Grievance Policy and Procedure

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1 Policy No: PP02 Version: 7.0 Name of Policy: Grievance Policy and Procedure Effective From: 08/01/2016 Date Ratified 07/12/2015 Ratified Human Resources Committee Review Date 01/12/2017 Sponsor Director of Strategy and Transformation Expiry Date 06/12/2018 Withdrawn Date This policy supersedes all previous issues. Grievance Policy and Procedure v7

2 Version Control Version Release Author/Reviewer Ratified by/ Date Authorised by 3.0 Oct 2003 JCC 27/09/2006 Changes 4.0 May 2007 HR Committee 14/05/ /08/2011 K Ward HR Committee 06/06/ /07/2012 K Ward HR Committee 11/06/ /01/2016 G K Forsyth HR Committee 07/12/2015 Reduced steps within the procedure. Combines the Disputes Procedure PP13 which will be removed from circulation Grievance Policy and Procedure v7 2

3 Contents Section Page 1 Introduction Policy scope Aim of policy Duties (roles and responsibilities) Definitions Status Quo Grievance Procedure stage 1 (Informal resolution/mediation) Grievance Procedure stage 2 (formal resolution) Appeals Representation Collective Grievances Timescales Training and dissemination Equality and diversity Monitoring the policy Consultation and review Implementation of policy (including raising awareness) References Associated documentation Appendices 1 Grievance Notification Form Internal Mediation Grievance Hearing Process guidance Grievance Policy and Procedure v7 3

4 Grievance Policy and Procedure 1 Introduction 1.1 Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust is committed to open and honest communication, recognising the importance of maintaining good employment relationships with all staff and seeks, wherever possible, to resolve problems or concerns which arise in the course of employment at an early stage. 1.2 It is hoped that most problems can be dealt with promptly, through informal discussions with the employee and their immediate manager, however, the Trust recognises that from time to time, staff may seek to raise and address their grievance formally. This policy sets out the procedure to be followed to ensure that grievances are dealt with in a fair and consistent manner, and also sets out the standards and responsible use of the procedure expected of managers, employees and their representatives to ensure that effective delivery of Trust services is maintained. 1.3 This policy incorporates best practice, ACAS guidance and the principles and values of the NHS constitution. 2 Policy scope 2.1 This policy applies to all current employees of the Trust. 2.2 This policy does not apply to grievances regarding the application of other Trust policies or procedures. The appeal mechanism attached to the relevant policy/procedure should be followed in such circumstances. 2.3 This policy does not apply to concerns about either individual or collective pay banding reviews these are dealt with under the terms of a separate procedure (PP32). The appeals mechanism within that policy should be followed where there is dissatisfaction with the JE process. 2.4 The policy does not apply to cases of alleged harassment and bullying. The Trust s Mutual respect in the workplace Policy PP17a and Harassment and Bullying procedure PP17b should be followed. 2.5 The policy does not apply to complaints under the Public Disclosure Act, i.e., Raising Concerns at Work Policy PP35. 3 Aim of policy 3.1 This procedure is designed to provide a clear process to investigate and, where possible, resolve grievances which arise, in a timely, reasonable and objective manner. A key aim of the policy, therefore, is to diminish the likelihood of grievances leading to disputes. 3.2 All grievances will be treated seriously, and dealt with as quickly as practicable, and as close as possible to their point of origin. Complaints made under this procedure will be treated with discretion, however, there may be circumstances where grievances cannot be investigated formally on an entirely confidential basis. 3.3 The Trust recognises that setting out a grievance in writing is not easy especially for those employees whose first language is not English or who have difficulty expressing Grievance Policy and Procedure v7 4

