Grievance procedure and guidelines

  1. Application and scope
  2. General principles
  3. Mediation
  4. Informal procedure
  5. Formal procedure
  6. Appendix A
  1. 1 Application and Scope

    1. 1.1 The University is committed to promoting effective working relationships and an environment in which employees feel able to raise work-related issues with their managers.
    2. 1.2 This procedure provides a clear and transparent framework to deal with concerns, problems or complaints raised by employees in the course of their employment in relation to:
      • matters affecting themselves as individuals; or
      • matters affecting their personal dealings or relationships with other employees.
    3. 1.3 The procedure applies to all employees employed by the University of York under a contract of employment. The aim of this procedure is, as far as possible, to achieve a fair and prompt resolution to individual grievances1.
    4. 1.4 Exclusions - The procedure cannot be used to challenge formal outcomes in other procedures which have an appeal process, namely:
    5. 1.5 Where paragraph 1.4 does not apply, a grievance raised by an employee subject to one or more of the above procedures, will be dealt with in the normal way and in parallel with the other procedure.
    6. 1.6 There are also separate procedures within the Code of Practice on Harassment for dealing with cases of alleged harassment.
    7. 1.7 The procedure does not apply to the settlement of collective grievances which should appropriately be addressed through the University's Dispute Resolution Procedure2.
  2. 2 General Principles

    1. 2.1 The following principles will apply to the application of this procedure: -
    2. 2.2 Wherever possible grievances should be resolved informally without recourse to formal procedures. It is expected that individuals will enter into the procedure in good faith, with the aim of resolving a particular issue. The grievance procedure should not be used as a substitute for normal day to day discussions.
    3. 2.3 It is recognised that there may be occasions when it is not possible for a grievance to be resolved informally. In such cases the procedure below at Stage 1 should be followed. All parties should be absolutely clear whether any meeting is being held under the informal or formal stage of the procedure.
    4. 2.4 Any steps taken under this procedure should be taken promptly, unless there is a good reason for delay.
    5. 2.5 At any stage in the procedure, subject to the agreement of all parties concerned, there may be a suspension in proceedings to facilitate mediation (see 3 below), fact-finding or other non-adversarial discussions with the aim of promoting resolution of the case.
    6. 2.6 At any stage in the procedure, the manager dealing with the grievance may, at his/her discretion, defer consideration of the grievance if other activities which are relevant to the substance of the grievance are pending or in progress. In such cases the parties to the grievance will be advised of the reason for deferring consideration.
    7. 2.7 If, on investigation, the grievance is found to be vexatious or trivial the manager may dismiss it without further consideration. The employee will be advised accordingly.
    8. 2.8 The University may, with the agreement of the employee, vary this procedure as appropriate to a particular case. In the event that it becomes impracticable to continue with the procedure, it may be discontinued. In such cases the University will advise the aggrieved parties of the outcome of their grievance in writing.
    9. 2.9 Right to be accompanied - All employees who are the subject of this procedure will have the right to be accompanied at any formal meetings held under this procedure by a trade union representative or work colleague.
    10. 2.10 Equality and Diversity - To ensure fair treatment and, where appropriate, provision of support by the University in the application of this procedure, employees should be invited to provide information about any equality or diversity issues which may be relevant.
    11. 2.11 Confidentiality - All parties involved in these procedures must ensure that they maintain, as appropriate, the confidentiality of the process within and outside the University.
    12. 2.12 Timescales - Whilst every endeavour will be made to comply with timescales, due to the complexity and or specific circumstances of a case, timescales may be extended. In such circumstances the individuals concerned will be advised of the reasons for any delay.
    13. 2.13 Involvement of Human Resources - A member of the human resources team will be consulted and will advise on the formal process.
    14. 2.14
    15. In very exceptional circumstances where the individual is reluctant to pursue a formal complaint through the Grievance Procedure, but where the alleged harassment is deemed very serious in nature or where the manager is aware there are broader issues of concern around the culture of a team / group of individuals, an investigation may anyway be instigated, with the agreement of the Head of Department and on the advice of the HR Partner / Adviser and the Equaility and Diversity office.
  3. 3 Mediation

    1. 3.1 At any stage in this procedure, the parties to the grievance may request that the matter be referred for mediation. Mediation is likely to be most appropriate in cases involving interpersonal relationships. There may, however, be circumstances in which alternative non-adversarial discussions may be undertaken with the aim of promoting a speedy resolution.
    2. 3.2 Mediation is voluntary and will take place only if all parties agree. It is, however, hoped that employees will recognise the benefits of seeking to resolve issues via mediation and will be amenable to and cooperate with this approach.
  4. 4 Informal Procedure

