Introduction to this document

Letter appointing a grievance investigation manager

Where an employee raises a formal grievance, you may need to appoint a manager to conduct an investigation, the purpose of which is to ascertain whether the employee’s complaints may be well founded.

Role of the investigating officer

To comply with the Acas Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures, it’s important that you hold a formal meeting with an employee who has raised a grievance so that they have the opportunity to explain their grievance and how they think it should be resolved. Some grievances will be very straightforward to deal with, but others may require a more detailed investigation to collect all the relevant information on the issues raised, so the Code provides that “consideration should be given to adjourning the meeting for any investigation that may be necessary”. In most cases, an investigating officer will therefore need to be appointed. This should be someone at managerial level and they should not be personally involved in the issues being investigated as their investigation needs to be balanced, impartial and unbiased. The investigating officer’s role is to explore the issues raised by the employee’s grievance and establish any facts promptly. This may involve collecting documentary or physical evidence and, where appropriate, obtaining written statements from any persons who can contribute to the facts of the grievance, i.e. witnesses. You may also choose to conduct the investigation before the formal grievance meeting is held - the meeting doesn’t need to be held and then adjourned. In that case, you would normally interview the employee early in your investigation, to ensure you fully understand their grievance. It’s also possible for the investigating officer and the chair of the grievance meeting to be the same person. In fact, it often helps if the person investigating the grievance also hears it. Having explored all the issues, the investigating officer should ideally then put together a written report - see our Grievance Investigation Report.

Letter contents

Our Letter Appointing a Grievance Investigation Manager:

  • appoints the investigating officer and includes a copy of the employee’s grievance
  • confirms the role
  • sets out timescales for the investigation to be completed
  • provides useful information on how exactly the investigation should be conducted and the various stages the investigating officer needs to go through
  • requires the production of a report on conclusion of the investigation.

Giving the investigating officer so much guidance at the outset will hopefully ensure that the investigation is thorough and done properly. This is particularly important if the manager appointed has little or no previous experience of conducting such investigations.