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1 Grievance Policy Controlled document This document is uncontrolled when downloaded or printed. Reference number Version 6 Author & Job Title Executive Lead WHHT: HR014 Caroline Lankshear, Head of Employee Relations Director of Human Resources Approved by/date HR Policy Approval Group / February 2017 Ratified by Quality & Safety Group Date ratified March 2017 Committee/individual responsible Workforce Committee Issue date March 2017 Review date March 2020 Target audience Key Words All WHHT Staff Grievance Author: Caroline Lankshear Review Date: March 2020 Page 1 of 14

2 CONTRIBUTION LIST Key individuals involved in developing this version of the document Name Caroline Lankshear Lesley Headland Vicky Houghton Approved by Committee Designation Head of Employee Relations Staffside Chair Staffside Secretary JCC Change History Version Date Author Reason 3 December 2008 Caroline Lankshear & Helen Donovan Out of date policy 4 vember 2010 Caroline Lankshear Out of date policy 5 February 2015 Lucy Mayes & Helen Harper Out of date policy 6 February 2017 Caroline Lankshear Out of date policy Author: Caroline Lankshear Review Date: March 2020 Page 2 of 14

3 Values are essential to West Hertfordshire NHS Trust as they describe the way we work and our vision to deliver the very best care for every patient, every day. Our values are at the heart of what we do and ensure we provide consistency across the Trust and within all our services. All staff must adhere to the Trust values, whatever their role or duty and incorporate the values in all the work they do for WHHT. Our values are Commitment, Care and Quality. Quality Working together to provide the best possible service we can for our patients and their families Striving to deliver best practice and best possible outcomes for all Seeking to improve what we do as an organisation and completing all activities to agreed standards Expecting ourselves and each other to produce high quality work based on evidence of what works Acting in a professional manner at all times Being part of a team that takes pride in their work and their environment Care Making sure that we consider the impact of our decisions on the care of all patients Treating everyone with kindness, compassion, courtesy and respect Listening, and communicating in a way that is clear, straightforward, effective and inclusive Recognising vulnerability and showing empathy Supporting and working with others to provide joined-up, compassionate care Caring for each other, looking after our own wellbeing and that of our colleagues Commitment Doing things that are going to make a positive difference Being dedicated, motivated and optimistic and looking to the future t being afraid to do things differently or to challenge Doing the right thing at the right time in the right place Being flexible when needed, going the extra mile and delivering on our promises Taking responsibility for personal development and performance It is every employee s responsibility to work in a way that is consistent with these values in delivering every element of their role, taking us forward in delivering our mission. Trust policies need to adhere and embed our values. Also see Trust Behaviour Standards on the Intranet for further information. Author: Caroline Lankshear Review Date: March 2020 Page 3 of 14

4 Contents 1. Introduction 5 2. Objectives 5 3. Scope 5 4. Definitions 5 5. Responsibilities 6 6. Time Periods 7 7. Informal Resolution 7 8. Formal Procedure for Settling Grievances 8 9. Appeal Stage Right to be Accompanied Status Quo Collective Grievances Evaluation Measures References Related Policies Equality Impact Assessment Statement 13 Appendices Appendix 1 Format of Grievance Hearing / Appeal Hearing Author: Caroline Lankshear Review Date: March 2020 Page 4 of 14

5 1 INTRODUCTION The Trust is committed to developing and maintaining positive and transparent Employee Relations, which enable employees to raise matters relating to their employment, in the knowledge that every effort will be made to seek a speedy and effective resolution with managers. It is therefore expected that employees and managers will make every effort to resolve issues at the earliest opportunity and at the most local level possible in order to remedy causes of concern and promote future working relationships. This procedure has been developed in line with the ACAS code of practice. 2 OBJECTIVES The purpose of this policy is to produce a unified Trust approach to dealing with grievances. The policy has been produced to ensure that appropriate information is presented in a standard format, is easily accessed by all staff and the process for raising and managing grievances both informally and formally is clear to all. 3 SCOPE The provisions of this policy are available to all employees, except in circumstances where they attempt to invoke the policy in respect of the same, or a related, grievances unless any action decided upon by management to redress the previous grievance has not been implemented within 6 months of the completion of any action under the provisions of this policy. In the event an employee appeals against a sanction applied at either a disciplinary or performance management hearing then this will be heard in accordance with the appeal stage of the respective policy. All other appeals will be heard in line with this policy. 4 DEFINITIONS Grievance A concern, problem or complaint that the employee raises with their employer typically relating to their terms and conditions of employment For the purposes of this procedure a grievance shall be interpreted as a concern, problem or complaint that the employee raises with their employer. This can include: The nature or range of duties Working practices Organisational change Contractual terms and conditions of employment Working environment Management decisions Working Relationships The operation of jointly agreed policies / procedures Handling of sickness absence management Author: Caroline Lankshear Review Date: March 2020 Page 5 of 14

