Grievance Procedure. Chris Nash, Associate Director of Human Resources and Workforce Transformation

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1 Grievance Procedure

2 Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust Grievance Procedure Document Type Human Resources Policy Unique Identifier HR-HACW-10 Document Purpose Document Author Target Audience The Trust recognises that circumstances may arise in which an individual feels aggrieved with some aspect of their employment and that an effective procedure should exist for resolving such grievances fairly and as quickly as possible. Chris Nash, Associate Director of Human Resources and Workforce Transformation All Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust staff Responsible Group Quality and Safety Committee Date Ratified 28 th November 2012 Expiry Date 28 th November 2015 The validity of this policy is only assured when viewed via the Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust website (hacw.nhs.uk). If this document is printed into hard copy or saved to another location, its validity must be checked against the unique identifier number on the internet version. The internet version is the definitive version. If you would like this document in other languages or formats (i.e. large print), please contact the Communications Team on or 1

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4 Version History Version Circulation Date 1 December 2011 September October October November 2012 Job Title of Person/Name of Group circulated to Human Resources Team SDU Senior Management Teams JNCC Policy Group JNCC Full Committee Quality and Safety Committee Brief Summary of Change Accessibility Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust has a contract with Applied Language Solutions to handle all interpreting and translation needs. This service is available to all staff in the trust via a free-phone number ( ). Interpreters and translators are available for over 150 languages. From this number staff can arrange: Face to face interpreting Instant telephone interpreting Document translation British Sign Language interpreting Training and Development Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust recognises the importance of ensuring that its workforce has every opportunity to access relevant training. The Trust is committed to the provision of training and development opportunities that are in support of service needs and meet responsibilities for the provision of mandatory and statutory training. All staff employed by the Trust are required to attend the mandatory and statutory training that is relevant to their role and to ensure they meet their own continuous professional development. 3

5 WORCESTERSHIRE HEALTH AND CARE NHS TRUST GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE CONTENTS Page No 1 INTRODUCTION 4 2 EQUALITY OF TREATMENT 4 3 GENERAL PRINCIPLES 4 4 EXCLUSIONS 6 5 MEDIATION 6 6 THE RIGHT TO BE ACCOMPANIED AT FORMAL HEARINGS 7 7 THE GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE 8 8 STATUS QUO 10 9 ASSOCIATED DOCUMENTS 10 APPENDICES 1 STAGES OF THE INDIVIDUAL GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE CONDUCT OF FORMAL STAGE OF GRIEVANCE HEARING AND FORMAL APPEAL HEARING GUIDANCE ON DIGITAL RECORDING OF GRIEVANCE HEARINGS

6 WORCESTERSHIRE HEALTH AND CARE NHS TRUST GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE 1. INTRODUCTION 1.1 This procedure shall apply to all staff employed by Worcestershire Health and Care Trust (the Trust) 1.2 The Trust recognises that circumstances may arise in which an individual feels aggrieved with some aspect of their employment and that an effective procedure should exist for resolving such grievances fairly and as quickly as possible. 1.3 Formal procedures should not exclude an initial informal approach to try to resolve the matter at issue and managers and staff should be encouraged to pursue this approach in the first instance. This should be on the basis of a one to one meeting to try and resolve the issues informally. However, it is accepted that in exceptional circumstances there may be a need to move straight into the formal procedure. 1.4 The employee may be accompanied at all formal meetings by a staff side representative or work colleague. 1.5 The responsibility for progressing a grievance through the procedure lies with the employee or recognised staff side representative who should indicate the intention to proceed to the next stage together with written reasons for continued dissatisfaction. 2. EQUALITY OF TREATMENT The Trust recognises the diversity of its staff and undertakes to apply this policy equitably and fairly irrespective of gender, gender identity, disability, race, age, sexual orientation, religion or belief. In the application of this policy the Trust will recognise its duty to each and every individual employee and will respect their human rights. As an employer it also expects that its employees will treat each other in the same way, as well as patients and clients using its services. Effective action will be taken to deal with discrimination, victimisation or harassment, please see the Equality and Inclusion Policy. 3. GENERAL PRINCIPLES 3.1 Grievances should be resolved as near to the point of origin as possible, normally by the immediate manager. 3.2 The Grievance Procedure provides a framework for employees to raise grievances against the Trust. It is not possible to provide a comprehensive list of all the issues that might give rise to a grievance but examples include: the application of terms and conditions of employment, including policies and procedures, health and safety, new working practices, organisational change and equal opportunities. Employees should not feel victimised or be treated detrimentally for raising grievances. 5

