What to do at a grievance meeting
This advice applies to England, Wales and Scotland
Things to remember
- The Acas Code of Practice on discipline and grievances sets out the key principles for a grievance meeting.
- The employer should ensure that the location and timings of the meetings are reasonable — The Acas Guidance to accompany the Code (page 45) states that the meeting should be arranged, ideally, within 5 working days and should be held in private where there should be no interruptions.
- You should try your best to attend the meeting. If you cannot go because you are ill you can ask the employer to postpone it. The employer should rearrange the meeting if you cannot attend. If you don’t want to attend because you don’t want to face your employer you could ask them to deal with the matter in writing but you will have less chance to influence their decision if you don’t talk to them face to face
In preparation for the grievance meeting
- Consider the points that you wish to make — you could make a note of them so that you can tick them off. Write out a full statement of what you want to say if that’s easier.
- gather together any documents you have to support your case
- If you are taking someone to the meeting with you talk to them about what you want them to do — take notes, make sure you make all the points you want to, help keep you calm, etc.
- If a union representative is coming with you talk to them about what role they will play in the meeting
- Think about what your employer might say, especially anything that might upset you or make you angry. Think about how you will deal with that.
At the meeting
- Take someone into the meeting with you — you have the right to be accompanied by a colleague or a trade union rep
- Be assertive (but not aggressive). You do not have to accept what your employer is saying — you just have to be polite and measured in the way you present your response
- Stay calm. If you get emotional ask for a break.
- Be reasonable — you are trying to work together with your employer to resolve the issue so try to think of solutions which you can both agree.
- Take your own notes — if you have an accompanying representative ask them to take notes for you
- Be aware you may not get a decision straight away — your employer may ask you to wait outside while they make a decision or (more likely) say they will tell you their decision in writing
After the meeting
- Write up a note about what happened at the meeting
- Review the outcome letter and decide if you want to appeal
- If you want to appeal write to the employer promptly setting out why you disagree with the decision