A12c: Main page
How we address and seek to resolve your work related concerns.
Coverage/scope of the grievance procedure
Raising concerns and getting advice
Formal grievance procedure
Grievance raised by former employees
Non-attendance at interview/hearing
2.1 A grievance is a complaint by an employee or former employee about a work related issue, including action which their employer ‘has taken or is contemplating taking’ in relation to them, for example a complaint from an employee about their treatment by managers or colleagues.
3.1 If you have a concern you may wish to try and resolve it informally first. You can request a meeting with your line manager or, if this is not appropriate because your line manager is involved, a more senior manager or the Head of HR. You do not have to submit an informal grievance in writing and it will not be recorded on official files. However, any actions arising as a result of your concern will be recorded.
3.2 If a matter cannot be resolved informally, or you prefer to go straight to the formal process, you should put your complaint in writing and send it to your line manager, copied to the Head of HR. However, if your grievance is against your line manager you should send it directly to the Head of HR. If you do not put your grievance in writing there is a danger it will not be perceived as a formal grievance. If it is unclear whether or not you are raising a formal grievance you will be asked to confirm this.
3.3 There is no specific time limit for submitting a grievance for a current employee, but it is desirable that issues are resolved as quickly as possible after the incident/instance which is the subject of your complaint. Timely action will also aid the gathering of reliable and comprehensive evidence, if required.
3.6 It may be appropriate for the matter to be dealt with by mediation, depending on the nature of the grievance. Examples where mediation could be used include where there is a breakdown in the working relationship, a personality clash or communication problems, where complaints have been made of discrimination, harassment or bullying, and rebuilding working relationships after a formal dispute has been resolved. Mediation involves the appointment of an independent person who will discuss the issues raised by your grievance with all of those involved and seek to facilitate a resolution. Mediation will only be used where all parties involved in the grievance agree.
3.7 If you raise a grievance during a disciplinary process the disciplinary procedure may be temporarily suspended in order to deal with your grievance. However, where the grievance and disciplinary cases are related it may be appropriate to deal with both issues concurrently.
3.8 If you raise a concern about someone who is not an employee of BBSRC/the establishment (e.g. visitor, contractor), this will be treated in the same way. We will investigate as far as possible and take action as appropriate to protect our employees. Where a grievance is upheld, action might include not allowing the person on site, into a specific area, etc.
3.9 If you are working alongside someone who is employed by another organisation and they raise a concern about you, this will be investigated under that organisation’s procedures and there may be action taken as a consequence.
3.10 You have the right to be accompanied by a colleague or by an accredited trade union representative at any stage of the formal procedure. The trade union representative does not have to be employed by a JNCC employer. To exercise the right to be accompanied you must make a reasonable request; this will depend on the circumstances of the case e.g. it may not be reasonable to be accompanied by someone from a remote location if a suitable person is available on site.
3.11 If you are unable to attend a meeting/hearing to discuss your grievance the process set out in paragraph 8 below will apply.
4.1 When submitting a formal grievance (paragraph 3.2) you should set out the general nature of your complaint. However, it is helpful if you can clearly set out the full details, what outcome you are seeking and what, if any, actions you have taken to resolve the issue informally. Your line manager, together with a representative from HR will decide who is best qualified to investigate your complaint (the investigator). The investigator need not be a JNCC employee.
4.3 If your grievance is about a Director or Head of Operations, the local Head of HR will contact Human Resources and Corporate Services Group (HRCSG) in BBSRC Office for advice on how to proceed. The Head of Operations/Office equivalent will appoint an investigator where the grievance is against the local Head of HR.
4.4 Wherever possible all parties should comply with the timescales specified for dealing with grievances. However, a complex grievance may take longer to investigate. The investigator will keep you informed of their progress.
4.5 In some cases where a formal grievance has been raised, it may be considered necessary to separate the complainant and the person complained about (e.g. if it relates to a complaint of bullying/harassment). Normally the person complained about will be moved but this may not always be possible (e.g. due to the nature of their work). Suspension would not normally apply in a grievance case but may be necessary in exceptional circumstances. For details of when this might be appropriate see appendix A12b:7.
4.6.1 If the investigator, after consultation with the local Head of HR, is concerned that your complaint does not constitute a grievance they will take advice from HRCSG. If HRCSG also considers that it is not a grievance there will be no further action. The investigator will confirm this in writing to you.
4.6.2 If your complaint proceeds, the investigator will give you a written invitation to at least one meeting to discuss your grievance. This will take place as soon as reasonably possible. You must take all reasonable steps to attend the meeting, at which you have the right to be accompanied by a colleague or Trade Union representative, (see paragraph 3.10).