    1. 4.1 Grievances can often be resolved quickly and informally through discussion with managers and there is an expectation that every effort will be made to resolve matters informally. Employees are therefore expected to raise any concerns or issues informally with their immediate manager/head of section (the manager).
    2. 4.2 Managers will discuss an employee's concerns in confidence with him/her, make discreet investigations, as appropriate, and attempt to address his/her concerns fairly and promptly.
    3. 4.3 It is the manager's responsibility to seek to resolve the grievance informally and to notify the individual of the outcome. This would normally take the form of a summary note of the discussion and its outcome.
    4. 4.4 It is expected that an employee will seek to resolve his/her grievance informally in the first instance and will only progress to a formal grievance if the issue cannot be resolved by informal means. Where this has been unsuccessful, or circumstances make this route inappropriate, the matter should be raised formally through the grievance procedure.
    5. 4.5 If the grievance is against the employee's manager it should be raised with that person's manager who will seek to resolve the matter informally as appropriate (see Appendix A).
  5. 5 Formal Procedure

    1. 5.1 Stage One - Formal Resolution
      1. 5.1.1 If it is not possible to resolve a grievance informally, the employee should raise the matter formally, and without unreasonable delay, by putting his/her grievance in writing.
      2. 5.1.2 The manager (see Appendix A) will write to the employee acknowledging receipt of the grievance, normally within five working days.
      3. 5.1.3 The manager will invite the employee to attend a formal grievance meeting in order to discuss the grievance. This meeting will normally take place within ten working days of the written acknowledgement.
      4. 5.1.4 As a result of the initial grievance meeting, the manager may determine that it is necessary to make further enquiries and/or may appoint an investigating officer to conduct an impartial and thorough investigation into the background facts or into any allegations made by the employee.
    2. 5.2 Investigation
      1. 5.2.1 If an investigation is deemed appropriate, the manager will appoint an investigating officer. Where the grievance relates to other employees, the individuals involved will be informed in writing of the nature of the complaint and will be given the opportunity to submit a response.
      2. 5.2.2 The results of the investigation will be provided to the manager in the form of an investigation report. This report will also be made available to the employee raising the grievance and any employee(s) named in the grievance. Following the investigation, the manager may deem it appropriate to hold a further grievance meeting with the employee raising the grievance. The purpose of this meeting is to seek clarification on any further issues that might have arisen and to allow the employee to comment on the findings of the investigation.
      3. 5.2.3 In some cases it might be appropriate to hold a grievance hearing with the aggrieved individual and the person(s) against whom the grievance lies.
    3. 5.3 Outcome
      1. 5.3.1 The manager will determine the outcome of the grievance. S/he may reject the grievance, or may uphold the complaint and indicate what steps have been/should be taken to resolve it.
      2. 5.3.2 The manager will inform the individual, in writing, of the decision and the right of appeal normally within ten working days of receiving the investigation report or of the final grievance meeting/hearing. The employee will be given an explanation if this is not possible and will be advised when a response can be expected.
      3. 5.3.3 Any employee(s) named in the grievance will also be advised, in writing, of the decision.
    4. 5.4 Stage Two - Appeal
      1. 5.4.1 If an employee remains aggrieved, s/he may write to the Director of HR within ten working days of the date of the decision under Stage 1, exercising his/her right of appeal.
      2. 5.4.2 Appeals will be considered by a more senior manager (Appeal Officer) in accordance with the table at Appendix A. The Appeal Officer will have had no prior involvement in the case and will be supported by a member of the HR Team.
      3. 5.4.3 Where the appeal involves other employees, the person(s) named in the grievance will be informed of the appeal and the outcome.
      4. 5.4.4 This procedure may, in the interest of natural justice, and following consultation with relevant parties, be varied and altered by the Appeal Officer who will detail the reasons for the variation.
      5. 5.4.5 The decision may be given verbally at the appeal hearing and will in any event be conveyed or confirmed in writing within ten working days of the hearing. Any recommendations for further action will be clearly stated in the letter.
      6. 5.4.6 The decision following the appeal is final and there will be no further internal right of appeal.

This procedure will be reviewed periodically to ensure compliance with changes in employment law and equality and diversity legislation.

Guidelines are available and should be referred to in the application of this procedure.

