How do I gather grievance evidence & put together the report?
The final part of the grievance investigation is gathering the evidence and producing your conclusions. In this post I deal with what you need to know to complete the grievance.
Gathering the Evidence
The grievance investigator will need to obtain all the evidence in relation to employee’s grievance which could includes witness evidence, physical evidence and any emails correspondence or emails which might be relevant.
If there is a lot of evidence relevant to the investigation then it is a good idea to collate a list of the evidence and put it all into a folder to make it easy for you and the parties involved to review the evidence.
It is important to remember to take a balanced approach to the investigation which means not only looking for evidence that would go against the grievance but also evidence that would support it.
Hopefully having spoken to the employee you has raised a grievance you will have a good idea of where to find relevant evidence and after talking to any witnesses you will know whether there is any further documents or correspondence that you need to look into.
As previously referred to at the beginning of the investigation, you should have obtained copies of the relevant contracts and procedures. It is a good idea to review these again at the gathering evidence stage.
After obtaining all of the relevant documentation and witness evidence it is necessary to consider the conclusion.
Before writing your report I would recommend just going over the documents again and insuring you have covered everything and if necessary go back and speak to witnesses again and if necessary meet with the employee who raised the original grievance.
Preparing the report can be the most difficult part of the grievance investigation and therefore I would recommend that you follow a set format for your conclusion I would suggest that it is in the following format:
Setting out the details of the parties involved with a brief background to the grievance or summary of the details of the original grievance.
This section of the report should cover how you have undertaken the investigation and the steps you have taken. This way anybody reading the reports will know how you have gone about the process.
This is where you summarise your findings in relation to each part of the employees grievance.
You may find it useful to separate the grievance into several smaller chunks if the grievance is lengthy.
This will be the hardest part of the report to write as you will need to reach a conclusion on your findings and summarise your reasoning for the conclusion.
When writing the report it is important that it is your own conclusions and summaries and that it is written by you rather than somebody from HR. If you do you ask somebody to look over your draft report then you should be very careful about the degree to which you change the report based on their feedback.
There was a recent case in which dismissal of an employee was ruled as being unfair after consideration by the Employment Tribunal and Employment Appeal Tribunal where HR influenced the investigators decision relating to a disciplinary issue. Therefore my advice is always to ensure that you can justify the decision as being your own.
You can read details of the case here.
Following preparation of the grievance report the outcome of the grievance should be communicated to the employee and this can be dealt with either at a meeting or in writing. If you do deal with it by way of a meeting it is prudent to follow up with a letter confirming and providing them with a copy of the grievance report.
If as a result of the grievance investigation and process you find that there are recommendations for changes that the employer or HR should make then it would be good practice to put these into a separate document which you provide to the relevant person or department with a copy of the grievance report so that they can be actioned.
1. Approach writing the grievance report as if you are going to be reading it with no prior knowledge of the situation.
2. Try to be balanced in your report and your conclusions so that it is clear that you have taken a neutral position when investigating the grievance.
3. If you are unsure about the process or the legalities of the grievance investigation then you can seek advice but it should be limited to the process and not the content of the grievance report.
If you would like further information about the grievance process or you would like somebody independent from your business to undertake the grievance investigation please contact email@example.com for a no obligation initial discussion.
In a fortnight I will be concluding this series on Grievances and I will tackle some of the frequently asked questions about grievances. If you have any questions for inclusion do please get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment below.
Don’t forget getting advice from a Solicitor need not be complicated or expensive!