7 3.3 Grievances should be resolved as quickly as possible and in a constructive manner with co-operation from all parties 3.4 If an employee feels that they cannot raise the grievance directly with their immediate manager, then he/she should consult a senior manager or the Human Resources Department or a staff side representative. 3.5 Advice to the manager and employee(s) will be available from the Human Resources Department at any stage of the procedure. 3.6 Employees are encouraged to seek advice and assistance from a staff side representative where applicable. 3.7 An employee who wishes to pursue a grievance should be allowed reasonable time out to seek the advice of their staff side representative. The prior permission of the manager must be obtained which, subject to the operational needs of the service, would not be unreasonably withheld. Should the grievance concern that manager, this initial advice from a staff side representative will have to be sought outside planned working hours unless the employee is happy for that manager to know at this early stage there is an issue. 3.8 Where a grievance is serious or an employee has attempted to raise a problem informally without success, the employee should raise it formally with management in writing. 3.9 Employees who are seconded out of the Trust may raise issues about matters not entirely within the control of the Trust. These should be treated in the same way as grievances within the organisation, with the manager investigating as far as possible and taking action if required and if possible It is acknowledged an employee may have a complaint arising from disciplinary action being taken against them. If these concerns are around the allegations that are part of the disciplinary investigation, or the process, the grievance may be presented as part of the Staff Side/employee case and heard by the disciplinary panel. Because circumstances will vary, each case will be considered individually and the panel will decide at the beginning of the hearing, in which order the evidence is heard. This decision should take into account the Staff Side presentation of the evidence and, if the grievance is upheld, the disciplinary process to date will need to be reviewed by the panel and may need to revert to an earlier stage of the process Where an employee who is subject to disciplinary action raises (or has raised) a grievance unconnected to the disciplinary process or allegations, the grievance process and disciplinary processes will run separately and concurrently. In cases of alleged gross misconduct, where an employee is suspended from work, the grievance will be heard after the disciplinary process has been concluded. 6

8 4. EXCLUSIONS 4.1 The Grievance Procedure is designed to ensure that employees are able to express and seek resolution of any grievance relating to their employment. The Grievance Procedure does not, however, apply to: Any matter which is already the subject of an investigation under another policy. The exception will be the appellant believes the other investigation is outside process. Grievances raised on behalf of two or more employees by a representative of a recognised trade union should be dealt with in accordance with the Trust s Disputes Procedure. Job evaluation/rebanding application of the Agenda for Change process which is covered by the Job Evaluation and Rebanding Policy unless there is a grievance regarding the process which has been followed, Matters which are formally negotiated at national level which are outside the scope of the Trust to resolve A grievance or any other matter which is deemed to be outside the scope of the Trust to resolve. A second grievance cannot be raised on the same or related subject within a period of six months of the conclusion of the process, unless any action agreed as a result of the original grievance has not been completed as agreed. An issue which is the subject of, or more appropriate to the Trust s Disputes process. 5 MEDIATION An independent third party or mediator can sometimes help resolve grievance issues. Mediation is a voluntary process where the mediator helps two or more people in dispute to attempt to reach an agreement. Any agreement comes from those in dispute, not the mediator. The mediator is in charge of the process of seeking to resolve the problem but not the outcome. The grievance procedure can be suspended if mediation is deemed to be an appropriate method of resolving the dispute. The manager will contact the Human Resources Department to arrange a suitable trained mediator who will be from outside of the area where the grievance exists. There are no hard-and-fast rules for when mediation is appropriate but it can be used for: Conflict involving colleagues of a similar job or grade, or between a line manager and their staff At any stage in the process as long as any ongoing formal procedures are put in abeyance, or where mediation is included as a stage in the procedures To rebuild relationships after a formal grievance has been resolved 7