Notes

  1. The procedure recognises that a number of employees may raise the same/similar concerns as individual grievances which would fall to be dealt with under this procedure.
  2. See http://www.york.ac.uk/admin/hr/resources/policy/er_structure.htm

Appendix A

Levels for action

Level of manager Informal Formal Appeal
Manager is not HoD Line Manager Line Manager Head of Department /Head of Support Service Directorate
If manager is HoD HoD HoD Member of SMG
If grievance is against HoD Academic Coordinator Academic Coordinator Member of SMG
If grievance is against Head of Support Services Directorate Registrar and Secretary Registrar and Secretary Member of SMG

Document Control

Title:
Grievance Procedure
Applicable to:
All Staff
Date Last Reviewed:
December 2013
Procedure Owner:
Human Resources
  1. Application and scope
  2. General principles
  3. Authority to act
  4. Roles and responsibilities
  5. Mediation
  6. Informal procedure
  7. Formal procedure
  8. Appeals
  9. Appendix A: Levels for action
  10. Appendix B: Conduct of a grievance hearing
  11. Appendix C: Conduct of an appeals hearing
  12. Appendix D: Additional guidance for conduct of an investigation into a complaint of harassment
  1. 1 Application and Scope

    1. 1.1 It is the University's policy to ensure that employees with a grievance relating to their employment have access to a procedure which can help to resolve grievances as quickly and as fairly as possible. The purpose of the grievance procedure is to address matters within the workplace that are of concern to individual members of staff, in order to promote a positive and constructive working environment and working relationships.
    2. 1.2 Grievances are concerns, problems or complaints that employees raise with their employer. They may be related to any aspect of the employment relationship including working practices, the physical working environment, terms and conditions, health and safety, working relationships or general treatment at work etc.
    3. 1.3 The grievance procedure provides a structured approach to enable employees to raise their concerns with managers. It provides individuals with a course of action should they have a complaint which they are unable to resolve through regular communication with their line manager. The aim is to ensure prompt, consistent and fair treatment for all staff in order to promote effective working relationships. It is the responsibility of the line manager to seek to resolve grievances at the earliest opportunity.
    4. 1.4 The procedure does not apply to the settlement of collective grievances which should be addressed through the University's Dispute Resolution Procedure. It should, however, be recognised that a number of employees within a department may raise the same/similar concerns which would fall to be dealt with under the grievance procedure. In such cases an individual employee may pursue the matter on behalf of the group. The group will be required to confirm, in writing, that they have nominated that individual to proceed on their behalf.
    5. 1.5 The procedure will cease to apply after the contract of employment of the member of staff bringing or seeking to raise a grievance has terminated for any reason. Where, however, a grievance is outstanding as at the date of termination, or is submitted immediately prior to termination, the University will seek to resolve the grievance by the most appropriate means. It will be for the University to determine how to proceed.
    6. 1.6 Links with other procedures - The grievance procedure should not be used to address issues which would appropriately fall to be considered under another procedure. The procedure cannot therefore be used to challenge formal outcomes in other procedures which have an appeal process, namely:
    7. 1.7 Where paragraph 1.6 above does not apply, a grievance raised by an employee subject to one or more of the above procedures will be dealt with in the normal way and in parallel with the other procedure.
    8. 1.8 Movement between procedures - If after commencing the procedure, the authorised manager in conjunction with an HR manager, considers that the case in question should have been dealt with under an alternative procedure the case may be transferred to a different procedure. The employee concerned may also make representations regarding the procedure to be followed. In cases of disagreement the Director of HR will determine the appropriate procedure to be followed and there shall be no appeal against that decision. Those involved will be informed of the reasons for the movement between procedures.
    9. 1.9 There may be occasions when as a consequence of information obtained under one procedure it is appropriate to initiate action under an alternative procedure.
    10. 1.10 Investigations that have been undertaken in one procedure may be used as and where appropriate to inform another procedure.
  2. 2 General Principles

