Kildare County Council. Grievance Policy and Procedure

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1 Grievance Policy and Procedure Author: LGMA Creation Date: June 2016 Áras Chill Dara, Devoy Park, Naas, Co. Kildare Grievance Policy and Procedure June 2016 Page 1

2 Grievance Policy and Procedure 1. Grievance Policy Statement 1.1 is committed to working to maintain a workplace environment that provides a high quality service in an atmosphere of respect, collaboration, openness, safety and equality. All who work in are expected to adhere to the Code of Conduct for Employees (2007). Any employee concern shall be followed through to resolution or determination; employees who raise concerns/make a complaint shall not be victimised. 1.2 acknowledges that most problems concerning an individual employee and his/her employment will be dealt with in the course of the normal working relationship between the employee concerned and his/her immediate supervisor and/or via the Performance Management and Development System (PMDS). 1.3 s Grievance Policy and Procedure aims to provide a framework for dealing promptly and fairly with individual employee concerns or complaints about working environment, terms and conditions or workplace relationships which have not been or cannot be resolved through the normal working relationship. This Grievance Policy and Procedure will not apply to complaints of discrimination/harassment/bullying to which the Dignity at Work Policy applies. 1.4 All employees are obliged to comply and co-operate with the Grievance Policy and Procedure. Failure to comply with the Grievance Policy and Procedure will be considered as a breach of discipline and the disciplinary procedures will be applied. Grievance Policy and Procedure June 2016 Page 2

3 2. Purpose of the Policy 2.1 The purpose of this policy and procedure is to: provide practical guidance on the definition of a grievance; provide a framework within which an employee can raise any concern(s) or complaint(s) about their working environment, their terms and conditions or their workplace relationships and to ensure that they are resolved or determined appropriately (except for complaints of discrimination/harassment/bullying to which the Dignity at Work policy applies). outline the s agreed procedure in relation to dealing with grievances in employment. 3. Scope 3.1 This policy and procedure applies to all employees employed by Kildare County Council. 4. Employee Awareness 4.1 All employees of are obliged to familiarise themselves with Kildare Council s Grievance Policy and Procedure. The policy will be provided as part of induction and general employee awareness activities. Employees shall be required to acknowledge receipt of the Policy. 5. Freedom of Information and Data Protection 5.1 Records created, maintained and stored by are subject to a range of legislation including Freedom of Information (FOI) and Data Protection. shall comply with the National Records Retention Policy (2001) and any other relevant records retention policies. Grievance Policy and Procedure June 2016 Page 3

4 6. Monitoring and Review 6.1 shall monitor the implementation of and compliance with the policy and will review it on a regular basis. 6.2 This policy shall be reviewed within three years of publication and may be amended from time to time, with prior consultation, as is deemed necessary. Employees and staff representatives shall be notified of any changes. 7. General Principles 7.1 The procedure complies with the general principles of natural justice and fair procedures which include: that employees grievances are fairly addressed; that employees are given the opportunity to avail of the right to be accompanied by a work colleague or represented by a recognised Trade Union representative (management reserve the right to be represented during the procedure as appropriate); that employees have the right to a fair resolution or determination of the issues concerned. The resolution or determination will take into account representations made by, the relevant employees or by their representatives within the procedure and any other relevant and appropriate information, evidence, factors or circumstances. 8. Definitions 8.1 A grievance may arise in circumstances where an employee has a concern in relation to his/her terms and conditions of employment, working environment or workplace relationships, which has not been resolved/cannot be resolved through normal workplace relationships. 8.2 It is recognised that there are different types of grievance that may need to be handled in different ways depending on the nature of the problem. It is important that grievances are not misinterpreted or incorrectly defined, for example concerns which relate to discrimination/harassment/bullying under the Dignity at Work Policy or disclosure of a relevant wrongdoing under the Protected Disclosures Policy. Grievance Policy and Procedure June 2016 Page 4

