Handling grievances

Grievance procedures and the employment contract


By law, you must inform each employee of:

  • the name of the person to whom they should apply to seek redress for a grievance
  • how they should make this application

This information can be included in the employee's written statement of employment or the written statement may refer the employee to a document where they may find it, eg in a staff handbook.

If you fail to provide this information to an employee, and they succeed in another industrial tribunal claim against you, eg unlawful discrimination, they could be awarded two or four weeks' pay for this lapse.

The contractual status of grievance procedures

Your grievance procedure may not form part of an employment contract. Therefore, an employee may not be able to claim breach of contract if you fail to follow it. If there is a dispute over this, it will be up to an industrial tribunal to decide on the outcome.

However, if you do choose to make your procedure contractual and you fail to follow it when dealing with a grievance, the employee could bring a breach of contract claim against you.

Read more on the employment contract.