      The following principles will apply to the application of this procedure:-

    1. 2.1 Informal resolution - Where procedures and circumstances allow an opportunity for informal resolution this should be considered at as early a stage as possible. This will require the willingness of those involved but should be considered before moving to the formal procedure.
    2. 2.2 Right to be accompanied
      1. 2.2.1 Formal Meetings - All employees who are the subject of this procedure will have the right to be accompanied at any formal meetings held under this procedure by a single trade union representative or work colleague. The work colleague must be an employee of the University of York. Employees are expected to make all arrangements for his/her work colleague to attend meetings and it is expected that adequate time be allowed to arrange representation and for attendance. Where the chosen companion cannot attend on the date proposed, the employee can propose an alternative time and date so long as it is reasonable and is within a reasonable timescale, normally five working days of the original date.
      2. 2.2.2 Informal Meetings - By agreement, the facility to be accompanied may be extended to the informal stage where this is deemed to be in the interests of an early resolution. If a member of staff wishes to be accompanied at an informal meeting, permission will not be unreasonably withheld.
      3. 2.2.5 Role of representative or companion - See Section 4 for roles and responsibilities.
      4. 2.2.4 Definition of representative or companion - While legal representation would not normally be consistent with an internal procedure, there may be situations when it may be helpful for either party to be legally represented and, subject to agreement, legal representation may be appropriate. Employees should note that the absence of legal representation will not prejudice their legal rights and they will still have recourse to the provisions of employment law.
    3. 2.3 Equality and Diversity
      1. 2.3.1 If there are equality or diversity issues that are relevant to the employee these should be made known to those involved and appropriate support provided by the University. In the case of a disability or language issue an employee may be accompanied by an appropriate person to provide support.
      2. 2.3.2 Managers should check if there are any special arrangements, e.g. support for a disability that an employee or his/her companion may require to enable them to participate fully in the procedure. Appropriate guidance may be sought from an HR Manager. Correspondence in relation to this procedure will invite the employee to inform the University if they require additional support.
    4. 2.4 Confidentiality
      1. 2.4.1 All parties involved in this procedure must ensure that they maintain the confidentiality of the process as appropriate within and outside the University. It might be appropriate, for example, for a member of staff to discuss a procedure with his/her partner or with a trade union official. Disclosure of information by any of the parties involved might also occur where this is required under law or where there is a circumstance involving duty of care which requires disclosure, e.g. where a manager has concerns for the well being of the employee or others.
      2. 2.4.2 Audio and video recording of meetings is not permitted except in exceptional circumstances by prior agreement of all parties.
    5. 2.5 Involvement of Human Resources
      1. 2.5.1 A member of the Human Resources team will be consulted and will advise on the formal process. An HR representative will normally be present in formal hearings.
      2. 2.5.2 If required, a further person, normally from HR, will act as note taker during such formal hearings. The notes will be provided to both parties who will have the opportunity to submit their comments.
    6. 2.6 Timescales
      1. 2.6.1 The aim throughout this procedure is to ensure that staff are treated reasonably and in accordance with the principles of fairness and justice. All procedures should be expedited as soon as reasonable while still allowing these principles to be achieved.
      2. 2.6.2 While every endeavour will be made to comply with timescales, due to the complexity and or specific circumstances of a case, timescales may be extended, in such circumstances the individuals will be advised of the reasons for any delay.
      3. 2.6.3 To prevent delays communication in relation to this procedure may be issued via electronic mail.
    7. 2.7 Attendance
      1. 2.7.1 If an employee does not attend a meeting convened under this procedure normally the meeting will be adjourned to establish contact with the employee to ascertain the reason for his/her absence.
      2. 2.7.2 However, where an employee persistently fails to attend a meeting/ hearing without good cause, the appropriate manager will make a decision on the evidence available.
  3. 3 Authority to Act

    1. 3.1 The term Head of Department includes Heads of (or Directors of) Support Service Directorates. The Head of Department may select a nominee to act on his/her behalf. The nominee will be agreed in conjunction with HR and will be a senior colleague. In the absence of the Head of Department it may be appropriate for the manager deputising for the HoD to act on his/her behalf.
    2. 3.2 There may be exceptional circumstances where it would not be appropriate for the Head of Department to act in a case e.g. the Head of Department is required to act as a witness or is the subject of a complaint. In such circumstances the case will be referred to the Director of HR who may refer the case to an alternative Head of Department or a more senior officer of the University.
  4. 4 Roles and Responsibilities

      Title Role
      Authorised Manager As detailed in this procedure, line managers, including but not limited to, Heads of Department, will usually deal with grievances. They may consult with HR and if necessary appoint an investigatory manager and following receipt of his/her report be authorised to make decisions in relation to the grievance.
      HR representative - member of the HR team usually HR Manager or HR Advisor

      The HR representative will provide advice in respect of the application of this procedure. S/he will support the manager in the process of making an informed, fair and reasonable decision. He/she will ask questions at the hearing and challenge evidence where required.
      Employee Will be provided with the opportunity to bring forward information and put his/her case at any meetings/hearings. S/he may question the witnesses and/or the presenting manager and may make representations to the appeal officer.
      Representative or companion This may be either a Trade Union representative or work colleague. S/he will support and advise the employee, and may ask any questions or make any representations on behalf of the employee. S/he cannot answer questions that are directly put to the employee.
      Manager who made the original decision being appealed May present the case or be a witness to explain the decision being appealed.
      May be accompanied by advisor.
      Witnesses May provide evidence in relation to the subject of the grievance.
      Note taker To take notes of the hearing. These will be notes of key points and will not be a verbatim record. The notes will be provided to both parties who will have the opportunity to submit their comments.
      Appeal Officer To lead and direct the hearing, decide if the employee's appeal is justified, by questioning and challenging all available evidence in order to make an informed, fair and reasonable decision.

      The appeal officer should encourage all parties to speak freely to establish all the facts and determine if there are any special circumstances to be taken into account.

