All organisations, however small, must have in place a grievance procedure for employees.
The grievance procedure should outline how employees’ concerns will be dealt with by the organisation.
I have worked with many small charities and social enterprises where the grievance procedure has not been fit for purpose, is not able to deal with grievances effectively or the procedure does not reflect the small size of the organisation.
Some of the common issues are:
• There are too many formal stages in the grievance procedure for a small charity. Ideally there should only be two stages for a small charity otherwise the charity would run out of impartial managers/trustees to hear the grievance at multiple formal stages.
• The grievance procedure does not cover all employees in the charity, e.g. the common omission is that the Chief Executive Officer is unable to raise a grievance – clearly not an intended consequence.
• The grievance procedure may be used for appeals against disciplinary decisions which is often not appropriate as it can significantly delay the proceedings in a disciplinary case.
• The omission of the option to use external, impartial facilitators which may be crucial for a small charity.
• The omission of the possible use of mediation to resolve grievances.
I have worked with a number of small charities and social enterprises to resolve these issues to ensure that they have a formal procedure which reflects the ACAS Code of Practice, and is effective in resolving employee concerns in a fair and consistent way.