5 themselves on paper. In these circumstances the employee should seek help from a work colleague, a staff representative or a learning representative 4 Duties (Roles and Responsibilities) The Executive Team The Executive Team are accountable for Trust-wide monitoring of and compliance with the policy. Managers Managers must be familiar with and comply with the requirements of this policy. They must also ensure that their staff are aware of and adhere to this policy. Managers should aim to create a working environment where staff are able to raise concerns about matters affecting their employment. They must ensure that they remain impartial and objective and fully engage with the grievance process in order to resolve grievances wherever possible. In conducting an investigation, they must be thorough and fair, seeking advice from HR where appropriate,. Staff Staff are responsible for attempting to resolve grievances informally in the first instance and as early as possible. Staff must act in good faith in raising a grievance and comply with the policy. They are responsible for co-operating fully in the grievance process, ensuring that the grounds of their grievance are clearly stated by using the Grievance notification form (Appendix 1). Staff are also responsible for attending meetings arranged by management and arranging for their own trade union/professional organisation representation or support during the process. Staff Representatives Staff representatives are responsible for providing advice and support in the application of this policy/procedure. They are also required to comply with the policy, ensuring that they are familiar with the case and support their members in setting out their grievance in writing should also engage who have a grievance and supporting them throughout this procedure. 5 Definitions 5.1 A Grievance is defined as a source of dissatisfaction to an employee or group of employees in connection with their employment (subject to section 2). It is a concern, problem or complaint which typically, but not exhaustively, includes: Terms and conditions of employment, Health and Safety, New working practices Working environment. 5.2 A Collective Grievance exists where a group of individuals wish to pursue a common grievance, i.e., a matter which is based upon similar of the same facts and which affects them all equally. In these circumstances, the process in Section 6.2 should be followed. Grievance Policy and Procedure v7 5

6 5.3 A Vexatious Grievance will be considered to be where, after investigation; the grievance is based upon deliberate misrepresentation the employee(s) continue to pursue a grievance where the processes within the policy have been fully and properly implemented and exhausted the grievance lacks serious value or purpose or the grievance has not been made in good faith 5.4 Victimisation This occurs where an employee is discriminated against or disadvantaged in some way for raising a grievance, or being involved in an investigation into a grievance. See section Status quo The conditions prevailing prior to the management action, or lack of action which precipitated the grievance. (See section 6.3) 5.6 Mediation 6 Status Quo Is a voluntary, confidential and alternative form of dispute resolution. It involves a neutral, impartial third party. Further guidance is available in section 7.5 and Appendix Where a grievance relates to a change in terms and conditions introduced without consultation and without notice being given, the status quo (section 5) would normally be automatically applied and will remain in place pending the outcome of the grievance. 6.2 In circumstances other than in 6.3.1, it is the employee s responsibility to request that the status quo is applied when raising the grievance. The spirt of the status quo intended to ensure that the outcome of the grievance is not prejudiced until the process, and any appeal, is exhausted. 6.3 However, there may be circumstances where it is not possible to agree to revert to a status quo, for example, if patient care is jeopardised or adversely affected, or, there is a potential health and safety risk, or, such arrangements would expose the Trust to an extreme financial risk, or, such arrangements could potentially risk contravening a legal requirement. In such circumstances, there should be a discussion involving the HR department and appropriate staff side representative before the employee(s) is advised of the decision, including the reasons. 7 Informal Resolution (Stage 1) 7.1 Before considering use of the formal procedure, there is an expectation that all parties first seek to resolve any concern, problem or complaint informally. Therefore an employee who has a grievance should, in the first instance, raise the matter informally with his/her immediate manager. Where the grievance relates to the immediate manager and the employee does not feel able to discuss the matter with him/her, the employee should Grievance Policy and Procedure v7 6

