An employee's made a complaint


There’s been a complaint from an employee about your business or other staff

Complaints are awkward, maybe embarrassing and often stressful and exasperating. But you’re right to be looking for guidance. If they’re badly handled and/or not taken seriously from the start, employee complaints can carry a lot of other worse consequences, like damage to workforce morale, risk to your trading licences, orders for you to pay out significant compensation awards and negative press attention. And you may not want to lose this particular employee either.

Get in touch as soon as you know there’s a problem because it may well be that in one simple call we can put your mind at rest and simply confirm that your intended course of action is robust. But if we can see you headed into more risky territory, or you need more than just a call, our simple and cost-effective service can steer you back out of there fast.

These sorts of complaints are often called ‘grievances’ and they’re the step before an employee feels motivated to threaten employment tribunal or other formal action against your business or another member of staff. How you handle this will make all the difference between a speedy, fair and consensual resolution or a full-blown and costly dispute. As an employer, you’re also legally obliged to have a grievance procedure in place so that staff complaints are efficiently handled and complainants are treated with respect.

There are quite a few rules about how grievances should be handled and some unavoidable components that you have to include in your procedures - which we’ll explain a bit further on.

On this page we’ll show you exactly what’s involved in each stage of a typical employee complaint process and how long you should expect each stage to take.

Your next stages
  • To find out precisely what happens during each stage of the process - and for average timings and costs - click on the section below.
  • Overview
  • Stage 1 Detailed review of your situation
  • Stage 2 Taking the first steps
  • Stage 3 The grievance meeting
  • Stage 4 Producing and communicating the grievance outcome
  • Stage 5 If the employee appeals
  • Stage 6 Closing the file