Grievance procedure

If you have a concern, problem or complaint relating to your employment, we encourage you to raise it promptly so that we can deal with it as quickly as possible in the most appropriate way. This procedure helps us to do that. It’s a non-contractual procedure, which we use as a guideline to help us deal with grievances consistently and fairly. However, we may follow a different procedure if appropriate in the circumstances.

Our grievance procedures are based on the Acas Code of Practice.

General points

This procedure applies to all employees, irrespective of their length of service, hours worked or seniority. Anyone wishing to use the procedure can do so freely and without prejudice to her or his position.

You should however be aware that malicious or reckless abuse of the grievance procedure to raise unfounded complaints or allegations will be viewed very seriously and may lead to disciplinary action (including summary dismissal) being taken against you.

We will deal with grievances promptly and will not unreasonably delay meetings, decisions or confirmation of our decisions.

We’ll always treat your grievances with complete confidentiality

Informal procedure

As a first step, contact our Employee Care Team. You can do this over the phone or by email, and they will do everything they can to find a solution for you. Most grievances can be sorted quite quickly this way.

Formal procedure

If your problem can’t be resolved informally, you should make your grievance formal. The formal procedure is divided into three stages.

Stage 1 – statement of grievance

Please explain your grievance in writing, giving as much detail as possible. Do this as promptly as possible, to allow us to deal with your grievance without delay. Then, either email or post it to us. If you’re unsure who to address this to, check your statement of particulars.

Stage 2 – grievance hearing

We will invite you to at least one meeting or conference call at which the alleged grievance can be discussed.

If your grievance relates to a duty we owe to you as your employer, you have the right to bring a companion to this meeting. This person can be either a work colleague or trade union representative or a certified official who is employed by a trade union – please give us advance notice if you intend to bring a companion.

You should take all reasonable steps to attend. If the time and date proposed is unsuitable for you or your companion, please propose an alternative time that is not more than five working days after the date originally suggested.

At the meeting, you will have the opportunity to explain your grievance and how you think it should be resolved. If you have brought a companion, they will also be allowed to address the hearing to explain your case and respond to any views expressed at the meeting. You may confer with them during the hearing. Your companion cannot answer questions on your behalf.

We may decide to adjourn the meeting to allow for an investigation to take place.

Following the meeting, we will decide what action, if any, to take. We will communicate this outcome to you in writing within seven working days of the meeting taking place and will offer you the right of appeal if you are not content with the decision.

Stage 3 – appeal

If we have not resolved the grievance to your satisfaction, you have the right of appeal. Should you wish to appeal, you must write to us to explain your grounds for doing so. You must do this within seven days of receiving written notice of the initial decision.

Where possible, your appeal hearing will be heard by a member of senior staff who was not involved in the original decision. It will take place within 10 working days of receipt of the written notice of appeal or as soon as practicable thereafter. We will notify you of the time and place in advance and you must take all reasonable steps to attend the meeting.

You have the right to be accompanied by a work colleague or trade union representative or a certified official who is employed by a trade union at this meeting – please give us advance notice if you intend to bring a companion.

At the hearing, you will be given an opportunity to state your case.

The appeal officer will have the authority to overturn the decision that was previously made. A written decision stating the outcome of the appeal will normally be sent to you within ten working days of the hearing. This decision will be final and binding.

Raising a grievance during a disciplinary process

If you raise a grievance during a disciplinary process, we may temporarily suspend the disciplinary process while we deal with the grievance. If the grievance and disciplinary cases are related, we may find it appropriate to deal with them concurrently.