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Employer Guide: What are Personal Grievances (Part 1)

#employerguide What does it mean if you receive a personal grievance and what should you do?

What does it mean when a grievance is raised?

When an employee raises a personal grievance, it means there's an issue related to the employment. This could be because of unjustified dismissal, discrimination, harassment, or failure to follow proper employment procedures. As an employer, it's important to resolve the issue in a fair and timely manner so that it doesn't escalate.

What should an employer do if they receive one?

Firstly, take a deep breath before you do anything. The prospect of dealing with a grievance can be stressful and sometimes feel personal but responding in the heat of the moment is unlikely to help the situation. Then take investigate the issue (if applicable) and take advice.

Do you have to respond?

It's a good idea to do so to have the best chance of resolving the issue in the most cost- and time-efficient way.. Taking advice might help you decide how or if to respond and whether you want to seek a resolution.

What if you can't resolve it between you?

You or the employee may choose to file for mediation. Mediation is a free and voluntary process where an impartial mediator will attempt to help you come to an agreement. Mediation is confidential and 'off the record', so nothing discussed in it can be brought up again.

What if mediation doesn't work?

If mediation doesn't work or the parties don't attend voluntarily, the dispute may proceed to the Employment Relations Authority (ERA). At the ERA the Member, an independent third party, will make a decision on the matter. Most employers want to avoid this outcome if possible however, as it can be costly, time-consuming and is no longer confidential.

To resolve a personal grievance, it's crucial for employers to follow fair and reasonable procedures and act in good faith. If they don't, it could lead to further legal action and harm their reputation. That's why it's recommended for employers to seek legal advice and support throughout the process.

Want to know why grievances might be raised? Check out part 2 here.


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