7 attempt to raise the matter with the level of management senior to the immediate manager, normally within the same Business Unit/department, or seek advice from HR. 7.2 The manager should arrange to meet with the employee within 14 calendar days, unless there are exceptional circumstances, to explore the nature of the grievance and discuss potential options to resolve the matter informally. 7.3 Where the grievance is resolved informally, the manager will notify the employee, in writing, of the outcome and the grievance will be regarded as closed. 7.4 If the grievance is not resolved at this level, the employee has the right to raise the matter through the formal grievance procedure as detailed in Section Alternatively an employee(s) or the manager may request that the matter is dealt with through internal/external mediation, depending on the nature of the grievance. The grievance procedure will be suspended pending the outcome of mediation. Further guidance on mediation is shown at Appendix 2 8 Formal Resolution (Stage 2) 8.1 Where a satisfactory outcome has not been achieved at stage 1 or by mediation, the employee may raise a grievance formally. The employee will be required to complete a written explanation of the grievance (using Appendix 1). This form should be sent to an appropriate manager who is senior to the manager involved in the grievance. 8.2 The manager will acknowledge, in writing, receipt of the grievance within 7 calendar days and the employee will be invited to a formal meeting to discuss the grievance. This meeting will be held within a maximum of 14 calendar days of receipt of the written grievance. Notification of the meeting should be in writing to the employee and should provide sufficient notice to allow the employee to arrange representation. Note: If the matter is complex or if relevant personnel are unavailable, it may not be possible to meet those timescale and in those circumstances, the employee should be notified of the reasons for delay. 8.3 At the meeting the employee will be given the opportunity to restate their grievance (the procedure for conducting a grievance is attached at (Appendix 3). 8.4 Following the meeting, the manager will inform the employee, in writing, within 7 calendar days of their decision. This letter should contain: A summary of the nature of the grievance The decision, and if not upheld an explanation. Details of the right to appeal against the decision.( in line with section 9) 9 Appeals (Stage3) 9.1 Where an employee is dissatisfied with the decision at stage 2, they have the right to appeal. A letter of appeal should be submitted to the Deputy Director of HR within 14 calendar days of receipt of the letter confirming the outcome of the stage 2 hearing. 9.2 The Deputy Director of HR will acknowledge receipt of the letter of appeal within 7 calendar days and will make arrangements for a senior manager (i.e., above that which heard the original grievance at stage 2) to hear the appeal as soon as practicable. Grievance Policy and Procedure v7 7

8 9.3 The process for conducting an appeal is similar to that in Appendix The manager hearing the appeal will confirm the decision in writing to the employee within 7 calendar days of the appeal meeting. If this is not possible, the employee should be given an explanation of the delay. 9.5 The outcome of the appeal concludes the Trust s grievance procedure 9.6 For posts directly accountable to the Chief Executive, grievances should be raised with the Chief Executive at Stage I. If the issue is not satisfactorily resolved at the informal stage, the formal stage 2 grievance will be heard by the Chairman and the employee will have a right of appeal to a sub- committee of the Trust Board comprising of an Executive Director, a Non- Executive Director and a senior HR manager. 10 Representation 10.1 An employee lodging a grievance has the right to be accompanied at all formal stages of the procedure by a representative of their staff organisation, a work colleague or a friend not acting in a professional capacity Whilst it is not normally expected that full time/regional officers will be involved prior to Stage 3, in certain circumstances this may be appropriate e.g. where a trade union representative is raising a grievance or there is no local representation available It is the employee s responsibility to ensure representation at grievance meetings. If the chosen representative is unavailable on the proposed meeting date, the meeting may be postponed on request by no more than 5 working days. If the representative is still unavailable, it is expected that the employee will make alternative arrangements to be accompanied Failure to attend meetings without good reason, or repeated failure to attend, may lead to the meeting being held and a decision reached in the employee s absence on the basis of information available at the time At each formal stage the manager hearing the grievance will be accompanied by a management representative who has not been involved with the grievance or by an appropriate HR representative. 11 Collective Grievance 11.1 Where a group of employees are aggrieved about an issue which affects them all, the process will follow the same format as the individual grievance process with the following exceptions, The grievance notification form must indicate the names and include the signature of each individual raising the grievance; A spokesperson should be identified to attend grievance meetings. The employees involved must sign to confirm that they agree with the spokesperson nominated to act on their behalf. Depending on the number of employees involved and the unions/professional bodies of which they are members, it may be appropriate to have more than 1 spokesperson to attend 11.2 If the informal stage is unsuccessful, the spokesperson should follow the next appropriate stage of the procedure. Grievance Policy and Procedure v7 8

