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Put this procedure in place to make sure your managers follow the correct process when employees lodge grievances

by , 27 February 2015
As an employer, you know that when employees lodge grievances at work, you must deal with the matter ASAP and in a fair manner. After all, ignoring employee grievances could lead to lawsuits.

Your employee can sue you for pain and suffering, if for example, you ignore her sexual harassment grievance.

But do your managers - who deal with your employees on a day-to-day basis - know how to deal with employee grievances correctly?

To make sure they do, put this one procedure in place so they follow the correct process when employees lodge them.


With this one procedure, your managers will always deal with employee grievances correctly

 
You must have a grievance procedure in place to make sure your managers deal with employee grievances fairly and correctly.
 
Your grievance procedure must cover all types of grievances employees lodge, such as:
 
  • Assault;
  • Sexual harassment;
  • Theft;
  • Abusive language; and
  • Fraud, etc.
 
It should make it clear what your managers should do from the minute they receive a grievance from an employee to what they must do once they've dealt with it.
 
Having a procedure in place not only ensures your managers deal with employee grievances correctly, it gives your employees the confidence to come forward with any issues they may have. They know you'll take them seriously and deal with the issue before it gets worse or disrupts the whole workplace.
 
So what should your grievance procedure contain?

 
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Here's what to include in your grievance procedure

 
1. Definitions
 
This covers who the different people in the grievance procedure are. For example:
 
  • The manager;
  • Employee;
  • Complainant;
  • Complaint; and
  • The accused.
 
You can get definitions of these parties in the Labour Law for Managers Loose Leaf Service.
 
2. Responsibilities
 
You must spell out what each party is responsible for.
 
Outline areas of responsibilities of each party for example, the employee lodging a grievance (the complainant) must:
 
  • Complete the grievance form (make sure all employees have access to the form);
  • Get his direct manager to sign the form; and
  • Give the form with the signature to the manager of the accused employee.
 
3. The process for conducting a disciplinary hearing
 
Employee grievances automatically trigger a disciplinary enquiry. You are, after all, dealing with serious issues like sexual harassment and assault.
 
So include the process for conducting a disciplinary hearing.
 
You can, for example, say the manager of the accused employee has to appoint a Chairperson for the disciplinary hearing and schedule a disciplinary hearing in line with your disciplinary procedure.
 
To make sure disciplinary hearings in your company are always 100% legally compliant, check out The Chairman's Guide to Disciplinary Hearings.
 
4. Record keeping
 
Include that managers must file all grievances forms in their employee's personal files.
 
There you have it: If you want to make sure your managers follow the correct process when employees lodge grievances, have a grievance procedure in place.
 
PS: For more information on how to deal with employee grievances, check out the Labour Law for Managers Loose Leaf Service.


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