6 The following items are specifically excluded from this procedure: Disciplinary / performance management matters Bullying & Harassment Issues Conditions relating to the NHS Pension Scheme Agenda for Change agreements Whistle blowing / serious concerns relating to health and safety / patient care 5 RESPONSIBILITIES 5.1 Line Manager Responsibilities The line manager must declare any conflicts of interest or involvement in a grievance at the point that it is raised. If, as a result, they are unable to objectively investigate the grievance they should declare this to their manager and an independent manager should be appointed Upon receipt of a formal grievance the manager should acknowledge this in writing to the employee(s) who raised the grievance within 7 days The manager must take all reasonable steps at both the informal and formal stage to resolve the grievance without the need for an appeal Grievances should be dealt with without any undue delay on the part of the manager The manager must provide the employee with the opportunity to discuss their grievance and must communicate the outcome of any grievance in writing to the employee If the outcome of a grievance is appealed the manager must provide the appeal panel with a statement of case 7 days in advance of the meeting 5.2 Employee Responsibilities Employees should make every effort to resolve their grievance at the informal stage prior to raising a formal Grievance under this policy To submit informal and formal grievances in writing using the template available in the grievance section of the Employee Relations Toolkit on the Intranet Formal grievances should clearly state the grounds of the grievance and any actions that have been taken to resolve it informally, including a desired outcome Employees are responsible for co-operating in the grievance procedure and should make every effort to attend any meetings arranged by management Employees are responsible for arranging their own trade union representation or support throughout the grievance procedure There is an expectation that all grievances should be raised in good faith by the employee 5.3 Employee Relations Team Responsibilities To support managers through the formal procedure To provide advice to employees and managers concerning individual issues To facilitate informal meetings on request To support the manager in presenting the management case at a hearing To provide advice and guidance to the panel of a grievance hearing / appeal To record and monitor employee grievances Author: Caroline Lankshear Review Date: March 2020 Page 6 of 14

7 5.4 Trade Union Responsibilities To represent employees through the grievance procedure where they are fully paid up members of that trade union or professional body To make every reasonable attempt to attend meetings at the scheduled time to support employees To adhere to their respective trade union code of conduct when dealing with issues of grievance. 6 TIME PERIODS This policy allows for a grievance to be dealt with or referred to the next stage within a reasonable time frame. Every effort should be made to resolve or progress an issue to the next stage as quickly as possible. All grievances should be dealt with as quickly as possible; however, this should be within a maximum time period of 3 months (including appeal) except where there are circumstances that reasonably prevent this from being the case. Although the time limits are specified maximum limits, this does not prevent staff and the Trust mutually agreeing that a longer time period may elapse. employee will be prevented from taking a grievance through all stages of this procedure where a settlement is not reached at any of the earlier stages. In order for the employee s grievance to be appropriately considered it is expected that incidents that are complained of will have occurred within the last 6 months. Incidents or issues causing concern that occurred more than 6 months ago will not be taken into account when responding to an employee grievance. Similarly, if an employee has already raised a grievance and received a response to their concern, then the specifics of this will not normally be considered within any future grievance submissions unless there is significant and new evidence has been brought forward by the employee which has occurred in the last 6 months. 7 INFORMAL RESOLUTION It is anticipated that in most circumstances employees will be able to discuss and resolve daily working concerns informally in a supportive atmosphere, through discussion between the employee and their immediate line manager. In some circumstances the involvement of an appropriate third party may be appropriate to ensure expediency in resolving differences of opinion. There may be occasions, both in the case of informal and during the formal grievance process, where a manager other than the employee s direct line manager should deal with their grievance. Any informal action should be documented and will be taken in a reasonable timescale that is practicable in the circumstances. Submission of a grievance in writing does not automatically mean implementation of the formal process. Both employees and managers should fully consider the possibility of informal resolution before moving to the formal process. Author: Caroline Lankshear Review Date: March 2020 Page 7 of 14

