How to address a grievance

A grievance is any feeling of dissatisfaction or perceived unfair treatment, which employees experience in relation to their work and employment situation and which constitutes a grievance of right.

To address this, the employee may approach his line manager to have his grievance resolved fairly, quickly and at the earliest possible stage.

The grievance should be handled with discretion to protect the confidentiality and privacy of employees concerned in accordance with these general principles:

• Except in instances where the grievance is of a serious nature, or where the employee so requests, a formal grievance hearing need not be convened in each and every instance. Often an informal meeting between the employee and his manager is the most effective way of resolving minor complaints, and encourages direct communication between management and staff.

• Where the grievance is of a serious nature, or where the employee so requests the employee who has a grievance must set out his complaint in writing (so it’s clear what his grievance is) and what resolution he wants from lodging his grievance and lodge his grievance.

• Management then appoints a chairperson of the grievance hearing. He sets the time, date and venue of the grievance hearing.

• The grievant shall have the right to request an interpreter. It is the duty of the Company to provide an interpreter should the employee request one.

• The employee and his shop steward shall have the right to present his case and lead evidence, to call witnesses and to question witnesses, and/or to have copies of any documents produced as evidence at the hearing. In presenting his case, the grievant will be required to state the grounds and reasons of his grievance, and where appropriate lead evidence and argument. The chairperson of the grievance hearing may request additional evidence and/or witnesses to be led in the hearing to determine the merits of the grievance. The Chairperson will make a determination on the merits of the grievance and identify any appropriate remedial action.

• After hearing all available evidence, the Chairperson shall make a finding on the matter and make his decision known to all parties in writing.

• A record of the proceedings will be kept by a person appointed or nominated by the Chairperson of the grievance hearing.

• Should the grievance not be resolved to the satisfaction of the employee, he shall be entitled to proceed to the next stage of the grievance procedure by referring the grievance to the local Shop Stewards’ Committee, which shall in turn elect to invoke the Dispute Procedure outlined in the Recognition and Procedural Agreement.

This is a sample of a Grievance Policy and Procedure. Consult your attorney or labour specialist to design a document that better suits your company’s needs.

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