      Investigatory manager Manager appointed to investigate a grievance. He/she may be called as a witness to answer questions relating to the investigation and may be required to carry out further investigation as directed by the manager who initiated the investigation.
      Senior Manager Member of the Senior Management Group, Academic Co-ordinator or Head of Department.
    1. 4.1 Individuals involved in specified roles should not be compromised in fulfilling those duties, for example, due to, significant prior knowledge of or involvement in the case or undertaking another role such as witness. If there is any concern from any party regarding potential compromise, this should be raised with the Director of HR.
    2. 4.2 If a senior manager is subject to this procedure his/her line manager would be responsible for managing the process and adopting the roles as indicated for Heads of Department.
  5. 5 Mediation

    1. 5.1 Mediation is considered to be a useful means of resolving difficulties in the workplace, particularly where interpersonal relationships are involved. Mediation may be proposed by a manager or investigating officer as a way of addressing a grievance. It is voluntary and will take place only if all parties agree. It is, however, hoped that employees will recognise the benefits of seeking to resolve issues via mediation and will be amenable to and cooperate with this approach. Where mediation is agreed managers will be expected to facilitate time for employees to attend for mediation.
    2. 5.2 The grievance procedure will be put on hold whilst any mediation takes place. In the event that mediation does not resolve the concerns raised, the grievance procedure will re-commence at the point reached prior to referral for mediation. Any discussions that have taken place as part of the mediation process will not be admissible as evidence in the reconvened procedure.
    3. 5.3 Where a grievance is resolved through mediation, it is anticipated that the mediator will assist the parties to draw up a written agreement. This agreement will remain confidential to the parties involved. The manager responsible for dealing with the grievance will, however, be informed if the grievance is resolved in this way. The parties may release additional information about the settlement by mutual agreement.
  6. 6 Informal Procedure

    1. 6.1 There is an expectation that every effort will be made to seek to resolve grievances informally. It is important, therefore, that managers recognise the potential for a grievance to arise and seek to address issues raised with them at the earliest opportunity.
    2. 6.2 When an employee approaches a manager expressing concern about an issue, the manager should explore with the employee the basis of the concern and the desired outcome. The manager may be in a position to address the issue immediately or may need to undertake further investigation or involve third parties. It is, however, important that the employee is kept updated on progress and advised of the outcome of the grievance. The manager will confirm the outcome in writing and advise the employee of his/her right to pursue the matter under the formal stages of the grievance procedure if s/he remains aggrieved.
  7. 7 Formal Procedure

    1. 7.1 Stage One - Formal Resolution
      1. 7.1.1 If the grievance has not been satisfactorily resolved through informal action, the employee should write to the manager advising him/her of his/her intention to invoke the formal grievance procedure.
      2. 7.1.2 The written notification should include the following details:
        • An indication that the formal grievance procedure is being invoked
        • The nature of the grievance, giving where appropriate the background to the issue, any relevant facts (including dates) and the names of any other parties involved
        • Any steps that have been taken on an informal basis to address the concerns
        • The employee's opinion on what would constitute a satisfactory resolution
      3. 7.1.3 The written notification should be addressed to the person indicated in appendix A with a copy to the HR Manager for the department concerned. The employee should keep a copy of the letter.
      4. 7.1.4 The manager will write to the employee acknowledging receipt of the grievance within five working days, inviting the employee to attend a formal grievance meeting with him/her in order to discuss the grievance. This meeting will normally take place within ten working days of the written grievance.
      5. 7.1.5 The purpose of the meeting is to understand more fully the nature of the grievance. The employee will be invited to explain his/her concerns and may submit information for consideration in support of the complaint.
    2. 7.2 Investigation
      1. 7.2.1 If, as a result of the grievance meeting, the relevant manager decides that further investigation is required, an investigatory manager will be appointed to undertake a thorough and impartial investigation. This will be carried out with sensitivity to both the employee making the complaint and the person(s) against whom the grievance lies.
      2. 7.2.2 A grievance investigation may involve:
        • Interviewing the employee who has raised the grievance, the person(s) against whom the grievance lies and any witnesses if appropriate
        • and/or