9 To address a range of issues, including relationship breakdown, personality clashes, communication problems, bullying and harassment. Cases unsuitable for mediation Mediation may not be suitable if: Used as a first resort because people should be encouraged to speak to each other and talk to their manager before they seek a solution via mediation The individual bringing a discrimination or harassment case wants it investigated The parties do not have the power to settle the issue One side is completely intransigent and using mediation will only raise unrealistic expectations of a positive outcome. 6 THE RIGHT TO BE ACCOMPANIED AT FORMAL HEARINGS 6.1 Employees have a right to be accompanied by a Staff Side representative or work colleague at a formal hearing. 6.2 The chosen Staff Side representative or work colleague may be a fellow worker, Staff Side representative, or an official employed by a trade union. A trade union representative who is not an employed official must have been certified by their union as being trained to accompany the employee. 6.3 The Staff Side representative/ work colleagues 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 the meeting. The Staff Side representative/ work colleague 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 the employer from explaining their case. 6.4 Work colleagues do not have to accept a request to accompany a worker, and they should not be pressurised to do so. In the same way Staff side representatives who have any issues need to clarify these with their Union. 6.5 Reasonable adjustments will be made for an employee with a disability and for their Staff Side representative/ work colleague if they are disabled. 6.6 The staff side representative/ work colleague and employee will be contacted regarding the mutual agreement of a date and time of the meeting. If the manager or staff side representative/work colleague cannot attend on an agreed date, the employee can suggest an alternative time and date so long as it is reasonable and is not more than five working days after the original date. If a manager/ staff side representative/work colleague is unable to attend the meeting on the agreed date and is unable to rearrange an alternative time and date not more than five working days after the original date a deputy or other appropriate manager/staff side representative work colleague will attend the meeting on their behalf. 8

10 6.7 Before the meeting takes place, the employee must inform the employer who they have chosen as a trade union representative/ companion 7. THE GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE A table outlining brief details of each stage of the procedure can be found in Appendix 1. Whilst the procedure is designed to be a series of progressive stages, it may be necessary, in exceptional circumstances, to proceed directly to the formal stages of the procedure. 7.1 Informal Stage 1 In the first instance an employee should try to resolve the matter informally by raising it with their immediate manager. This informal approach should be on a one-to-one basis, but may also take the form of a facilitated meeting or mediation if all parties agree to this approach. If an employee wishes, a friend or colleague may accompany them for support but cannot participate in the discussion. In exceptional cases, an informal approach may not be appropriate and there may be agreement to proceed immediately to the formal stages 7.2 Formal Stage 2 It is only when the informal approach does not achieve a satisfactory settlement of their grievance that the formal grievance procedure should be invoked. In order to proceed formally, the grievance must be put in writing setting out the nature of the grievance, addressed to the appropriate manager at the next senior level within the Trust who will acknowledge receipt If the grievance is about a manager, it should be submitted to the next senior manager above them. This stage of the procedure should be completed within 28 calendar days of receipt of the grievance by the appropriate manager unless there is a mutual agreement to an extension. Both the manager and employee should raise and deal with the issue promptly and not unreasonably delay meetings, decisions or confirmation of those decisions. Grievances should be put in writing not via and include: The nature of the grievance What was decided and actions taken as a result of informal action Reasons why the employee feels the grievance has not been resolved at the informal stage Desired outcome The manager who was involved at the informal stage should send the following to the Human Resources Department: The nature of the grievance What was decided and actions taken as a result of informal action The reason for the actions 9

