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Work Grievances and how to deal with them

WhiteCollars 18-4-2023 5 minutes
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Workplace Grievance & What it can do to your business

A situation that triggers a crisis at work could be an employee complaint or workplace grievance. Until the situation is accurately analysed and the issue is resolved, it may reduce productivity, lower performance, and cause anxiety among the team. What Is a Workplace Grievance? And how can you handle it without having an impact on your performance rate?


What Is a Workplace Grievance?

A workplace grievance is a formal complaint made by an employee to their employer regarding a situation involving their job duties, workplace culture, relationships with coworkers, or boss dealings. As they were a part of the employee’s employment contract, job offer, or statement, the missing components that should have been present at work are also referred to as workplace grievances.


As an employer, you shouldn’t become anxious when receiving such complaints; instead, give the situation enough time to be thoroughly examined. If an employee has a right that was not granted to them, the answer is simple: grant them their right. Additionally, if the employee is merely attempting to exercise a right that is not legally his, he or she should be prepared to face consequences and punishment documents.


Types of Work Grievances

According to the organisation’s internal operations, there should be two types of grievances, that employees can raise to the management;

  • Individual grievances
  • Collective grievances


Individual Work Grievances

An employee may file an individual grievance in response to a particular work-related situation or personal experience. Therefore, the complaint will only be about the employee and the duties and benefits of his or her position.


Collective Work Grievances

When a group of employees encounters the same difficulties at work, they file a formal, written grievance about the issue. After this submission, regular grievance procedures are followed to address any internal complaints of the corporation.


16 Examples of Work Grievances 

As an employer, you should be aware of all the typical scenarios in which staff members file a workplace grievance and the instances in which they have a legitimate basis to do so, such as 

  • Work Alterations Were Made Without Warning
  • Bad working relationships
  • Improper wage adjustments.
  • Missed Promotion
  • Unreasoned Demotion
  • Arbitrary Transfer
  • An official Termination without a period of notice
  • Reduction of the number of allowed Leaves
  • Unpaid Overtime
  • Violation of local labour laws 
  • Inadequate safety, health, and welfare amenities
  • Labour-management hostility
  • Incidences of workplace favouritism and nepotism
  • Lack of organisational discipline
  • Bullying and harassment
  • Discrimination


How to Deal With a Work Grievance in the Workplace

Based on preset grievance policies, you will be able to deal effectively with any kind of workplace grievance. These policies have to respect the organisation’s and employees’ time and adopt suitable solutions on a fair basis. They have to include:

  • A system that guides the employee on how to list his/her complaint and to whom
  • Clear steps that define the ways of dealing with each workplace grievance and an estimated time for each
  • Forms of putting the solution into practice after discovering it 

Follow the 4 steps in dealing with a workplace grievance that’s recommended:


  • Examine the Issue

Put an estimate for the time this investigation could take. Start with developing the right questions that should be asked to all parties involved in the issue. Also, check if there are any official documents you should review before you continue the investigation. Add extra time for unofficial conversations that look for friendly reconciliation. Try to study the issue like an outsider to guarantee a transparent observation of details. Revise dates and times if mentioned in any situation.


  • Set a Grievance Hearing

Through this meeting, you will ask the complaining party to attend an officially recorded meeting to discuss the grievance details. They have the right to bring along any coworker or peer with them as a witness. By listening to the person who is addressing the problem, you can now understand it and give them the chance to offer solutions that could work for them.


  • Recommend a Solution or Clarify Reasons for Rejection

Deliver workable solutions that satisfy the harmed party and produce a win-win situation based on the facts you’ve gathered. Undoubtedly, you should provide the harmed party with a single solution at the end, so you must filter the approaches and rank them from most to least effective.


If the grievance is not accepted and seems like a fraud, then deliver all the points that prove this fact to close any other attempts at similar cases. 


  • Interact With the Harmed Party’s Action

If you’ve made the best of what you can do, and it seemed unsatisfying to the harmed employee(s), they have the right to appeal, where an issue goes to a higher authority. If you’re a department manager, then it might go to the CEO or the business owner.


4 Effective Methods That Keep Employees Satisfied

Many friendly methods could uncover internal issues in the organisation and solve them without raising an official complaint or workplace grievance.


Suggestion Boxes

A suggestion box that reflects the difficulties that staff members may encounter and that you have not previously noticed could be placed on the floor where all employees work or in each individual room. Employees who wish to remain anonymous will place pieces of paper containing ideas for enhancement and development in the suggestion box.


Open-door Policy

The open-door policy is one of the best ways to allow employees to regularly address their complaints to the management in a direct way, despite the fact that it may seem less practical in the workplace because it disrespects others’ time.


Opinion Surveys

By using opinion surveys to gauge employee satisfaction, you can evaluate the success of every decision you make or strategy you employ. Additionally, it creates a transparent, unrestricted channel for employees to express their suggestions, opinions, and feedback.



Conducting an open exit interview before an employee leaving will always be a useful way to review the organisational culture, corporate values, and any other components that make up the workplace. You can identify the issues and find solutions through the departing employee’s responses before they get worse.


Whitecollars is always prepared to support you and find solutions to any HR-related problems if the volume of workplace grievances rises and gets out of hand. We create cost-effective packages that are tailored to your organization’s needs and assist you in effectively managing your human resources. Visit our website to learn more about our HR-specific services

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