What You Should Do if an Employee Expresses a Grievance with Your Company

Dealing with grievances in your company is not a simple matter, which is why every company should establish a grievance policy from the very start. There are bound to be times when employees have concerns, problems, or complaints in relationship to their employers, and these should never be dismissed right away – they should be dealt with in the proper manner.

It’s often easier said than done, however, and more often than not the employee will immediately feel on the defensive simply because of the perceived imbalance in power between the two parties. So how do you handle this in a fair and appropriate manner? Here’s what you should do if an employee expresses grievance with your company.

Avoiding recrimination

Grievances and their notification thereof may reflect an underlying problem within the company itself, so by having a proper procedure in place, there is actually an opportunity for the company and the employee to learn and fix what is wrong. The employee should never be afraid of recrimination by management, which is why it’s important that the procedure be dealt with by people outside of operating management.

Employee rights

The employee should be informed well in advance of the grievance meeting, and has the right to be accompanied by a colleague or representative of a trade union. He or she also has the right to be heard without interruptions during the meeting. Ideally, the interview should be recorded and then properly transcribed by a transcription service like It’s usually a good idea to ask at the start what the employee thinks should be done, or what the best outcome could be.

Conducting investigations

It’s possible that after the meeting an outcome or decision can be reached. On the other hand, often further investigations might be necessary. This should be immediately communicated to the employee. Once all the evidence has been gathered and a decision has been reached, the employee should be notified, and also asked for feedback on the decision.


The employee has the right to appeal the decision, and these appeals should be heard as soon as possible, without delay. Ideally the appeal should be heard by someone not involved in the grievance hearing, preferably someone from higher management.


Once rounded up and concluded, a detailed report should be made.

Most of the time, the employee is just as eager to get the issue resolved as the employer, and this could actually lead to some productive situations – it may help adjust guidelines, procedures, or rules and regulations that are not adequate at the moment. The key is to be fair, ensure confidentiality and correctness, and find a solution that meets everyone’s requirements. Stay calm and have a level-headed approach, and often the issue could prove to be a great learning experience for all.




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