Human Resources

Workplace conduct & capability

Grievance Procedure

Loughborough University (the University) aims to provide a positive and supportive working environment for all of its employees and is therefore committed to seeking to resolve workplace issues raised by individual employees, quickly and efficiently at the lowest appropriate level. This approach is consistent with the ACAS Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures and the associated ACAS guide.

The University will use its best endeavours to deal objectively and constructively with all grievances and employees using this procedure will be dealt with fairly and as quickly as possible.

An employee may raise a grievance about action which the University has taken, or is contemplating taking, or has failed to take, in relation to them, or about the actions of work colleagues.

Human Resources (HR) should be advised, by the manager considering the grievance, of the complaint and will be available to provide advice and support throughout the process.

Throughout this document, reference to “days” means calendar days, but bank holidays and University closure days will not be counted.

Scope

This procedure is applicable to all University employees, other than academic staff covered by Statute XXI (ie professors, readers, senior lecturers, lecturers, senior research fellows and research fellows).

Employees may use this procedure to seek resolution to matters of concern affecting their employment, typically in relation to one or more of the following:

  • Terms & conditions of employment
  • Health & safety
  • Work relations
  • Bullying & harassment
  • Working practices
  • Working environment
  • Organisational change
  • Discrimination

This procedure is not intended to cover:

  • Any matter which is the subject of the Disciplinary Procedure
  • Grievances involving several members of the staff which may be progressed through the Joint Negotiation & Consultation Committee or under the Collective Disputes Procedure
  • Other matters outside the authority of the University, e.g.:

    - Income Tax and National Insurance matter.

    - Rules of Pension Schemes.

    - Statutory Requirements.

Matters dealt with using the grievance procedure must kept confidential by all parties involved.

Representation

Although an employee only has a right of representation at the formal stages of the grievance procedure, it is recognised that the assistance of a trade union representative or colleague can be helpful in achieving a solution to an employee’s grievance. Consequently, representation should be allowed at all stages, including the informal stages.

Representation may comprise: a workplace trade union representative; an official employed by a trade union (eg regional officer) or a fellow University employee.

Legal representation is not permitted at any stage of the Grievance Procedure.

Employees who are interviewed in the course of an investigation into a formal grievance may be accompanied at the meeting and will receive a copy of the notes of their meeting.

Informal stage

In the first instance, an aggrieved employee should discuss the matter informally with their immediate supervisor or line manager, with the aim of achieving a mutually acceptable resolution.

Where the immediate supervisor, or line manager, is the subject of the grievance, then the employee should discuss the matter informally with the next level manager.

Formal stage

If the matter is not resolved and the employee wishes to raise a formal grievance, they must set out the details, including the remedy sought, in a written statement that should be sent to their Head of Department/Section.  [If the grievance refers to the actions of their Head of Department/Section, the statement should be sent to the Dean of the School, or in the case of non-School sections, the relevant Service Director.]

The person considering the grievance will meet the employee to discuss the matter within 14 days of receipt of the written statement. The employee may be accompanied, at this meeting, by a work colleague, or a union representative and the manager will be accompanied by an HR representative. In some cases, it may be necessary to adjourn the meeting to allow for an investigation of the issues to take place, which may include hearing from witnesses.

If the grievance is based on the actions or omissions of an individual employee of the University, that employee shall be provided with a copy of the grievance, suitably redacted if necessary and given the opportunity to respond as part of the investigation process.

Within 14 days of the meeting, or the conclusion of any resumed meeting, the person considering the grievance will send the employee a written statement of their decision and the reasons for it. The employee will be notified of their right to appeal, if they are not satisfied with the outcome.

Appeal stage

An employee who is not satisfied with the decision reached at the first formal stage will have 21 days, from the receipt of the written decision, to lodge an appeal, by submitting a written statement, including remedy sought and a list of witnesses (if any) to be called in support of the case, to the Director of Human Resources, stating the grounds for the appeal. If an appeal is not received within this period, no further action will be taken on the grievance and all interested parties will be informed that the grievance procedure has been concluded.

Upon receipt of the written request for an appeal hearing, the Director of Human Resources will convene an appeal hearing to be heard by the next tier of manager, normally the Dean of School, or the Director of Service. Where the Dean or Director of Service has already been involved in the grievance, the appeal will normally be heard by the Deputy Vice Chancellor or the Chief Operating Officer, or their nominee. The person hearing the appeal will be accompanied by a HR representative, who has not previously been directly involved in the grievance.

The person hearing the appeal must not have been previously directly involved in any way with the grievance. The person hearing the appeal will convene an appeal hearing to take place within 21 days of receipt of the written statement. 

The employee may be accompanied by a work colleague, or a union representative at this meeting. The employee’s companion will be allowed to address the appeal hearing in order to:

  • Put the employee’s case
  • Sum up the employee’s case
  • Respond on the employee’s behalf to any view expressed at the hearing
  • Confer with the employee during the hearing
  • Question any witnesses appearing at the hearing.

The normal procedure to be followed at the grievance appeal hearing is as follows:

  • The employee (or representative) presents their case and may call their witnesses, who may be questioned by the employee (or representative), the management representative and the person hearing the appeal.
  • The management representative shall reply and may call witnesses, who may be questioned, as above.
  • The employee (or representative) shall sum up their case
  • The management representative shall sum up management’s case
  • The parties shall withdraw while the person hearing the appeal, together with the appointed HR representative, reaches a decision.
  • The decision may be given orally to both parties, if practicable, but in any case will be conveyed in writing within 10 days of the conclusion appeal hearing. The written statement of the decision will include details of the reasons upon which it is based. This decision will be final.

Time limits

In exceptional circumstances, it may be necessary to extend the time limits set out in the above procedure. Wherever possible any extension to the time limits will be mutually agreed.

Vexatious or malicious grievances

An employee, who raises a grievance that is not upheld and is found to be vexatious or malicious, may face disciplinary action.

Former employees

Grievances may be raised by former employees after their employment has ended, provided that the written grievance is received by the Director of Human Resources within 28 days of the date of termination of employment.

A modified procedure will apply in these circumstances which will involve an appropriate investigation to the grievance, following which a written response will be sent to the employee, normally within 28 days of receipt of the grievance letter. Any decision contained within the written response will be final.

Mediation

If either the employee, or the manager, considers that the matter might be best resolved through mediation, they should refer it to the Director of Human Resources, as soon as possible. The Director of Human Resources will arrange for a mutually agreeable third party, who may be a suitably experienced manager, or colleague from another organisation, e.g. ACAS, to assist the parties in trying to resolve the matter.

An employee participating in mediation to resolve an issue, under this policy, will not subsequently be debarred from either commencing, or taking, such procedures further.

Status quo

Where a grievance arises out of any proposal to change existing practices or conditions of service, the ‘status quo’ shall prevail until these procedures have been exhausted, unless it is necessary for legal, safety or urgent operational reasons for management to take action immediately. In such cases, the senior manager responsible, in consultation with the Director of HR, will advise the parties concerned and confirm in writing the overriding considerations involved. This is without prejudice to either party’s position.