5 9. Approach to Resolution 9.1 It is acknowledged by all parties to this agreement that grievances are best resolved as close to the source of the dispute as possible. 9.2 It is the responsibility of management and employees to seek to ensure good working relationships and the resolution or determination of work related personal/interpersonal issues and matters of conduct. 9.3 will provide guidance on the appropriate policies and procedures that apply. 9.4 The essential elements of any procedure for dealing with grievance issues is that the procedures adopted are fair and that employees have an opportunity if required to appeal a determination or outcome of the grievance procedure. 9.5 The primary approach is that Grievance issues are, where possible, resolved at local level as close to the dispute as possible in an informal manner as set out in this Policy. 9.6 Where resolution at local level has not been successful, mediation will be organised. 9.7 Where resolution is not possible, the Grievance Policy provides for a formal process to deal with the Grievance. 9.8 The formal procedures applied shall comply with the general principles of natural justice and fair procedures including that: i. details of the grievance be put to any other employees concerned and/or to as appropriate; ii. any employee(s) concerned and/or be given the opportunity to respond fully to any such allegations or complaints; iii. the employee(s) concerned is/are given the opportunity to be accompanied by a work colleague or represented by a recognised Trade Union representative; iv. the employee(s) concerned has/have the right to a fair and impartial resolution or determination of the grievance taking into account the grievance itself, any and all responses and any other relevant or appropriate information and evidence factors or circumstances; and v. the employee concerned is given an opportunity to appeal a determination or outcome of the Grievance Procedure. Grievance Policy and Procedure June 2016 Page 5

6 10. Guidance and Assistance 10.1 It is recognised that there are different types of grievance that may need to be handled in different ways. Employees with grievances should seek guidance from the following in accordance with s policies in this area with a view to pursuing their complaint under the appropriate policy and procedure: Line Manager/Supervisor Senior Executive Officer/Senior Engineer (& analogous grades) Director of Service Human Resources Officer Employee Assistance/ Staff Welfare Officer Equality Officer Designated Contact Person Shop Steward/Union Representative 11. Informal Procedure for dealing with Grievances 11.1 The aim of the grievance procedure is to resolve the grievance fairly, quickly and as close as possible to the point of origin. The overall intention is to ensure that minor matters do not develop into major disputes. It is generally advisable for the first stage of the procedure to be addressed between the employee and his/her immediate supervisor/line manager. Accordingly, the matter may be resolved without the need to involve a higher level of management and this also helps to underline the authority of the first line supervisor Any employee who feels that he/she has a grievance in respect of any matter regarding his/her employment shall, in the first instance, raise it informally with his/her immediate supervisor/manager. Most complaints and grievances are resolved at this level within a reasonable timeframe It may be necessary to seek additional assistance to resolve the issue even at informal level. If appropriate, Mediation/Alternative Dispute Resolution can be utilised to assist with the resolution Where the informal approach is not possible or does not provide a resolution the formal grievance procedure can be utilised. Grievance Policy and Procedure June 2016 Page 6

7 11.5 Grievances may also be raised directly through the formal procedure in certain circumstances if that is deemed to be more appropriate. 12. Formal Procedure for dealing with Grievances 12.1 Where the grievance cannot be resolved informally and the employee wishes to pursue the grievance, a formal grievance procedure is available The formal grievance procedure provides for the employee to refer the grievance to the relevant line manager at the earliest opportunity, but in any event within a reasonable time-scale. In certain circumstances, the grievance may be raised at the next level. At this stage, the grievance must be recorded in writing by or on behalf of the complainant The written grievance will be dealt with by an examination or investigation as determined by Management. Such an examination or investigation can be undertaken either internally by an appropriate line manager of Kildare County Council or by an appropriate external person engaged for that purpose The examaination and/ or investigation will be undertaken and conducted in accordance with s approach to examinations and investigations generally The relevant line manager will make a determination based on the outcomes, findings and any recommendations of the examination or investigation. This will be recorded and communicated to the employee. 13. Appeals 13.1 If the employee is dissatisfied with the determination, the employee may appeal the determination, in writing, to the next management level/or in certain circumstances to the HR Officer, within 10 working days, stating the grounds for the appeal The appeals process will invole a review of the process that was undertaken to deal with the grievance and will provide a determination of the issue. The appeals process will not normally involve a new investigation Should the employee remain dissatisfied with the internal determination the employee may refer the matter to the Workplace Relations Commission. Any such Grievance Policy and Procedure June 2016 Page 7

