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A grievance is a complaint that a colleague raises with the University about a workplace issue. It can be about anything that you feel is unfair or unjust, such as working environment or conditions, the opportunities that have been given for career development, or the way in which you have been managed.

Wherever possible, we encourage colleagues to resolve differences informally but on occasion, a formal process is required to enable all parties to find a solution.

What next?

Resolving grievances informally

Grievances should initially be raised informally by talking to your line manager, the Employee Relations team, or your People & OD Partner. Alternatively, you can also discuss the issue with your trade union representative or an advisor through Report & Support.

We encourage colleagues to try and resolve complaints informally through mediation or facilitated conversations. These remain available throughout both the informal and formal grievance process.

Resolving grievances formally

Formal grievances are managed under the University’s Grievance procedure which may involve a formal investigation. This will include fact-finding interviews with the main parties of the complaint and any potential witnesses. The investigation will look to establish the facts and make recommendations for further action.

If the complaint is investigated formally, you will be given an opportunity to respond to the complaint and be entitled to representation at any formal meetings. As the complainant you have the right of appeal against any outcome.

Frequently asked questions

What evidence is required?

Raising a grievance can be a daunting task, but it is important to ensure that your concerns are addressed and resolved.

On the form ensure that you:

  • be clear and concise;
  • state the facts of the case in a neutral way;
  • avoid personal attacks or accusations;
  • focus on the specific issue you are raising;
  • state your desired outcome;
  • include any supporting documents, for example emails;
  • proofread your form carefully before sending it.

Can a grievance be withdrawn once it is submitted?

A formal grievance may be withdrawn at any stage of the process. However, the University may still decide to continue to investigate and deal with any issues raised (e.g. where potential misconduct is identified). 

I am a line manager. A complaint has been made against me by someone in my team

This is always a difficult situation. Talking this through with your own line manager or People & OD Partner may help you understand why the complaint has been made. It is sensible to reflect and try to understand why the individual has felt the need to formally complain.  

The Employee Assistance Programme offers all staff free and confidential advice 24 hours a day, seven days a week and may be useful to both parties.

If I am asked to attend a grievance meeting as a witness, do I have to attend?

Witness statements and/or evidence may be very valuable to the grievance process and every effort should be made to attend. If it is not possible to attend, it may be possible to submit written information/evidence. You should raise any concerns you have with the investigating manager.