11 Any subsequent developments A meeting will be arranged to hear the formal grievance by the Human Resources Department. Panel members will receive the above mentioned documentation together with copies of the management case and the employee s case 7 calendar days prior to the hearing. If only one side has submitted a written case, that will be sent to panel members. Normally the late submission of documentation will not be allowed. However, if either party has a late submission there will be a joint approach to the Chair of the Panel for permission to submit. The decision rests with the Chair. A Service Lead or appropriate senior manager will chair the meeting. They will be supported by another senior manager and Human Resources Manager It should be noted that all formal meetings will be digitally recorded (see Appendix 2) The employee may be accompanied/supported if they wish by a staff representative/work colleague who may outline their grievance and why it remains unresolved. The immediate manager, who may be accompanied by a Human Resources Manager, will be invited to respond. For conduct of meeting see Appendix 1. The panel will adjourn the meeting to make a decision. This decision will be communicated within 7 calendar days in writing to the employee and staff representative/work colleague with the employee s consent. The letter should include a full explanation of how the decision was reached. 7.3 Formal Grievance Appeal Hearing Stage 3 Where the grievance has not been resolved at Stage 2, the employee or staff representative must write to the Head of Human Resources within 14 calendar days of the date of the letter confirming the outcome of the formal grievance meeting, stating the grounds of the appeal. A hearing will be arranged with a panel comprising of a Director or senior manager, another senior manager and Head of Human Resources or Senior Human Resources Manager. The documentation supporting the request should include: The nature of the grievance What was decided and the actions taken Reasons why the employee feels the grievance has not been resolved at the formal stage 2 meeting. Desired outcome The manager who chaired the formal stage 2 grievance meeting will send to the Head of Human Resources: The nature of the grievance 10

12 What was decided and actions taken The reason for the actions Any subsequent developments Details of the arrangements required for the formal appeal hearing and the procedure to be followed during the hearing can be found in Appendix 1. Panel members will receive copies of the above mentioned documentation together with management case and the employee s case 7 calendar days prior to the hearing. If only one side has submitted a written case, that will be sent to panel members. Normally the late submission of documentation will not be allowed. However, if either party has a late submission there will be a joint approach to the Chair of the Panel for permission to submit. The decision rests with the Chair. The hearing will be digitally recorded. The panel s decision will be communicated in writing to the employee and staff side representative/work colleague with the employee s consent with 7 calendar days of the formal appeal hearing taking place, The letter should include a full explanation of how the decision was reached. The decision of the panel will be final and there will be no further right of appeal. The appeal hearing should be completed within 28 calendar days of receipt of the appeal letter unless there is mutual agreement to an extension. 8. STATUS QUO Until all stages in the procedure have been exhausted, the status quo must be maintained. The status quo is defined as the working conditions accepted by custom and practice prior to the raising of the grievance. The only exception to this will be where maintenance of the status quo would be detrimental to service provision. In these circumstances, alternative arrangements agreed between management and the appropriate level of staff representation will be put in place. 9. ASSOCIATED DOCUMENTS Dependent upon the nature of the grievance, please cross reference this policy with: Acceptable Standards of Behaviour Policy Job Evaluation and Reband Policy Disputes Procedure (for collective grievances) Disciplinary Procedure Equality and Inclusion Policy Whistleblowing Policy 11

13 Appendix 1 STAGES OF THE INDIVIDUAL GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE STAGE MANAGEMENT LEVEL PROCESS PARTIES INVOLVED Informal Stage: Stage 1 Aggrieved employee discusses matter with immediate manager as soon as the grievance has been identified. Immediate manager of department in which employee is working e.g. Supervisor/Sister/Charge Nurse/Department Manager. Grievance discussed on a oneto-one basis and may suggest mediation Immediate manager Aggrieved employee companion TIMESCALE WITHIN WHICH TO RESPOND As soon as possible Formal Stage 2: If grievance not satisfactorily resolved at Stage 1, then the aggrieved employee writes to the appropriate manager at the next senior level within the structure Formal Stage 3: If grievance not satisfactorily resolved at Stage 2, then the aggrieved employee writes to the Head of Human Resources within 14days of date of letter confirming the outcome from stage 2. Appropriate manager at the next senior level within the structure Director or senior manager Grievance discussed and the outcome of the meeting should be communicated in writing within 7 days The Human Resources Department will convene a Panel to hear the grievance, in accordance with the procedure Panel comprises 2 appropriate senior managers HR Manager to support panel Others involved are Aggrieved employee Staff Representative or work colleague Immediate Manager HR Manager in support if required Panel comprises: Director or Senior Manager A second senior manager Head of Human Resources or an HR Manager to support the panel Others involved are: Aggrieved Employee Staff side Representative or work colleague Senior Manager from previous stage HR Adviser in support Immediate Manager as witness The senior manager must provide a final response, in writing, to the aggrieved employee within 28 days, unless an extended timescale is mutually agreed. The letter will include an explanation of the decision reached Panel convened within 28 days of receipt of the appeal, unless an extended timescale is mutually agreed. Decision of Panel including an explanation for the decision to be given on the day and confirmed in writing within 7 days of the hearing. 12

