A grievance is a concern, a complaint or a problem.

You can submit a grievance about any aspect of your employment. Problems you might wish to raise could involve:

   Your terms of employment

   Your pay and working conditions

   Disagreements which may arise with colleagues

   Discrimination in any form

   Bullying and harassment

Your employer may have their own Grievance Procedure, this will normally be in your company handbook or in your contract. If your employer does not have their own process, then the Acas guidelines and code of practice should be followed.

The key steps for grievances are:

Let your employer know the nature of the grievance

If possible, try and speak to your employer informally in the first instance. This is often the best way and you may find this approach enables your employer to address the issue and there is no further need to pursue it formally. However, if you do not feel able to try this, or this approach is not successful then you should submit a formal written grievance, setting out the nature of your grievance.

Your employer should hold a meeting with you to discuss your grievance

Once your employer has received your written grievance they should arrange to hold a formal meeting with you. This should be arranged within a reasonable time period with everyone making every effort to attend. During the meeting you should be allowed to expand on your grievance and how you think it could be resolved. After the meeting your employer need to investigate further into your grievance before being able to formalize a response.

You should be allowed to be accompanied to the meeting

You have a statutory right to be accompanied at a grievance meeting by either a work colleague, or a Trade Union representative, if you are a member of a Trade Union.

Your employer should inform you in writing of their decision and what action they intend to take to resolve the grievance.

After the meeting and any investigation that may be required and after deliberation, your employer should write to you to inform you of their decision. Within the written communication should be details of any action your employer intends to take to resolve the grievance. It should also state your right of appeal against the decision, and how to do this.

If you feel your grievance has not been resolved to your satisfaction, you can appeal against the decision. Your appeal should be submitted in writing, stating the grounds for your appeal. Ideally, if the Practice is large enough, the appeal should be dealt with impartially by a manager who has not been previously involved in the issue and a meeting should be arranged within a reasonable timeframe.

As before, you have the right to be accompanied to the appeal meeting. After the appeal meeting, the employer should write to you to inform you of their decision. There is no further right of appeal.

This step by step process will in most cases resolve an issue. It is also a necessary process to follow if you feel things are getting so bad you want to resign and claim constructive dismissal. There is an onus on you in these circumstances to try and resolve things before you feel forced to resign and there is an expectation that you will have done this.


Nicky Ackerley BA(Hons)

Nicky is the owner of HR Support Consultancy. She has a BA(Hons) in Business Studies, is a member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and has been a practising HR manager for more than 20 years.

HR Support Consultancy has provided the BVNA Members Advisory Service (formerly known as the Industrial Relations Service) since it began in 2002.

VOL 33 • March 2018 • Veterinary Nursing Journal