If an employee informs the employer that they are unhappy with the decision after a grievance meeting, the employer should arrange an appeal. As far as reasonably practicable the appeal should be with a more senior manager than the one who dealt with the original grievance. If this is not possible, than a manager, that is unconnected with the event or an impartial Director may hear the appeal. Whoever hears the appeal should consider it as impartially as possible.
At the same time as inviting the employee to attend the appeal, the employer should remind them of their right to be accompanied at the appeal meeting.
As with the first meeting, the employer should write to the employee with a decision on their grievance as soon as possible. They should also tell the employee if the appeal meeting is the final stage of the grievance procedure.
Appeal hearing managers should:
The follow applies to those circumstances where a grievance is being handled in a formal manner – it is however good practice to extend this offer when handling matters informally.
Workers have a statutory right to be accompanied by a companion at a grievance meeting which deals with a complaint about a duty owed by the employer to the worker. So this would apply where the complaint is, for example, that the employer is not honouring the worker’s contract, or is in breach of legislation.
The statutory right is to be accompanied by a fellow worker, a trade union representative, or an official employed by a trade union. A trade union representative who is not an employed official must have been certified by their union as being competent to accompany a worker. Employers must agree to a worker’s request to be accompanied by any companion from one of these categories. Workers may also alter their choice of companion if they wish. As a matter of good practice, in making their choice workers should bear in mind the practicalities of the arrangements. For instance, a worker may choose to be accompanied by a companion who is suitable, willing and available on site rather than someone from a geographically remote location.
To exercise the statutory right to be accompanied workers must make a reasonable request. What is reasonable will depend on the circumstances of each individual case. A request to be accompanied does not have to be in writing or within a certain time frame. However, a worker should provide enough time for the employer to deal with the companion’s attendance at the meeting. Workers should also consider how they make their request so that it is clearly understood, for instance by letting the employer know in advance the name of the companion where possible and whether they are a fellow worker or trade union of cial or representative.
If a worker’s chosen companion will not be available at the time proposed for the hearing by the employer, the employer must postpone the hearing to a time proposed by the worker provided that the alternative time is both reasonable and not more than ve working days after the date originally proposed.
The companion should be allowed to address the hearing to put and sum up the worker’s case, respond on behalf of the worker to any views expressed at the meeting and confer with the worker during the hearing. The companion does not, however, have the right to answer questions on the worker’s behalf, address the hearing if the worker does not wish it or prevent the employer from explaining their case.
It is generally good practice to adjourn a meeting before a decision is taken about how to deal with an employee’s grievance. This allows time for reflection and proper consideration. It also allows for any further checking of any matters raised. You do not have to give your response face to face and you may respond with a letter.
Set out clearly in writing your decision in relation to the appeal. Where an employee’s appeal is not upheld make sure the reasons are carefully explained.
Care should be taken when constructing this letter to ensure that all of the employee’s allegations are addressed with a reasoned, logical argument that is based on evidence and fact rather than opinion.