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How to use a grievance procedure to deal with discrimination and other problems at work

Got a problem at work? Worried about how to deal with it? This guide will show you how you can deal with problems at work using your work's grievance procedure. A grievance procedure is a written policy, setting out the steps you and your employer should follow to resolve a problem.
How to use a grievance procedure to deal with discrimination and other problems at work
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This guide shows you how to use your work’s grievance procedure to deal with problems at work, either because you are being discriminated against, or because of other sorts of problems.

“I was being sexually harassed at work, and I worried that complaining would make things worse. But making a complaint using the grievance procedure was the best thing I could have done. My employers investigated and agreed with my complaint. The worst offender got the sack, and the others got formal warnings.” Lucy, Ipswich

We explain:

  • what a grievance is,
  • why you might want to use your work's grievance procedure to resolve a problem at work,
  • what to think about before you make a complant,
  • the different stages in a grievance procedure and what to do at each stage, step by step,
  • tips about what to put in your letter of complaint, 
  • how to appeal, and
  • where to go for further help.

“I worked in a big restaurant as a waiter. We weren’t allowed to carry personal possessions into the restaurant, and had to leave them in lockers most of which were broken. My phone got stolen, and when my manager wouldn’t do anything about it, I brought a grievance for compensation for my phone, and to get secure storage. They gave me £80 towards a new phone and a padlock for my locker.” Lucca, London

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We would be grateful if you could tell us what you think of this information by completing our Feedback survey. We will use your feedback to seek funding and improve our guides and make sure they are as helpful as possible.


The information in this guide applies to England and Wales. The law is complicated. We recommend you try to get advice from the sources we have suggested.

The cases we refer to are not always real but show a typical situation. We have included them to help you think about how to deal with your own situation.


Logo for the Litigant in Person Support Strategy

This guide was written and produced by Advicenow with funding from the MOJ through the Litigant in Person Support Strategy.

Advicenow would like to thank Judith Emmett for contributing to and advising on this guide.

July 2016
4 Reviews

Grievance procedure

A very detailed and informative guide. It certainly makes the process easier to understand. Getting things done as quickly as possible seems to be the main issue with the strict time limits.
PRM on the 11 / 02 / 2022

Grievance procedure

Very helpful thank you
Zoe cowie on the 09 / 05 / 2020

Grievance Procedure

An excellent guide. Very informative. The information given will help me to go forward in a far more professional manner to resolve my issues with my employer.
Mr Chris B on the 31 / 03 / 2020

Will follow your advice

Good and easy to understand.
on the 18 / 03 / 2019

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