If you're having a problem at work, such as a dispute with your employer, talk to Tees. We'll explain your legal rights and options for getting it resolved.
If you have concerns or complaints about something that’s happened at work, it’s usually best to try to sort problems out informally. Talk to your employer, starting with your manager – or if they’re the cause of the problem, HR or another manager that you trust. If not suitable for dealing with informally, or matters are not resolved, you may need to raise a formal grievance.
A grievance meeting or hearing will be the meeting that takes place to consider your formal grievance. This is usually after prior informal attempts to resolve the problem have been unsuccessful.
At the meeting you can communicate your complaint in more detail, share written evidence and ask questions; your employer will also likely ask questions. You will be able to say what it is you want done about the problem; your employer may, reasonably, have already invited to you provide details of your desired outcome. It’s not meant to be an adversarial meeting with two opposing ‘sides’ and both parties should seek to understand and discuss the issues and see how they might be resolved.
After the meeting your employer should respond in writing and if your grievance isn’t upheld, they should tell you that you can appeal.
You can find out more about raising a grievance on the ACAS website.
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An employment tribunal is like a court, specifically for handling employment disputes where an employee is bringing a claim against his or her employer. It’s made up of a judge sitting alone or a panel of three people, one of whom will be a judge, who will be legally qualified in employment law; the other two are lay members – that is, not judges or lawyers by profession, although they will have experience in employment issues. One will be an employee representative, and the other an employer representative. Some cases can be heard just by the judge. Cases of discrimination must be heard by three judges. Although it’s not a requirement to have a lawyer represent you, most people choose to have legal representation.
For a dismissal from a job to be considered potentially fair it must be on a ground set out under section 98 of the Employment Rights Act:
For the dismissal to be fair it will often need to pass the test of being within the range of reasonable responses of an employer. The employer will need to follow an appropriate fair process to minimise the risks of a claim finding procedural unfairness.
Sometimes the situation is such that it’s considered to be an automatic unfair dismissal. This would be when it relates to something where the employee is protected by law such as: