What can I ask for when I raise a grievance?

If you raise a formal grievance at work, you should always think about what you want the outcome to be. Here are some possible solutions to common grievances.

If you’re having a problem at work, you may decide to file a workplace grievance by writing a  letter to your employer. After this, you will be invited to a formal grievance meeting. 

Your view matters 

At the grievance meeting, you must be given the opportunity to explain what you want your  employer to do. Your employer’s decision should take your view into consideration, so it’s  important to think about what you want. 

Formal meetings can be unnerving; it’s a good idea to take notes with you. You can also ask to bring someone with you for support, though your employer doesn’t always have to agree to this.

What should I suggest? 

If a friend or family member asked you what would fix the problem, what would you say? An honest, reasonable approach is the best idea. 

5 common workplace grievances and possible outcomes 

Let’s take a look at some common grievances and what might fix them. 

Unreasonable workload 

If you are worried you are being given too much work, you could suggest: 

  • additional staff - permanent or temporary 
  • extra resource
  • a weekly 10 minute workload meeting
  • dropping a project, temporarily or permanently 
  • an increase in benefits and/or a promotion to recognise the additional workload

Mistreatment by a co-worker

If someone you work with is treating you badly, you might suggest: 

  • disciplinary proceedings against the co-worker
  • moving you or the co-worker to a different department
  • mediation between you and the co-worker
  • publishing of an anti-bullying and harassment policy
  • a formal apology from the co-worker 

Read ACAS guidance on being treated unfairly at work 

Management decision to promote someone else over you 

If you have questions about why someone was promoted instead of you - for example you think it could be discrimination based on one of the legally protected characteristics - you might want: 

  • an explanation of the promotion choice 
  • a review of your title and job description 
  • extra training to allow for growth opportunities 
  • a promotion timeline with defined targets  

Underpayment compared to co-workers 

You might have realised that you are being paid less than other people doing the same job as you. In this case, it’s reasonable to ask for: 

  • an increase in salary
  • an increase in benefits
  • a transparent pay grade system 

If you’re being underpaid in comparison to a co-worker of the opposite sex who does equal  work, you may have an Equal Pay claim. 

Read ACAS guidance on Equal Pay

Unacceptable working conditions 

If there is something physically wrong with your working environment, the problem could perhaps be fixed with: 

  • upgraded equipment, lighting or temperature control 
  • additional cleaning and refuse facilities 
  • additional training 
  • home working 
  • updated health and safety procedures 

If so, don’t be afraid to ask for these things. 

The decision 

After the grievance meeting, your employer will send you a letter explaining their decision. They might:

  • uphold (agree with) the grievance in full
  • uphold parts of the grievance and reject others 
  • reject the grievance in full

If your employer upholds your grievance in full or in part, they must explain what they will do to resolve the problem. 

If you’re not happy with the decision, or your employer does not do what they promised to fix it, you have the right to appeal. Valla has a Grievance Appeal Letter template you can use.

If you intend to raise a Tribunal claim, you should appeal the grievance decision first, because a Tribunal might reduce your award by up to 25% for not following all parts of the  ACAS Code of Practice. However, there are strict deadlines for making claims to the Tribunal - don’t assume that going through the grievance procedure will extend these.  

Read the ACAS Code of Practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures

Next steps  

If you're thinking about filing a grievance, you can use Valla to collect your evidence, build a timeline of what happened and get your story straight. Sign up for your free account.

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