        • Gathering relevant documentary evidence from the individual who has raised the grievance and other relevant individuals.
      3. 7.2.3 The investigatory manager will consider all the relevant facts of the case and make a recommendation to the authorised manager (who initiated the investigation) as to his/her findings. This will normally be in the form of a report summarising the process of investigation, nature of the concerns raised and the findings.
      4. 7.2.4 All parties are expected to cooperate fully and promptly with any investigation. This will include providing details of any witnesses and/or relevant documents to the investigatory manager and attending any investigatory meetings. If, for any reason, the individual raising the grievance decides not to cooperate, the investigation may still continue.
      5. 7.2.5 The individual raising the grievance and any person(s) against whom the grievance lies will be provided with the findings of the investigation and given the opportunity to comment.
      6. 7.2.6 The investigation report, together with any comments received, will be provided to the manager who initiated the investigation and will be made available to the employee raising the grievance and any employee(s) against whom the grievance lies. It is for that manager to consider the recommendation and findings of the investigation and to determine how to proceed.
      7. 7.2.7 Following the investigation, the authorised manager may deem it appropriate to hold a further grievance meeting with the employee raising the grievance. The purpose of this meeting is to seek clarification on any further issues that might have arisen, to allow the employee to comment on the findings of the investigation and to explore ways of resolving the issue.
      8. 7.2.8 If appropriate, the authorised manager may also meet with the person(s) against whom the grievance lies.
      9. 7.2.9 It may be appropriate to hold further grievance meetings with the individual in the interests of seeking an appropriate resolution to the issue.
      10. 7.2.10 Although the procedure is designed to avoid, as far as possible, the need for formal meetings, there may be occasions when it would be appropriate to hold a formal grievance hearing. In such cases the investigatory manager will normally present the findings of the investigation to the hearing. The hearing will be conducted in accordance with the guidance at Appendix B.
    3. 7.3 Outcome
      1. 7.3.1 The authorised manager will determine the outcome of the grievance. S/he may reject the grievance, or may uphold the complaint and indicate what steps have been/should be taken to resolve it.
      2. 7.3.2 The individual raising the grievance will be informed in writing of the outcome of the grievance, normally within ten working days of the authorised manager receiving the investigation report or of the final grievance meeting. The manager will write to the employee detailing his/her decision, the reasons for that decision and, where appropriate, details of any steps taken to address their concerns or of any further actions required. The employee will also be advised of his/her right of appeal.
      3. 7.3.3 Any employee(s) named in the grievance will also be advised, in writing, of the decision.
  8. 8 Appeal

    1. 8.1 If an employee is not satisfied by the outcome of the grievance at stage 1, s/he may write to the Director of HR within ten working days of the date of the decision under Stage 1, exercising his/her right of appeal.
    2. 8.2 The letter must detail the grounds for appeal which should be addressed under one or more of the following headings:
      • That the procedure was flawed
      • That the decision was unfair or perverse because the evidence did not support the outcome reached
      • On the basis of new evidence that could not have been made available at the original hearing
      • That any action proposed was inappropriate in the circumstances of the case

      The Director of HR will appoint a manager to hear the appeal.

    3. 8.3 The purpose of the appeal is to enable the aggrieved employee to explain and discuss the reasons for his/her appeal. It will focus on the grounds of appeal and should not be a re-hearing of the original grievance.
    4. 8.4 The appeal may involve:
      • Interviewing the aggrieved individual and, if appropriate, the person(s) against whom the original complaint lies and any witnesses
      • Interviewing the relevant person who heard the grievance at stage one
      • Gathering, where appropriate, additional documentary evidence from the individual and any other relevant persons1
      • An appeal hearing
    5. 8.5 Where an individual has exercised his/her right to appeal against the outcome of the grievance at stage 1, the HR Manager will write as soon as reasonably practicable to all the parties concerned notifying them of the arrangements for hearing the appeal. An appeal hearing will be conducted in accordance with the guidance at Appendix C.
    6. 8.6 Where the appeal process is varied by the Appeal Officer s/he will explain the reasons for the variation and record them in the official record of the hearing.
    7. 8.7 The outcome following any appeal will be final.

These guidelines must be read in conjunction with the grievance procedure. Reference should be made to HR if there are any further queries.


Appendix A: Levels for action

Level of manager Informal Formal Appeal
If manager is not HoD Line Manager Line Manager Head of Department /Head of Support Service Directorate
If manager is HoD HoD HoD Member of SMG
If grievance is against HoD Academic Coordinator Academic Coordinator Member of SMG
If grievance is against Head of Support Services Directorate Registrar and Secretary Registrar and Secretary Member of SMG
If grievance is against Academic Coordinator DVC DVC VC
If grievance is against PVC DVC DVC VC
If grievance is against DVC VC VC Chair of Council
If grievance is against VC Chair of Council Chair of Council Committee comprising lay member(s) of Council
If grievance is against Registrar VC VC Chair of council

Appendix B: Conduct of a Grievance Hearing

  1. 1 Preparation

    1. 1.1 If it is decided to proceed to a grievance hearing the employee will normally be given ten days notice and invited in writing to attend a hearing. The notice will specify the manager who will conduct the hearing. The employee will be invited to make any written submissions or bring forward witnesses.
    2. 1.2 The manager so specified will make arrangements for the hearing and may be accompanied by an HR representative. The purpose of a formal grievance hearing is to establish the facts about an employee's grievance and determine what (if any) action can reasonably be taken to resolve it.
    3. 1.3 Prior to the hearing, the parties will submit to the manager conducting and hearing the case the names of any witnesses and an explanation of why their evidence is required together with any written submissions they wish to have considered and a copy of any documentary evidence they intend to rely on at the hearing. They will do so as soon as reasonably practicable and not less than five working days before the date set for the hearing to allow for an exchange of documents between the parties.
    4. 1.4 On the basis of the information submitted, the manager conducting and hearing the case will determine whether or not such witness evidence is required and will confirm the witnesses to be called. The manager may request additional witnesses but as s/he will only be able to consider this shortly before the hearing, notification may be given at the hearing.
    5. 1.5 Employees are responsible for making arrangements for their witnesses to attend. Where witnesses are employees of the University, appropriate time off will be facilitated.
  2. 2 Conduct of the hearing