14 Appendix 2 CONDUCT OF FORMAL STAGE OF GRIEVANCE HEARING AND FORMAL APPEAL HEARING In order to ensure consistency throughout the Trust, the following arrangements have been agreed through the JNCC and must be followed for every formal Grievance Hearing and appeal. It should be noted that Hearings will be digitally recorded. If anyone attending has a disability and requires special arrangements to be put in place, the HR Department should be notified prior to the hearing. It should be noted that, in exceptional circumstances, a Hearing, which has been arranged, and a date agreed, may be re-arranged at the request of either side on one occasion only. The following applies to hearings at the formal and formal appeal stage: a. It is essential that each party is allocated a separate room. b. The designated Chairperson for the hearing will introduce all parties and briefly outline the issue under discussion. c. The employee or employee s staff side representative/work colleague will then be invited to present the staff side case and explain how they would wish it to be resolved. d. The management representative and the panel will then have the opportunity to ask any questions relating to the staff side case. e. The management representative will then be invited to present the management case. f. The employee or employee s staff side representative/work colleague will then have the opportunity to ask any questions relating to the management case. g. The panel will then ask any final questions ensuring they have elicited all relevant information. An adjournment of the meeting should be considered if it is necessary to investigate any new facts which arise. h. The employee or staff side representative/work colleague shall then be asked to sum up, followed by the management side. i. The panel will then adjourn to make a decision. If any points requiring clarification arise, both sides must be recalled together, even if only one side is concerned. This adjournment can also allow for any further checking of any matters raised, particularly if there is any dispute over facts. j. Once a decision is reached, which is normally on the same day, both sides are recalled and informed together. If a decision cannot be reached immediately, both sides are recalled, given the reasons for this and informed they will be notified of the decision in writing. This will be within five working days of the panel reaching a decision. 13

15 k. The decision must always be clearly set out including the reasons why this is felt appropriate. The panel must provide a written decision which is sent to the employee, or staff side representative. 14

16 GUIDANCE ON RECORDING INVESTIGATORY INTERVIEWS AND HEARINGS Appendix 3 Introduction The recording of interviews and hearings will facilitate full and more accurate records for the investigating officer as well as for the interviewee(s) and, in the case of hearings, the panel members. It is intended to use the facility of recording only for interviews being conducted as part of a formal investigation and, where appropriate, subsequent hearings. This is in order to speed up the process and aid in the production of accurate transcriptions. This applies to all investigations and hearings except in the case of the Grievance Procedure, where there are no interviews. Procedure 1. Once the equipment is set up for use, a check must be made to test that it is fully functional. At the start of any interview or hearing the date, time and location should be recorded. 2. All parties present should introduce themselves to enable later voice identification. 3. If an adjournment is required and agreed the recording will stop and then recommence. 4. Once the recording has been transcribed, a copy of the transcript must be forwarded to the employee. 5. Recordings of interviews will be held securely within the HR Department until the process has reached a conclusion as an accurate reflection of the recording. 6. On request, an individual may receive a copy of the recording relevant to their interview. However, because it will contain identifiable information, this will have to be collected in person from the HR Department. 7. The recording produced as part of an investigation will not go forward to a hearing, the transcript will be used. 15