Where an employee wants to raise an issue about their work that can be done informally or by raising a formal written grievance with their employer.


The grievance process is important as a way of resolving problems in the workplace and if a grievance procedure is not followed an Employment Tribunal may reduce the compensation that is awarded for a claim by up to 25%.


Employers will often have their own grievance procedure which they must follow in dealing with a grievance. This procedure must meet the minumum standard set out in the ACAS Code of Practice for dealing with grievances (see below).


Where an employer does not have a defined procedure they should adopt a process that meets the ACAS Code of Practice.


Where an employer does not follow the ACAS Code of Practice then a tribunal may increase the compensation awarded by up to 25%.


Writing a good grievance

Grievance procedures

A grievance procedure should normally have a number of elements to make it a fair process.


Most procedures encourage informal resolution of workplace problems by discussion between the employee and their manager.


If the problem cannot be dealt with informally then the following steps should be adopted:

  • The employee gives the employer a written statement of their grievance
  • The employer sets up a hearing so they can understand the nature of the employees grievance.
  • The employer may need to conduct an investigation on the matters the employee raises by talking to other employees or checking other evidence. The employer should do this within a reasonable time.
  • The employer needs to notify the employee of the outcome of the grievance and what action they intend to take
  • The employee needs to be given the right of appeal where they disagree with the decision that is reached.

These steps are the elements in the ACAS Code of Practice for dealing with grievances which an Employment Tribunal will expect a tribunal to follow (see below).


There is no penalty for an employer who does not follow a fair procedure unless it results in a claim the employee can take to a tribunal when any compensation awarded may be increased by 25%.


Conversely an employee is expected to follow the procedure and if they bring a complaint without following the procedure their compensation may be reduced by 25%.

The ACAS Code of Practice

ACAS Code of Practice on discipline and grievances
Adobe Acrobat Document 1.6 MB

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