the
proceedings. The date, time and venue of the meeting will be arranged by mutual agreement.
In the event of any of the participants in the grievance hearing being unable to attend at the
mutually agreed time, the meeting may be postponed once to another time to suit all parties. In the
event of sickness of the person making the appeal, the meeting may be postponed for up to 4 weeks.
The appeal panel will appoint a minute taker to take an appropriate record of the appeal. A copy will
be distributed to all attendees.
Following the appeal meeting, a decision in writing will be given within 2 weeks stating the decision
of the appeal panel and the action, if any, it intends to take
The decision of the Appeal Panel of the Board of Trustees is final and no further appeal will be
accepted.

 

3. Overlapping grievance and disciplinary cases

Where an employee raises a grievance during a disciplinary process the disciplinary process may be
temporarily suspended in order to deal with the grievance. Where the grievance and disciplinary
cases are related it may be appropriate to deal with both issues concurrently.
A disciplinary procedure may not itself be the subject of a grievance until the disciplinary procedure
is completed, unless there is an accusation of unlawful harassment or of unlawful discrimination.
Date Agreed by [Board of Trustees] 15/04/14
Review date Q1 2015/16

 

4. Relevant Legislation

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5. Related Policies

  • Written Statement of Employment Particulars
  • Disciplinary Policy
  • Relevant legislation
  • Employment Rights Act 1996
  • Equality Act 2010
  • The Employment Relations Act 1999
  • The Employment Act 2002 (Dispute Resolution) Regulations 2004
  • The ACAS Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures

Ratified 15/04/2014 by Trustees

This policy was based on the Pay and Employment Rights Service (PERS) Grievance Policy, model policy, dated December 13.