9 12 Timescales 12.1 Grievances should be raised within 1 month from the date the matter occurred, and will normally be disregarded if raised outside this timeframe, unless there are mitigating circumstances Once a grievance had been raised, it is important that matters are dealt with promptly and unnecessary delays will not be acceptable. Where a manager does not respond within the appropriate timescale at any of the Stages and no extension has been agreed, the individual has the right to refer the grievance to the next stage Unavailability to attend meetings due to representation is covered at Section Other reasons for non- attendance/absence must be notified immediately in order to minimise delays. If the employee is likely to be absent due to illness for more than 7 days, an occupational health assessment must be requested to establish if the employee is fit to attend meetings. In the event that the employee is unfit to attend, the manager, HR and the staff representative will discuss with the employee how and when the process can continue Grievances will be deemed to be withdrawn unless they are referred to the next stage of the procedure within 14 calendar days of the written response being received from the previous stage. This date will be clarified in writing to the employee(s) Time limits may be extended by mutual agreement. 13 Training/dissemination Awareness of the policy will be raised at corporate induction and via the HR intranet site. Managers will be provided with training to enable then to deal effectively with grievances and HR advice is available on request. 14 Equality and diversity The Trust is committed to ensuring that, as far as is reasonably practicable, the way we treat staff reflects their individual needs and does not discriminate against individuals or groups on the grounds of any protected characteristic (Equality Act 2010). The Trust recognises the rights that members of staff have to raise concerns about their employment, either on an individual or collective basis. This policy provides a clear framework to enable those concerns to be given due consideration, in a fair manner. Employees should be able to raise grievances without any fear of victimisation or discrimination. The Trust must not discriminate in the way they respond to grievances, and there is a legal duty to monitor staff involved in grievances to identify any sign of disproportionality. There is also a legal duty to make reasonable adjustments for disabled employees. This policy has been appropriately assessed. 15 Monitoring compliance with the policy A register of formal grievances is held in the HR Department and equal opportunities monitoring data is published annually. Compliance with the policy will be monitored and assured through an annual departmental audit. Grievance Policy and Procedure v7 9

10 KPIs To reduce the number of formal grievances and to monitor outcomes. Method By Committee Frequency Report Head of HR HR Annual Committee 16 Consultation and Review This scheme has been reviewed in consultation with the JCC Policy Sub-Group. 17 Implementation of policy (including raising awareness) This scheme will be circulated by the Trust Secretary as detailed in OP27 Policy for the development, management and authorisation of policies. 18 References OP27 Policy for the development, management and authorisation of policies PP32 Job Matching and Evaluation Procedure PP35 Raising Concerns at Work Policy PP17a Mutual Respect in the Workplace Equality Act Associated documentation ACAS Code of Practice: Discipline and grievances at work. Grievance Policy and Procedure v7 10

11 GATESHEAD HEALTH NHS FOUNDATION TRUST Appendix 1 GRIEVANCE NOTIFICATION FORM Please tick as appropriate Individual Collective Please attach a list of employee names and job titles Name(s): Job Title: Ward/Department: Contact Details: Name of Trade Union(s)/Professional Body/ies: Tel No: Address: Name of Representative(s): Representative(s) contact details: Date of Occurrence(s): Tel No: Address: Briefly outline what action(s) you have taken to try to resolve your grievance informally (Stages 1) and why you remain dissatisfied. Please attach any relevant correspondence or documents. Briefly outline the nature of your grievance below. (Please attach additional pages if necessary): Please indicate what you would consider a satisfactory outcome. Signature(s): Use a separate sheet if necessary Date: Grievance Policy and Procedure v7 11

