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Grievance situation examples

This is an example of a potential grievance situation which may arise. We hope this provides an idea of the Trust’s approach to handling and resolving grievances at the earliest possible opportunity.


A member of the team has left and has not been directly replaced. Instead, responsibilities and workloads have been redistributed and a different role has been created that is due to be advertised.

An existing team member (AB) is dissatisfied with the new arrangements and sends her line manager (CD) an email stating that she is raising a grievance about the new working arrangements.

This is the first time that AB has informed CD of these concerns.

Process to follow

CD needs to promptly acknowledge AB’s email (a 'face to face' acknowledgement would be advantageous if possible) and advise that an informal discussion will be set up to discuss the concerns as soon as possible.

CD needs to arrange a time to meet with AB to discuss the concerns. At that meeting the following needs to happen:

Step one

AB needs to tell CD why she is dissatisfied. For example, are there practical issues/problems with the new arrangements? If so what are these? Or perhaps AB is concerned that the new arrangements will disproportionately increase her workload? It may be that the new arrangements have led to changes in AB’s role which she is finding it hard to adjust to or that it has meant her relinquishing duties which previously gave her a high level of job satisfaction. Or it could simply be that AB does not feel there has been sufficient communication about the changes and would like to be given more information regarding the rationale for the changes; in this respect she may be speaking purely for herself or she could be putting herself forward as a spokesperson for her colleagues.

Step two

After explaining why she is dissatisfied, AB needs to then state what resolution she is seeking. For instance she may want to ask for the changes to be 'undone' or she may have a suggestion about how the changes could be 'tweaked' in such a way that resolves her concerns. Or perhaps she would simply like CD to provide further explanation as to why the changes needed to happen in the first place.

Step three

After listening to AB’s concerns and proposals, CD must then respond to the specific points raised. In doing so CD must be mindful of and respect the fact that AB has genuine concerns about the changes which have occurred. CD may not have anticipated that the changes would lead to concerns and she may even be surprised at AB’s reaction. It is possible that CD had believed that the changes would be positively welcomed by the team and she may be annoyed or disconcerted about the fact that the opposite has occurred. Nevertheless, it is still CD’s responsibility to do all she can to resolve AB’s concerns.

Step four

If CD is able to offer a resolution there and then which AB is satisfied with, that is a good outcome. Sometimes matters can be resolved by simply providing more explanation, context etc. However it may be that CD needs to give the matter some more thought or discuss with other colleagues before she can give a definitive answer. Or possibly CD needs to tell AB that she will not be able to agree to her requested solution and if this is the case CD must explain why. Whatever the outcome, CD should set out in writing / by email a summary of the meeting and the decision she has made in respect of AB’s concerns.

Step five

If AB is still dissatisfied she has the right to raise the matter as a formal grievance.

If she decides to do this, she will have to follow the Trust’s formal grievance and disputes procedure.

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