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The employer must by law have a grievance procedure in place and ensure that their employees have either been issued with a copy of this procedure or has access to a copy.
Whilst there are no statutory grievance procedures in place, there is a Code of Practice in place which employers are expected to follow in such cases were grievances are lodged by employees. Whilst the code is not a legally binding document, the tribunals do take this code into account when assessing cases and will take a very dim view if the employer has failed to follow particular steps set out in the code. Tribunals also have the right to impose an uplift of between 10 and 50% of any compensation award where they feel that the employer has failed to comply with these procedures.
Grievances can be addressed through the ‘informal’ or the ‘formal’ procedure, informal procedures can be a quick and effective way of resolving minor issues.
In the case of formal procedures the complaints must be thoroughly investigated giving both the person who lodged the complaint and the employee the complaint is against, the opportunity to put forward their version of events. Any witnesses will also need to be interviewed and any other evidence collated.
Following completion of the investigation, the panel write out to the employee informing them of the outcome, giving the employee the right to appeal the decision.
The grievance panel may also recommend that a disciplinary process is initiated against one or both employees dependant on the facts gathered during the investigation stage of the formal process.
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