12 Appendix 2 Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust Internal Mediation ACAS describes mediation as a completely voluntary and confidential form of alternative dispute resolution. In the workplace, it may provide a more informal approach to resolve an issue. It involves an independent, impartial person helping two or more individuals or groups reach a solution that is acceptable to everyone. The mediator can talk to both sides separately or together. Mediation is most effective before positions become entrenched. Ownership for the process rests with the staff being mediated. Mediation may be appropriate where a workplace relationship has broken down or become impaired, or there is interpersonal conflict and communication has become difficult. This may be as a result of perceived behaviours. Mediation may not be suitable in all situations. Mediation should not be an option of first resort. Staff should be encouraged to speak to each other or talk to their line manager before seeking a solution through mediation. Accredited Trust Mediators have been identified and trained to provide a mediation service to any member of staff upon request. They are not Directorate or Specialty specific. Accredited Mediators are listed on the Trust internet. Terms of Reference If mediation is requested, the Mediator will seek to facilitate the following: Explain the mediation process. Ask questions that help to uncover underlying problems, assist the parties to understand the issues and help them clarify the options for resolving their difference or dispute. To restore and maintain the employment relationship wherever possible. To focus on working together to go forward, not from the mediator. To take charge of the process of seeking to resolve the problem but not the outcome. The mediator is not there to judge, to say one person is right and the other is wrong, or to tell those involved in the mediation what they should do. To ensure all parties are aware that confidentiality is essential during this process. The outcome and any agreement following mediation may only be disclosed to colleagues or their managers, if all parties agree. The only exceptions are where, for example, a potentially unlawful act has been committed or there is a serious risk to patient care or health and safety. A list of accredited Trust mediators is available on the Trust s Intranet. NB: Advice should be sought from the relevant Senior Human Resources Manager as to who the most appropriate mediator may be in each situation. Grievance Policy and Procedure v7 12

13 Appendix 3 Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust Grievance Hearing Procedure This is an example grievance hearing process The person conducting the hearing will introduce those present and outline the process for the hearing, including the use of adjustments. At the hearing of a grievance the following procedure shall be observed: (a) The employee or his/her representative shall state their case in the presence of Management and may call witnesses. (b) Management shall have the opportunity to ask questions of the employee, his/her representative and witnesses. (c) The person(s) hearing the grievance shall have the opportunity to ask questions of the employee, his/her representative and witnesses. (d) The employee or his/her representative shall have the opportunity to re-examine his/her witnesses on any matter referred to in their examination by the person(s) hearing the grievance and by Management. (e) Management shall put their case in the presence of the employee and his/her representative and may call witnesses. (f) The employee and his/her representative shall have the opportunity to ask questions of Management and their witnesses. (g) The person9s) hearing the grievance shall have the opportunity to ask questions of Management and their witnesses. (h) Management shall have the opportunity to re-examine their witnesses on any matter referred to in their examination by the person(s) hearing the grievance and by the employee or his/her representative. (i) (j) Management and the employee, or his/her representative shall have the opportunity to sum up their case if they so wish. The employee or his/her representative shall have the right to speak last. In summing up, neither party may introduce any new matters. Nothing in the foregoing procedure shall prevent the person or persons hearing the grievance from inviting either party to clarify or amplify any statement he/she may have made; or from asking him/her such questions as may be necessary to ascertain whether or not he/she proposes to call any evidence in respect of any part of his/her statement, or alternatively whether he/she is in fact claiming that the matters are within his/her own knowledge, in which case he/she will be subject to examination as a witness under (b) or (f) above. Grievance Policy and Procedure v7 13

14 (k) The person or persons hearing the grievance may, at their discretion, adjourn the hearing in order that further evidence may be produced by either party to the dispute, or for any other reason. (l) Management, the employee and his/her representative shall withdraw. (m) The person(s) hearing the grievance, with the officer charged with providing secretarial and procedural assistance shall deliberate in private, only recalling both parties to clear points of uncertainty on evidence already given. If recall is necessary, both parties shall return even when only one is concerned with the point giving rise to doubts. IMPORTANT NOTE Management in the context of this procedure may be a manager, or a representative from the Human Resources Department who may be accompanying or be accompanied by the manager, or who may call the management as a witness at the hearing. Grievance Policy and Procedure v7 14

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