This grievance procedure applies only to staff engaged on contract of employment 3.HR.REC.005.

VGC believes that all employees should be treated fairly and with respect. This grievance procedure is to enable staff to air any concerns they may have about practices, policies or treatment from other people at work or from the company, and to produce a speedy resolution where genuine problems exist.

It is designed to help all employees to take the appropriate action, when they are experiencing difficulties, in an atmosphere of trust and collaboration.

Although it may not be possible to solve all problems to everyone’s complete satisfaction, this policy forms an undertaking by VGC that we will deal objectively and constructively with all employee grievances. Anyone who decides to use the procedure may do so with the confidence that their problem will be dealt with fairly.

This grievance procedure is not a substitute for good day-to-day communication and we encourage employees to discuss and resolve daily working issues in a supportive atmosphere.

Many problems can be satisfactorily solved informally. This procedure is designed to deal with issues that need to be approached more formally, so that every route to a satisfactory solution can be explored and so that any decisions reached are binding and long-lasting.

Formal grievance procedure

This procedure sets out the appropriate steps for a formal grievance.

Making the complaint

If you have a formal grievance relating to your employment you should start by writing to the human resources manager. Your complaint should be headed ‘Formal grievance’. Where your grievance is against the human resources sanager, your complaint should be addressed to an alternative director.

We will always try to resolve the matter informally, depending on your complaint. However, if you are not satisfied with the outcome, you may insist on a full grievance hearing.

Before proceeding to a full grievance hearing, it may be necessary to investigate any allegations, although your confidentiality will be respected. You will be given a copy of any evidence gathered during these investigations, long enough in advance of the hearing for you to consider your response. In exceptional circumstances, people’s evidence may have to remain confidential. Where confidentiality is necessary, this will be explained to you and you will receive an appropriate summary of the evidence gathered.

Stage 1

You will be invited to attend a grievance meeting. You have the right to be accompanied at this meeting by a work colleague or a full time official employed by a trade union or a lay official (as long as they have been certified in writing by their union as having experience of, or as having received training in, acting as a worker’s companion at disciplinary and grievance hearings). Every effort will be made to convene the grievance meeting at a time which is convenient for you and your companion to attend. If this means that the meeting cannot be held within a reasonable period (usually within five working days of the original date set), we ask that you make arrangements with another companion who is available to attend. Any VGC employee who is chosen to accompany another in a grievance meeting is entitled to take paid time off for this purpose. You must take all reasonable steps to attend the grievance meeting.

Following the meeting, the company will endeavour to respond to your grievance within a reasonable time. You will be informed in writing of the company’s decision on the grievance and notified of your right to appeal against that decision if you are not satisfied with it.

Stage 2

If you feel your grievance has not been satisfactorily resolved, you may then appeal. Please set out the grounds of your appeal in writing to the human resources manager within five working days of the grievance decision.

On receipt of your appeal letter, a senior manager (who may not be the person to whom your appeal was addressed) shall make arrangements to hear your grievance at an appeal meeting. At this meeting you may again, if you wish, be accompanied at this meeting by a work colleague or a full time official employed by a trade union or a lay official (as long as they have been certified in writing by their union as having experience of, or as having received training in, acting as a worker’s companion at disciplinary and grievance hearings).

You must take all reasonable steps to attend the grievance appeal meeting.

Following the meeting, the senior manager will endeavour to respond to your grievance appeal within a reasonable time. You will be informed in writing of the company’s decision.

This is the final stage of the grievance procedure and the company’s decision shall be final.

Mediation

It may be appropriate for the matter to be dealt with by way of mediation, depending on the grievance. This involves the appointment of a third-party mediator, who will discuss the issues raised by your grievance with all of those involved and seek to facilitate a resolution. Mediation will be used only where all parties involved in the grievance agree.

Former employees

Former employees may also raise grievances after their employment has ended, in accordance with the time limits established by the relevant legislation. In this case, the grievance procedure above will continue to apply, unless both parties agree in writing that a modified form of grievance procedure will apply instead. If a modified grievance procedure is agreed, you must set out the details of your grievance in writing to the human resources manager and the company will then formally respond in writing without the need for a grievance meeting and without a right of appeal.

Disciplinary issues

If your complaint relates to your dissatisfaction with a disciplinary, performance review or dismissal decision, you should not invoke the grievance procedure. Instead, you should appeal against that decision in accordance with the appeal procedure (please see the disciplinary procedure)

Grievances raised while you are subject to disciplinary proceedings will usually be heard only when the disciplinary process has been completed. If a grievance has any bearing on the disciplinary proceedings, it can be raised as a relevant issue in the course of those proceedings.

This grievance procedure is entirely non-contractual and does not form part of your terms and conditions of employment.

Ciara Pryce
Group services director

October 2018