8.4 Individual Grievance Procedure: introduction

Any employee who has a complaint arising out of his or her employment should seek to have that complaint addressed by using the appropriate university's procedure for his or her staff group.

It is expected that the majority of such complaints will not develop into formal grievances but will be dealt with and satisfactorily resolved through informal discussion, as described below.

However, whenever the formal procedures are used, the employee has a right to have his or her complaint carefully and impartially considered and to receive, after appropriate consideration and discussion, a final response which will either:

  • explain to the employee why a situation complained of must stay as it is or a decision complained of will remain unaltered, or
  • change the situation or decision complained of to address the employee's concerns, or
  • provide details of an alternative solution which is acceptable to the employee and which is considered by his or her line manager and department to be appropriate, taking account of the complaint raised and the impact of the proposed solution on any other affected party.

Where two or more employees within the same department have identical complaints about a particular situation, their complaints should be dealt with simultaneously by means of the individual grievance procedure described below. This procedure is not available where employees have a grievance affecting more than one department. In these circumstances collective grievances that cannot be resolved by informal discussion may be raised under the procedure for resolving differences.

Dealing with complaints of harassment, including bullying, and with complaints involving a public interest disclosure

The individual grievance procedure should not be used for dealing with complaints of harassment, except in circumstances where this is the expressed preference of the employee alleging harassment. The University has a separate Policy and Procedure on Harassment, including bullying. Advice in cases that might result in complaints of harassment is available from independent harassment advisers. Details of the harassment advisory service are available on the central Equality and Diversity website, or by telephoning the confidential helpline (01865 (2)70760).

The University also has a separate procedure for complaints involving a public interest disclosure, which may be accessed on its website.

The grievance procedure has two main stages:

Informal departmental stages (Section 8.4.1)

Formal stages (Section 8.4.2)

Advice on structuring a departmental grievance meeting, which will be helpful at both the informal and formal stages, is available.