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Blog  »  July 2022  »  Handling Workplace Complaints - Blog
Jul 22

Posted by
Saoirse Moloney

Handling Workplace Complaints

Handling workplace complaints or grievances in the UK can be legally risky and expensive if UK employment laws are not followed. In this blog, we’ll discuss tips for employers on how to handle these complaints.

Tips for employers

Be proactive to prevent complaints

Encourage employees to raise concerns informally first with their line managers, many potential complaint/grievance issues can be resolved this way.

Have a written workplace complaint/grievance policy

This is required by law unless the complaint procedure is already set out on the employment contract. The policy should make it clear in a written procedure that an informal resolution should be considered before making a formal complaint/grievance.

Watch out for whistleblowing

Complaints that have a ‘public interest’ element may amount to ‘protected disclosures’ for the purposes of the whistleblowing legislation, and as such may be subjected to certain protection. Employees who are dismissed or suffer any detriment as a result of having blown the whistle can bring claims against their employer.

Complete an investigation

Failure to complete an investigation before making a decision on a complaint/grievance could make that decision unfair and leave the employer vulnerable to legal action. Once the investigator considers that they have established the facts surrounding the complaint/grievance, they will need to produce an investigation report that explains their findings.

Choose your investigator wisely

Don’t appoint someone who is personally involved in the matter being investigated, or likely to be influenced by the people involved, otherwise you risk arguments of a breach of natural justice.

Investigate a complaint/grievance sensitively

The content of an employee’s grievance should only be disclosed to the subject of the grievance, to the extent that it is absolutely necessary in order to conduct a reasonable investigation of the grievance.

There is no specific obligation requiring the employer to disclose any information or documentation that the employee requests during the grievance process. The employer should co-operate with the employee where possible.


Posted in Employee Contracts, Employee Handbook


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