    1. 2.1 The manager conducting and hearing the case will introduce those present and explain the process that will be undertaken and encourage those present to speak openly.
    2. 2.2 Requests for adjournments may be made by any party.
    3. 2.3 If a witness is called by any party to the hearing s/he will be invited to attend the hearing at an appropriate time.
  3. 3 Presentation of the Case

    1. 3.1 Normally the investigating manager will present the findings of the investigation to the manager hearing the grievance. The presenting manager should:
      • state clearly the nature of the grievance
      • outline the case by going through the evidence that has been gathered
      • call witnesses if appropriate
      • answer questions that relate to the investigation and its outcome.
  4. 4 The Employee

    1. 4.1 The employee or his/her representative will present his/her case, question witnesses and raise any issues s/he wishes to have considered.
    2. 4.2 The employee or his/her representative should:
      • state his/her case including the nature of his/her grievance and any issues not addressed by the investigation report
      • outline the resolution sought
      • ask questions and present any evidence in support of his/her case
      • call witnesses if appropriate
  5. 5 The manager conducting and hearing the case

    1. 5.1 The manager conducting and hearing the case should:
      • Use questions to clarify the issues and to check that what has been said is understood.
      • encourage the employee to speak freely to establish all the facts
      • summarise the main points of the discussion after questioning is completed
      • ensure all evidence and points for all parties have been put forward
      • establish if there are any special circumstances to be taken into account
      • ask the employee if they have anything further to say or to be taken into account
    2. 5.2 The manager conducting and hearing the case will be able to question all parties involved. S/he will consider all representations before deciding whether the grievance is well founded and, if so, on any steps that have/should be taken to resolve it.
    3. 5.3 Adjournment - Before a decision is taken adjourning allows the manager time for reflection and proper consideration of the available evidence and facts of the case. If new facts have emerged or there is any dispute over facts, it may be necessary to adjourn the hearing in order to investigate them and reconvene the hearing at a later date when this has been completed. Any new evidence must be shared with all parties prior to the reconvened hearing.
    4. 5.4 Hearing Outcome - If the hearing highlights that the employee's complaint is not well founded then the manager should advise the employee accordingly and bring the proceedings to a close.
    5. 5.5 If the manager concludes that the grievance is upheld s/he may recommend action to address the concerns raised.
    6. 5.6 The decision may be given verbally at the hearing and will in any case be conveyed or confirmed in writing within five working days of the hearing. Where it is not possible to give a decision at the hearing the employee will be advised of the delay.
    7. 5.7 The letter shall also notify the individual employee of his/her right to appeal against any adverse decision.

Appendix C: Conduct of an Appeals Hearing

  1. 1 Preparation

    1. 1.1 The employee can appeal the outcome of the formal stage under this procedure and must submit in writing his/her grounds for appeal to the Director of HR within ten days of receiving the letter confirming the outcome of the grievance.
    2. 1.2 Appeals will normally be heard within thirty working days of the notice of appeal.
    3. 1.3 HR will notify the parties involved (i.e. the employee and the manager who heard the grievance at stage one) of the date of the appeal hearing a minimum of ten days prior to the meeting.
    4. 1.4 The parties will send to HR the names of any witnesses and an explanation of why their evidence is required together with any written submissions they wish to have considered and a copy of any documentary evidence they intend to rely on at the hearing. They will do so as soon as reasonably practicable and not less than five working days before the date set for the hearing to allow for an exchange of documents between the parties.
    5. 1.5 On the basis of the information submitted, the Appeal Officer will determine whether or not such witness evidence is required and will confirm the witnesses to be called. The Appeals Officer may request additional witnesses but as s/he will only be able to consider this shortly before the hearing, notification may be given at the hearing.
    6. 1.6 Employees are responsible for making arrangements for their witnesses to attend. Where witnesses are employees of the University, appropriate time off will be facilitated.
    7. 1.7 HR will send the names of any witnesses to be called and copies of any written submissions and documentary evidence to all parties as soon as these have been exchanged.
    8. 1.8 The appeal will be heard by an appeal officer in accordance with the table at Appendix A.
    9. 1.9 The appeal officer will have the authority to reach the following conclusions or to make other recommendations:
      • Confirm the outcome and decision of the original grievance
      • Uphold the appeal of the employee if there is evidence to prove that the grievance is well founded or if the conduct of the procedure has been unfair*
      • Adjourn the appeal due to significant new evidence which requires further investigation and consideration
      • Recommend an alternative course of action as a means to resolve the grievance

