Introduction to this document

Failure to attend grievance meeting letter

If an employee simply fails to turn up to a pre-arranged grievance meeting without any apparent reason or explanation, use our letter to promptly address that situation.

A re-arranged meeting

It’s important that you deal with an employee’s grievance in a fair and transparent way. If you’ve not been able to resolve the grievance informally first, an important aspect of this is the grievance meeting, which is when the employee has the opportunity to explain their grievance and how they think it should be resolved, before you take your decision on whether to uphold it in full or part or to reject it. However, what if the employee fails to turn up to the meeting? This is more likely to happen when the employee is already absent from work. If they’ve asked in advance for it to be postponed due to illness, annual leave, their chosen companion not being available or some other good reason, then you should rearrange it for a later date - use our Letter Rescheduling Grievance Meeting. Even if the employee fails to attend without giving any reason, it’s still advisable to rearrange the meeting because at that stage you don’t know why they didn’t turn up, so you can’t make assumptions. In this scenario, use our Failure to Attend Grievance Meeting Letter. You can then try to find out the employee’s reason for their non-attendance before deciding whether to go ahead with the rearranged meeting in their absence if they fail to turn up a second time.

Acas Code of Practice

The Acas Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures says that the parties should make every effort to attend the meeting. However, it doesn’t state what should happen if the employee then fails to attend. That said, what the Code says about disciplinary hearings is that where an employee is persistently unable or unwilling to attend the hearing, the employer should make a decision on the evidence available, so there’s no reason why the same principle shouldn’t apply equally to grievance meetings. Therefore, if the employee is repeatedly unable or unwilling to attend, go ahead with the grievance meeting in their absence. Do try to hold the meeting at least twice first though and be flexible if the employee is absent due to genuine illness.

Letter contents

Our letter notes that the employee failed to attend the grievance meeting without requesting that it be rescheduled and without providing any reason for their non-attendance. It then emphasises the importance of their having the full opportunity to explain their grievance. Finally, it reschedules the meeting for an alternative date and warns the employee that it’s unlikely you will postpone it again unless there are exceptional, unforeseeable circumstances, so if they fail to turn up again without good reason, the meeting will go ahead in their absence. Where the employee is a repeated no-show, making two attempts to hold the meeting should be enough to show you’ve acted fairly. Remember though that you still need to actually hold the meeting before taking your decision, so make careful notes of it.