So, you’ve encountered a problem at work. It’s always wise to try to fix it ‘at source’ if you can. If it’s a problem with a colleague, this will help keep the relationship on track. Fixing it ‘at source’ may help avoid a potential battle as well as to reduce any stress and anxiety you are feeling.
For those reasons it is usually better to try to resolve issues that you have with colleagues or your employer at the earliest stage possible.
How to go about it?
- Try to resolve it informally – have a quiet word with your supervisor or manager to see if the problem can be fixed with their input.
- If the informal approach doesn’t work, check your employer’s grievance policy and consider raising it formally, by way of a grievance. Typically this will involve you writing a letter or email setting out the issue, attending a grievance meeting to discuss it, allowing your employer to consider it and respond. If the problem is not resolved, it will require you to lodge an appeal and attend an appeal meeting (normally held by somebody more senior than the person who made the original decision about your grievance). Normally, the appeal hearing is the end of the process and the decision made at that meeting is final.
It is crucial that you check your employer’s grievance policy and any other relevant policies to ensure that you comply with it.
Ultimately, it is often best to resolve problems in the workplace in as informal way as possible but if that cannot occur or it is taking too long, you may have the right to pursue a legal claim to an Employment Tribunal.
If the problem you are experiencing may entitle you to pursue a legal claim to an Employment Tribunal, have careful regard to any potential time limits. Typically, to pursue a claim in an Employment Tribunal there is often a 3 month time limit. Typically, you will need to make an application to an Employment Tribunal within 3 months of the date of the incident that you are complaining about.
Recently, the Government has set up an Early Conciliation process through the use of ACAS and this process (which enables ACAS to try to resolve a legal problem with your employer without you having to resort to an Employment Tribunal) may extend the 3 month time limit.
We assist people with all shapes and sizes of problems at work – advice on contracts, disciplinary/grievance procedures, negotiation of severance packages, Settlement Agreements and mediation, as well as representation in the Employment Tribunals (such as in Unfair Dismissal, discrimination and contractual claims) and Courts.