8 referral shall not suspend or defer any action may be required to implement following the internal determination of the grievance An employee may seek to be accompanied by a work colleague or represented by a recognised Trade Union representative at any stage of the procedure. 14. Mediation/Alternative Dispute Resolution 14.1 Mediation is a dispute resolution approach that may be appropriate for dealing with grievances The informal procedure may involve mediation by a mediator who is practiced in dealing with grievances in the workplace On occasions, following the determination of a grievance via the formal Grievance Procedure a mediation process may also assist with the resolution of such matters Mediation is a confidential process for resolving disputes wherein the parties agree to attempt to resolve the issues of the dispute without recourse to the judgement of others with the aid of a mediator. Mediation is an alternative method of resolving grievance issues, seeking to arrive at a solution through an agreement between the parties, rather than through an investigation and determination Mediation is conducted in private, and is directly between the parties concerned, with the support of a Mediator. Either party/parties may withdraw from the process at any time by notifying the Mediator, in writing, that they wish to do so If both parties agree to resolve the issue by mediation at the informal stage, the Human Resource Officer will arrange the mediation process Information disclosed in the course of mediation must remain within the mediation process and must not be given by the Mediator to anyone other than the parties, even if there is a subsequent investigation at formal stage Confidentiality is crucial for this stage to be effective and alleged breaches of confidentiality will be investigated in accordance with the Disciplinary Procedure If mediation breaks down or fails to achieve its goal, resolution may be sought through the formal procedure. It is important to note that a Mediator will not be Grievance Policy and Procedure June 2016 Page 8

9 involved in the formal procedure. Resolving the matter by the formal process may also be considered if one or more of the employees concerned or Kildare County Council consider that it is inappropriate or not possible to resolve the matter informally by mediation. 15. Documentation 15.1 Line Managers/Supervisors involved in a formal grievance procedure shall maintain notes of all discussions The determination and outcome of a grievance procedure will be recorded and retained by in accordance with Clause 5.1 and copied to the relevant employee or employees. 16. Status Quo Clause 16.1 During the course of the Grievance Procedure, the employee shall continue to work, under protest, if necessary, while the grievance is being processed under Kildare County Council s Grievance Policy and Procedure. Employees are required to carry out any legitimate instructions, provided such instructions are not contrary to health and safety requirements, and if aggrieved by such instructions to subsequently pursue the grievance under s Grievance Policy and Procedure. Failure to comply with the Status Quo Clause will be considered as a breach of discipline and the disciplinary procedures will be applied No industrial action of any form will be taken during the course of the procedure. Grievance Policy and Procedure June 2016 Page 9

10 17. Next steps 17.1 After a resolution is found through informal procedures, or through mediation or a determination is made through formal procedures, the parties involved may be given support or periodical reviews, insofar as is reasonable, which, if necessary, could include counseling or other appropriate interventions or support services via the Employee Assistance Programme; 17.2 Where a complaint has been assessed as vexatious through formal procedures, the disciplinary procedures will be applied; 17.3 If the matter is resolved by mediation or informal procedures, no disciplinary action will be taken arising from that mediation. Grievance Policy and Procedure June 2016 Page 10

11 Schematic for dealing with Grievances Appendix 1 Informal Procedure Formal Procedure Employee raises matter informally with immediate supervisor Informal Procedure applied/may involve mediation/ alternative dispute resolution Where grievance cannot be resolved informally, formal procedure used. Employee refers matter to relevant line manager Examination/investigation undertaken The relevant line manager will make a determination based on the outcomes, findings and any recommendations Mediation may assist following the formal procedure Determination will be communicated to employee If the employee is dissatisfied with the determination, the employee may appeal the determination to the next management level/ HR Officer.

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