4.6.3 The investigator may wish to interview others in connection with your case; this will normally be done separately. Those giving witness statements in grievance investigations will be made aware that they will be copied to the person being investigated if the matter subsequently goes to a disciplinary hearing and the information is relevant to the case; they may also be called to attend the hearing to answer questions from the panel. In exceptional cases it may be appropriate to anonymise witness statements for example if the witness is genuinely in fear of their identity being disclosed to the employee being investigated. Guidance on when this might be appropriate is set out in the Disciplinary Procedure (see appendix A12b).
4.6.4 If you are the person that the complaint has been made against, you will be invited to at least one meeting as part of the investigation process, where you will be given the opportunity to respond to the allegation(s). You will have the right to be accompanied at this meeting as detailed in paragraph 3.10
4.6.5 All parties involved in a grievance investigation must maintain confidentiality and not discuss the case with anyone other than their representative or a member of the HR department. All parties are also required to maintain contact with the investigating officer or Head of HR until matters are completed.
4.6.6 We will follow the process detailed in paragraph 8 below if any party who is relevant to the case is unable to attend the meeting.
4.6.7 At no stage in the procedure can either party record a meeting or hearing using electronic recording equipment, without prior agreement. For example we may allow you to record the hearing as a reasonable adjustment. Any such request should be made at least three working days before the planned meeting. However it should be noted that written notes will be made of the matters discussed; these are not meant to be verbatim but will be an accurate reflection of the points discussed and will form the official record of the meeting. You will have an opportunity to comment on the notes of the meeting but this may not delay a decision. Any disagreements will be noted. You and your representative may also choose to take your own notes.
4.6.8 Once the investigator has reached a decision, they will advise the complainant, and the person the grievance is against, of their decision in writing, normally within 28 calendar days of the final grievance meeting. If you as the complainant are not satisfied with the decision, you have the right to appeal.
4.6.9 If an allegation/complaint cannot be substantiated following a formal investigation and there is reasonable cause to believe that the complainant acted maliciously, the matter will be investigated under BBSRC’s disciplinary policy.
5.1 If you as the complainant wish to appeal against the decision of the investigator you must inform the Head of HR or Head of Operations within 14 calendar days of notification of the investigator’s decision. Your appeal must be in writing and should set out why you feel your grievance has not been satisfactorily resolved.
- The local Head of HR or Head of Operations, in consultation with an employee at band E or above from HRCSG, will decide who considers your appeal. This person should:
- Not have any conflict of interests with any of the parties involved in the grievance
- Not be from within the line management structure of the person being complained about; and as far as is reasonably practicable, should be more senior than the original investigator
- You will be invited in writing to attend a further meeting, at which you may be accompanied (paragraph 3.10 above applies). You must take all reasonable steps to attend this meeting. If you are not able to attend we will follow the procedure set out in paragraph 8 below.
You will be notified in writing of the outcome of your appeal normally within 14 calendar days.
5.3 A management note of the meeting will be taken (paragraph 4.6.7). You will have the opportunity to comment but this will not delay a decision. Any disagreements will be noted.
6.2 The grievance and the basis for it must be submitted in writing (within three months of becoming aware of the issue), to the local Head of HR, who will decide who is the best person to deal with it.
Where a collective grievance is raised on behalf of two or more people, the matter must be referred to the Head of Operations/Office equivalent, who, in consultation with the local Head of HR will discuss with the appropriate employee representative how the matter will be processed. The Head of Operations/Office equivalent will appoint an investigator where the grievance is against the local Head of HR.
You (and if appropriate the person accompanying you) are expected to make every effort to attend an arranged meeting.
8.1 There may be occasions when we are unable to contact you or you are unable to attend a meeting. However, it is important that the process is not unreasonably delayed at any stage and therefore in these circumstances the following will normally apply:
- If your representative is not available you should offer a reasonable alternative date within five days of the original date. Meetings cannot be unreasonably delayed due to the non-availability of a particular representative.
- If you fail to attend due to circumstances beyond your control (e.g. illness) we will arrange another meeting with you.
- If you are repeatedly unable or unwilling to attend a meeting the following alternatives may also be offered in order to give you every opportunity to present your views:
- Holding the meeting at your home
- Holding the meeting at a neutral location
- Holding the meeting via a telephone or video conference
- Going ahead with the hearing in your absence but with a TUS representative or work colleague of your choosing who will present your case
- Going ahead with the hearing but taking into account any written representations that you wish to make
- The seriousness of the issues under consideration
- Your general work record, work experience, position and length of service
- Medical opinion from the Occupational Health physician on whether you are fit to attend the meeting
- How we have dealt with similar cases in the past
We may decide to proceed in your absence, but you will be advised in advance. The meeting will take into account all the available relevant information and available evidence and you will be notified of the outcome in writing and made aware of your right to appeal, as appropriate.
8.3 The same facilities as outlined in paragraph 8.1 and 8.2 above will also apply to appeal hearings.
Last updated 01/12/09
Amendment 85 - December 2009