In employment there may be times when your terms and conditions of employment are breached or when you are concerned by your Employer’s or your colleague’s actions or treatment of you. Grievances can arise from a variety of different circumstances inside and out of the workplace. In essence a grievance can be lodged in circumstances where an Employee is unhappy about some aspect of how they have been treated either by their Employer, manager or one of more of their colleagues. Examples of such issues include an instruction to change normal working hours, breach of an Employee’s contract, being referred to using an insulting nickname by a manager or being told to wear more attractive clothing or make-up. Lodgement of a formal grievance is the method by which the Employee communicates their concerns, with a view to resolution.
An Employee may feel that they are being singled out unfairly for public or private criticism over their work, time-keeping or their appearance. A classic example of this is during a Christmas party when a manager or a colleague makes an unwanted sexual advance to another colleague.
A well prepared and well organised Employer will adopt a very clear grievance policy and this will provide simple guidance on how a grievance can be raised, investigated and addressed effectively. Unfortunately on many occasions Employers in this jurisdiction have not adequately prepared themselves, having the appropriate policies and procedures in place or alternatively they have not kept them up to date.
A grievance procedure which is up to date and is drafted in a user friendly fashion can provide an opportunity to resolve matters effectively and efficiently so that a situation may be resolved and harmony restored. Used appropriately, a misunderstanding or even a more challenging situation can be defused and the situation resolved.