      *It may be appropriate in such circumstance to recommend a rehearing

    10. 1.10 The outcome of the appeal will be final and there will be no further internal right of appeal.
  2. 2 Conduct of Appeal Hearing

    1. 2.1 The purpose of the appeal hearing is to establish if the finding of the grievance procedure was appropriate and procedurally correct.
    2. 2.2 Requests for adjournments may be made by any party.
    3. 2.3 If a witness is called by any party to the appeal s/he will be invited to attend the hearing at an appropriate time.
  3. 3 Appeal procedure

    1. 3.1 The appeal officer will open the hearing with introductions and explain:
      • those present and their roles
      • the purpose of the meeting which is to consider the employee's case for appeal against the University's procedure
      • how the meeting will be conducted
      • the possible outcomes of the hearing
    2. 3.2 The employee or his/her representative will first present, stating his/her case for appeal and any evidence in support of the case. Witnesses may be called and questioned by the employee and the other parties to the appeal.
    3. 3.3 The manager presenting the University case and his/her advisor will present the reasons why the original decision was taken and call any witnesses. Questions may be put to the presenting manager and any witnesses as above.
    4. 3.4 The employee will make a final submission then the employee presenting the University case will make his/her final submission.
    5. 3.5 If new facts have emerged or there is any dispute over facts, it may be necessary to adjourn the appeal hearing in order to investigate them and reconvene the hearing at a later date when this has been completed. Any new evidence must be shared with both parties prior to the reconvened hearing.
    6. 3.6 When the appeal officer has all the relevant evidence s/he will consider his/her decision after those presenting have withdrawn. This adjournment before a decision is taken allows the appeal officer time for reflection and proper consideration of the case for appeal and any additional evidence that has been presented.
    7. 3.7 The decision of the appeal officer may be conveyed verbally to the employee after a period of adjournment unless the appeal officer requires more time for reflection and consideration. The decision will be conveyed (or confirmed) in writing within ten working days of the hearing. The letter will contain the reasons for the appeal officer's decision as to whether the employee's appeal is upheld.

Appendix D: Advice and support for staff in relation to harassment

  1. 1 General principles

    1. 1.1 Managers and investigating officers involved in a formal grievance procedure relating to harassment should seek support and guidance from the HR/Equality and Diversity Office throughout the process as required.
  2. 2 Formal resolution

    1. 2.1 The individual who is the subject of the complaint will be informed of the complaint in writing by the investigating officer. He/she should be informed of the rpocedure to be followed and the appropriate sources of support and be asked to identify any potential witnesses.
  3. 3 Investigation

    1. 3.1 Interviews should be conducted sympathetically and objectively by the investigating officer recognising that harassment issues between individuals can be particularly sensitive. All parties have the right to be accompanied during meetings under this formal procedure.
    2. 3.2 Facts should be clarified and evidence/witnesses identified. The procedure and possible outcomes of the investigation should be clarified by the Investigating Officer with all parties.
    3. 3.3 Interviews with witnesses: The Investigating Officer should determine who to interview and ensure, where practicable, that a reasonable balance is maintained between the parties in terms of the number of witnesses interviewed. The individual who is the subject of the complaint may identify witnesses in support of his/her case.
    4. 3.4 The Investigating Officer will normally carry out investigatory interviews in the following order: the individual making the complaint, any witnesses and finally the individual who is the subject of the complaint.
    5. 3.5 Witnesses should be restricted to supplying factual information rather than acting as character witnesses. The Investigating Officer should confine him/herself to seeking factual information from witnesses in relation only to the formal complaint that has been made.
    6. 3.6 Witnesses should be offered support for example from Harassment Advisers who may accompany them to meetings including any possible disciplinary hearings.
  4. 4 Outcome

    1. 4.1 A copy of the report should be sent to the individual making the complaint, the individual who is the subject of the complaint, the line manager and the Equality and Diversity Office. Separate reports should be made in cases where there is more than one individual who is the subject of the complaint.
    2. 4.2 If appropriate, the Investigating Officer may make recommendations on institutional action as well as on the particular case. The Investigating Officer may wish to seek evidence of the culture and values that the behaviour reflected, so that s/he can recommend action(s) to improve the institutional culture or procedures.
    3. 4.3 The line manager will determine the outcome of the complaint and indicate what steps have been/should be taken to resolve it.

Document Control

Title:
Grievance Guidelines
Applicable to:
All Staff
Date Last Reviewed:
February 2012
Procedure Owner:
Human Resources