Project: Empower

» How do I write a grievance letter?

Who is this information for?

This information is for employees who have a complaint about their work or workplace or about someone they work with

Not all workers are employees. You may not be an employee if you are:

  • An agency worker
  • A homeworker
  • Self-employed

What is a grievance letter?

An employee can write a grievance letter to make a formal complaint to his/her employer. The letter should set out what your complaint and when it started, how the you have tried to resolve it informally and any suggestions for resolving the issue. There should be enough detail for your employer to be able to investigate the matter properly

For information on what a grievance is and whether you should raise one, please see, I HAVE A GRIEVENCE AT WORK, WHAT CAN I DO?

Step 1: Formalities

  • Write your name and full postal address. Also, include the date on which you will submit the grievance
  • Write your employer’s name. Read carefully your employer’s grievance policy. If it states to whom the grievance letter should be addressed, give their name. Otherwise, this should be the name of your line manager, or if your grievance is against them, their manager
  • Write your employer’s full postal address
  • In BOLD capital letters indicate that this is a formal grievance in your letter heading. This will prevent any ambiguities as to the nature of the letter
  • Write what your role is and how long you have been working for your employer.

Step 2: Previous attempts to resolve the issue

  • Provide a brief summary of events leading up to your complaint. This will help the person hearing your grievance understand the context
  • Be conciliatory. Explain that you regret having to raise a grievance, but you felt like you had no other option
  • Write all of the informal solutions you have already tried to resolve this matter. State what happened when you tried to do this
  • Include the dates on which you tried to resolve the matter informally, and add all the names of parties that were involved
  • If you had agreed any solutions, say why it has not worked. Explain that this letter is a last resort. This will help put you in a good light with your employer.

Step 3: Your Complaint

  • State the facts of what had happened. Identify the people that were involved and what they did or said. Include the names of any witnesses
  • Present the information in the order in which it happened. For each incident, explain who, what, where, when and why
  • If there are several complaints, use subheadings and/or numbers. This will force your employer to investigate and then respond using your subheadings and/or numbering, rather than just overlooking certain points
  • If there is a lot of detail, you may want to include a separate timeline of events.
  • Remember, that you will have an opportunity to expand on any of the points you make during the grievance hearing. Therefore, keep the grievance letter clear and concise
  • If your complaint is regarding unpaid wages, set out how much you think your employer owes you
  • If you have evidence to support your grievance refer to these in your letter and provide copies when you send the letter
  • If you work for a large organisation, person dealing with your grievance will not know the people involved. State people’s job titles and explain their role.

REMEMBER: Keep a professional tone! Avoid inflammatory allegations!

Step 4: The Effect On You

Provide a summary of how you have been personally affected. This may include financial hardships and/or stress.

Step 5: Conclusion

  • Provide details of any particular outcomes that you wish to achieve. This may include:
  • apologies,
  • disciplinary action or training for the person complained about,
  • to be moved to a different office or site,
  • your employer to provide certain equipment to accommodate a disability.

REMEMBER: Be reasonable. your employer may not have the resources to agree to what you are asking for. Bear in mind, that you are trying to work together with your employer to resolve the issue.

  • Sign and date the grievance letter.

Top Tips:

  1. Remember to specify who, when, how and what
  2. Do NOT mention compensation
  3. Do NOT mention tribunals

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