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Grievance process

Last reviewed on 31 July 2018

Here at Co-op we want to make sure that colleagues are treated fairly and consistently at all times. If a colleague wants to raise a grievance, here are the steps they should follow and the steps we’ll take to deal with it.

All template letters can be found on the Intranet.

Informal discussions

Colleagues should try to raise any concerns informally with their manager first, so they can try to resolve the issue.

Managers should meet with the colleague in private and listen to their concerns. They may need to carry out some investigations into the matter – making sure the colleague’s concerns are kept confidential. They should then let the colleague know what they plan to do to resolve the issue, or explain why they’re not going to take any action.

Managers may find it useful to jot down what they discuss with the colleague and after the meeting they should drop the colleague a note to confirm what was agreed. If things are resolved, then managers shouldn’t keep these notes any longer.

If colleagues don’t feel it’s appropriate to speak to their manager about the issue, they should try to speak to their manager’s manager. If they don’t feel able to do this or things still can’t be resolved, they can raise a formal grievance.

Formal grievance

If the issue can’t be resolved informally, or it’s not appropriate to raise it with their manager, the colleague should make a formal complaint in writing – either in a letter or by completing the template Grievance Form - to the next level of management.

They should explain in the letter/form what their complaint is about, including as much detail as possible – such as dates and the names of people involved and the outcome they’re looking for.

It’s always helpful for a colleague to raise any grievance as soon as possible after the event – otherwise it’s harder for us to investigate the matter and for people to remember all the details of what happened.

Grievance meeting

If a manager receives a grievance, they should first log the case with ER Services to get a case number. They then need to send the colleague a letter (template letter GP1) within 48 hours to acknowledge the grievance.

The manager then needs to invite the colleague to a grievance meeting, giving them at least 48 hours’ notice – using template letter GP2. We want to sort things out as quickly as possible, so we’ll try to hold the meeting within seven calendar days of receiving the grievance, but if there’s going to be any delay, we’ll let the colleague know (template letter GP3).

If the colleague wants to be accompanied to the meeting by a trade union rep or another colleague, they should arrange this and let the manager know before the meeting.

Colleagues should come to the grievance meeting ready to talk about their concerns as fully as possible, as this will help us to carry out a full investigation.

During the meeting we’ll discuss the colleagues’ complaint with them and ask questions to make sure we get a good understanding of their concerns. If appropriate, we’ll ask them for the names of any witnesses who might be able to give further information.

The manager should take a colleague with them to the meeting to take detailed notes of what’s discussed. At the end of the meeting, we’ll ask everyone to read and sign the notes to make sure they’re an accurate reflection of what was discussed.

The manager will then fully investigate the issue. This may include interviewing other colleagues – but we’ll make sure the grievance stays confidential as far as we can.

If the colleague raises a grievance during disciplinary proceedings and the two are related and we decide to deal with both matters during the disciplinary meeting, managers should confirm this decision to the colleague (template letter GP4).

Rearranging the grievance meeting

Colleagues should do their best to attend, but if they or their chosen representative can’t make it, they should tell the manager holding the meeting as soon as possible letting them know dates and times they can make and the manager will try to rearrange it for a time that works for everyone.

If the colleague doesn’t turn up for the meeting without telling us in advance, we’ll rearrange it and write to confirm the new details using template letter GP5.

If they don’t turn up for the rearranged meeting, we’ll consider the matter closed and write to confirm this (template letter GP6) – unless there are exceptional circumstances, in which case we’ll rearrange the meeting once more.

Any rescheduled meetings will usually be within a week of the original meeting time.

Outcome

After completing the investigation, the manager will write to the colleague to tell them the outcome. This will normally be within 14 calendar days of the grievance meeting - but if it’s going to take longer than this because we need to carry out further investigation, we’ll let the colleague know (template letter GP7). The outcome letter will include a copy of the notes from the meeting.

The possible outcomes are:

Grievance not upheld (template letter GP8)

If the manager doesn’t find evidence to support the colleague’s grievance, the outcome letter will explain why the grievance hasn’t been upheld and will address each of the issues the colleague raised.

Grievance fully upheld (template letter GP9)

If the manager finds evidence to support the colleague’s grievance, the outcome letter will explain the steps that we’ll take to resolve the issue.

Grievance partially upheld (template letter GP10)

If the manager finds evidence to support some of the issues raised by the colleague but not others, the letter will address and explain their decision on each issue.

Managers should call ER Services if they need advice when making their decision.

If the grievance was about the behaviour or actions of another colleague and the grievance wasn’t upheld, managers may wish to let that colleague know that we won’t be taking things any further.

Appeal

The colleague can appeal against a grievance outcome – either in a letter or by completing the template Grievance Appeal Form. The colleague should give the grounds for their appeal as either;

  • new information or evidence is available that wasn’t considered before
  • the process wasn’t followed correctly, or
  • they feel the outcome wasn’t fair and reasonable

Colleagues should send their appeal within seven calendar days of receiving the outcome letter – but we’ll give them longer in exceptional circumstances.

Appeal meeting

The appeal meeting will be with an independent manager who’s had nothing to do with the original decision.

The appeal manager will invite the colleague to an appeal meeting, giving them at least 48 hours’ notice (template letter GP11). This will usually be within 14 calendar days of getting the appeal letter, but we’ll let the colleague know if it’s going to take longer.

If the colleague wants to be accompanied to the appeal meeting by a trade union rep or another colleague, they should arrange this and let the manager know before the meeting. There’s more information on the role of the workplace representative in the Guide to Workplace Representatives

At the appeal meeting, we’ll ask the colleague to explain the reasons for their appeal and why they feel that the original outcome wasn’t appropriate.

The appeal manager will take a colleague to the meeting with them to take notes and at the end of the meeting everyone will be asked to check and sign the notes. The manager will then adjourn the meeting while they make their decision.

Rearranging the appeal meeting

Colleagues should do their best to attend the appeal meeting, but if they or their chosen representative can’t make it, they should tell the manager holding the meeting as soon as possible letting them know dates and times they can make and the manager will try to rearrange it for a time that works for everyone.

If the colleague doesn’t turn up for the appeal meeting, we’ll rearrange it and write to confirm the new details using template letter GP12. If they don’t turn up for the rearranged meeting, we’ll consider the matter closed and write to confirm this (template letter GP13) – unless there are exceptional circumstances, in which case we’ll rearrange the meeting once more. Any rescheduled meetings will usually be within a week of the original meeting time.

Appeal Outcomes

After the meeting, the manager will look into the colleague’s concerns and then write to them to confirm their decision. This will normally be within 14 calendar days of the meeting, but if it’s going to take longer we’ll let the colleague know (template letter GP14).

The appeal manager may decide to:

Reject the appeal (template letter GP15)

The original decision is upheld.

Fully uphold the appeal (template letter GP16)

The manager will explain the steps that we’ll take to resolve the issue, or propose alternative steps that will be taken.

Partially uphold the appeal (template letter GP17)

The manager will explain the steps that we’ll take to resolve the issue(s) we agree with.

This ends the appeals process.

Grievances from ex-colleagues

If we receive a grievance from someone who has stopped working for the Co-op, we’ll write to them to acknowledge it and ask if they would like to come in for a meeting – template letter GP18.

If the ex-colleague wants a meeting, then we’ll invite them to a grievance meeting (template letter GP19) and then write to confirm the outcome (template letter GP20). There’s no right of appeal.

If they don’t want to come in for a meeting, we’ll need to make sure we’ve got enough detail from them in their grievance letter – if not, we’ll ask them to provide further information. Then we’ll write to them with the outcome after we’ve looked into things – template letter GP20.