Introduction to this document

Grievance meeting order of proceedings

Managers need to conduct grievance meetings in a constructive and fair manner, allowing the employee to fully explain their grievance and state how they think it should be resolved. Our document will help managers ensure they cover everything that needs to be dealt with in a logical and fair order.

Acas Code of Practice

The Acas Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures sets out the principles of fairness for handling disciplinary and grievance matters in the workplace. This will always include holding a formal grievance meeting with the employee to discuss their written grievance. Following the meeting, you should then decide on what action, if any, to take and you should write to the employee letting them know the outcome and informing them that they can appeal if they’re not content with it.

Right to be accompanied

Under s.10 of the Employment Relations Act 1999, employees generally have a right, if they make a reasonable request, to be accompanied at a grievance meeting by either a fellow worker or a trade union official or trade union representative. However, this right only applies if the grievance meeting is to deal with a complaint about the performance of a duty you owe to the employee, e.g. a complaint that you’re not honouring their employment contract or you’re breaching legislation. So it won’t necessarily apply to all grievance meetings. If the employee’s chosen companion is not available at the time proposed, and the employee proposes another time that is reasonable and falls within five working days of the date originally proposed, you must postpone the meeting to the date and time proposed by the employee. The companion should be allowed to address the meeting to put and sum up the employee's case, respond on behalf of the employee to any views expressed at the meeting and confer with the employee during it. The companion does not, however, have the right to answer questions on the employee's behalf, address the meeting if the employee does not wish it or prevent you from explaining your case.

Order of proceedings

Our Grievance Meeting Order of Proceedings is intended to ensure that the grievance meeting is conducted in an open and fair manner. It’s important to get it right; you risk a constructive dismissal claim if you don’t and the employee resigns as a result. So our order of proceedings comprises a series of points to assist the chair of the meeting to cover everything in a logical order. This includes introducing the parties, allowing the employee to explain their grievance and present any evidence, summing up and informing the employee when they can expect a decision. If you follow our order, you’ll comply with the Acas Code of Practice and your meeting process will be fair. Make sure the meeting is chaired by a manager who’s not the subject of the grievance or isn’t involved in it. Ideally, it should be the employee’s line manager but this might not be possible.


The Acas Code of Practice provides that you should also consider adjourning the meeting for any investigation that may be necessary. Ideally, you will have carried out some investigation when you received the employee’s grievance. However, our document also covers this possibility, for example to enable you to gather further information or investigate any new allegations.