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Grievances. Complaints. Workplace disputes. Whatever you'd like to call them, every workplace experiences them at one point or another. What makes the key difference is how your business deals with them. Putting a grievance policy in place is the first step to implementing an effective grievances procedure.
Use this guide to learn how to create a grievance policy with the help of a legal template.
What is a Grievance Policy?
A grievance policy is essentially a document that outlines what happens when an employee raises a formal complaint in the workplace. Amongst other things, it identifies a clear step-by-step procedure for addressing, dealing with and solving a workplace grievance.
When should I use a Grievance Policy?
A grievance policy should be in place at all times while a business is operational and should be available for employees to access at any time. The policy comes into action when a member of staff raises a grievance or complaint in the workplace. At this point, the policy should be referred to and followed by the letter to maintain an objective approach to each issue that may arise.
Grievances include incidences such as bullying, harassment and discrimination as well as complaints relating to the work environment, workplace health and safety and an employee's terms and conditions of employment.
Grievance Policy vs Complaint Handling Policy
Unlike a grievance policy that applies to internal complaints between employees, a complaint handling policy deals with external complaints from a customer or client.
A complaint handling policy will outline the steps that a business makes to deal with a customer complaint in a constructive and positive manner, as to inflict as little damage on the reputation of the business as possible. This is a common policy found in most service-based industries.
What does a Grievance Policy include?
A Grievance Policy typically includes the following:
- The Policy's purpose and scope. Your policy should start with a short and clear statement highlighting what it is for and how it can be used to the benefit of employees. It should also make clear who the policy refers to. In most cases, this is everyone in the company.
- Key definitions. It's important to include a definition of what a 'grievance' is and how this relates to the policy. This makes it explicitly clear when this grievance policy comes into action.
- Process and procedures. Perhaps the most important aspect of a grievance policy in the workplace is how you deal with the complaints. Your policy should clearly outline the step-by-step process that will be carried out with each case that arises. It should include who to address the grievance to initially, and how it will be handled thereafter. Finally, your policy should set out the type of conflict resolutions that may occur.
- Confidentiality. To protect your employees, it's important to ensure a degree of confidentiality when an employee raises a grievance. Total confidentiality is often impossible as you may need to investigate the matter with other members of staff.
How effective is a Grievance Policy?
Disputes in the workplace don't occur every day, but having a grievance policy in place is an effective way of dealing with them when they do. By establishing how your company will deal with a workplace complaint, you can ensure that a grievance is handled appropriately and fairly every single time.
As well as ensuring staff grievances are taken seriously and dealt with fairly, a well-written and implemented policy will ensure that the complaint is handled as quickly as possible, with as little interruption to the workplace as possible. If dealt with correctly, a grievance policy will prevent an employee from taking further legal action.
Do I need to engage a lawyer?
A grievance policy is an integral piece of documentation for your HR department. When used correctly, it will keep employees feeling valued and can protect your business from legal action. That's why it's important to make sure your policy is a complete document, with all of the relevant clauses and no loopholes. Ultimately, the best person to ensure this is the case is going to be a legal professional.
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How do I write a Grievance Policy?
Utilising a grievance policy sample or template is a great way to start writing your document. Start by using the key factors outlined above as a general structure for your policy and filling the sections out with information specific to your business and its industry. These policies often deal with sensitive subjects so it is important to keep this in mind while writing it and to use clear and appropriate language throughout.
Where to get free legal documents and templates online
Writing up a policy for the workplace is an important task, that can seem daunting. Luckily, there are plenty of grievance policy samples and templates out there, as well as legal professionals willing to give you advice.
- Lawpath. You'll need to sign up to Lawpath's subscription service to access their documents, but your first document will come free of charge.
- LegalVision. Home to more than 5,000 legal documents, you'll be able to find what you need on Legal Vision. You can pay a one-time fee to access the templates or sign up for a monthly subscription.
- Law Depot. A simple, but effective platform with a good selection of free legal templates.
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