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What are the most common mistakes employers make in a grievance process?

What are the most common mistakes employers make in a grievance process?

Not investigating the allegations properly

Often employers are found by Employment Tribunals to have not taken a balanced approach to the investigation and only investigated the facts in support of the allegations, not those which support the employee.

Not identifying the allegations to be investigated properly

Allegations in a grievance can be complex and can cover a long period of time. It is crucial that the investigator is clear about what allegations need to be investigated. Ideally the scope of the investigation should be agreed with the aggrieved at the outset.

Lack of communication

Raising a grievance is often a very stressful time for the individual making the complaint and the individuals being investigated. If the investigation is handled poorly, it can badly damage the employment relationship. Investigations do not always run to plan and there can be delays. It is very important to keep the line of communication open with all those involved and provide updates on the progress of the investigation particularly if there is a delay.

Inconsistent treatment of employees

Clearly, each case turns on its own facts, but employers need to be very wary of being capable of justifying any differences in treatment. If the decision is not capable of justification then it may give rise to a constructive unfair dismissal claim, and potentially some form of discrimination claim if the individual can show that the difference in treatment can be explained by their protected characteristic.