8 Employees who feel aggrieved should first complete the notification form listing their concerns and then approach their manager to discuss the problem informally. The employee should explain how they think the matter can be resolved. The manager should make discreet investigations in order to resolve the matter promptly and fairly. Where the grievance is about another employee, that employee will be given the opportunity to answer the grievance and put their side of the case to the manager. If the grievance is with the immediate manager, the employee may raise the grievance with the next level of management. A further option if the grievance is with the immediate manager or involves a breakdown of working relationships is for a facilitated meeting arranged in conjunction with Employee Relations team giving the employee the opportunity to address their concerns with the line manager. An ER Adviser will facilitate this meeting and so the employee should contact their ER Adviser if this is their preferred option so that they can co-ordinate the arrangements for this meeting. Following an informal approach, the manager should confirm the response in writing by letter or , making sure that all parts of the grievance raised have been answered. The response should include actions that the manager intends to take or has already taken to resolve the grievance. If the grievance cannot be settled informally because the employee feels their grievance has not been satisfactorily dealt with, the employee should raise the issue formally in writing within 10 days of receiving the response to the next level of management and evoke the formal stage of the procedure. Employees should always seek to resolve their concerns informally in the first instance, however there may be occasions where the concerns are sufficiently serious to require immediate escalation to the formal stage. 8 FORMAL PROCEDURE FOR SETTLING GRIEVANCES Should an employee feel that their grievance has not been resolved at the informal stage, they can pursue their grievance at the formal stage. A letter/ confirming their wish to do so must be submitted within 2 weeks of the date of the letter sent to the employee confirming the manager s written outcome at stage one, to the manager who dealt with the grievance at the informal stage. The employee should provide as much detail as possible with regards to the specifics of their complaint, the reasons why they are dissatisfied with the outcome of the informal stage, and the outcome they would like to achieve from submitting a formal grievance. The management case is the statement and supporting documentation produced by the line manager to explain the rationale for their decision-making at the informal stage. The case should be produced with support from Employee Relations team and include full details of the outcome provided at the informal stage and the reason this decision was made. The management case should include the following appendices: A copy of the original grievance form submitted by the employee A record of the meeting held with actions agreed Details of any witnesses to be called and copies of their statements / correspondence Author: Caroline Lankshear Review Date: March 2020 Page 8 of 14

9 Any other relevant supporting documentation e.g. copies of documentation such as letters, s, job descriptions, interview sheets, annual leave cards Confirmation of the relevant policies referred to in making the decision at the informal stage e.g. special leave policy, flexible working policy A copy of the management case will be made available to the employee in advance of the hearing. It is anticipated this will be released 7 days before the hearing, however this may be provided closer to the hearing date by mutual agreement of both management and staff side. Should the employee want to call witnesses and / or rely on documentary evidence at the hearing then it would be helpful if this could be shared with management side and the panel in advance of the hearing. The employee should send a copy of the staff side case attaching all documents relevant to their case to the Employee Relations team representative, preferably 7 days before the hearing. 8.1 Formal Grievances Requiring Investigation The commissioning manager will draft terms of reference for the investigation and write to the employee to confirm that the investigation has been commissioned. The commissioning manager in this circumstance is likely to be the divisional manager either within the employee s own directorate or in exceptional circumstances another directorate to ensure complete impartiality. The investigation should commence as soon as possible after receipt of the formal grievance and where practicable, be completed within 8 weeks. An independent investigating officer will be assigned to complete the investigation with HR support. They will be responsible for interviewing the employee and relevant witnesses as part of this process along with collating all relevant documentation appropriate to the case. Any witness statements gathered as part of the process should be signed and dated. Where an employee does not provide a statement for an investigation but is subsequently interviewed, the notes from the meeting will be used instead of the statement. Information provided by witnesses will be given in confidence and should be in good faith. As a result, employees connected with the investigation should not discuss with each other issues related to the same, to avoid a breach of confidentiality. All employees and witnesses attending investigation meetings will be entitled to be accompanied by a colleague or trade union representative. By mutual agreement, investigation meetings may be recorded by the employee and / or the Trust. Where this occurs a transcript of the meeting will be provided to both parties; however, either party has the right to decline the request and where this occurs, hand written notes will be taken by HR and a typed version provided to the employee. During the investigation, the investigating officer may review the employee s personal file, including occupational health records and details pertaining to their employment with the Trust, including any current warnings that exist. Only information relevant to the circumstances of the grievance will be accessed and used to ensure compliance with the data protection principles. Author: Caroline Lankshear Review Date: March 2020 Page 9 of 14

10 At the end of the investigation, the investigating officer will produce an investigation report for the commissioning manager, outlining the facts of the case and a chronology of the investigation. The investigation report will be factual and will contain sufficient information for the commissioning manager to determine whether: To convene a formal grievance hearing to consider the facts of the case in more detail and to provide an opportunity for the employee to present their case in its entirety To meet formally with the employee to feedback on the findings and attempt negotiation of a mutually agreeable outcome If the employee accepts the negotiated outcome then details of this will be confirmed in writing to the employee and the formal grievance hearing will not be convened. If the employee chooses not to accept the negotiated outcome proposed by the commissioning manager then the employee will be entitled to request a formal grievance hearing. 8.2 Formal Grievance Hearing The grievance hearing will be heard in accordance with the process outlined in Appendix 1. Present at the hearing will be: The panel consisting of a senior manager (provided they are not the employee against whom the grievance is made) supported by a representative from ER Team The employee making the grievance supported by their representative The manager who heard the grievance at the informal stage supported by their ER representative Occasionally it may be appropriate to appoint a grievance panel outside of the line management of the individual raising a grievance, for example where the grandparent manager was party to making decisions about which the individual is aggrieved. The ER Team Manager will take this into consideration when arranging the hearing as appropriate. It is the responsibility of the panel to hear all the evidence available, to question any parties for clarification of facts and to arrive at a decision based on the information provided. If the panel reaches a point there they feel that further investigation is necessary, the hearing should be adjourned to get advice or make further inquiries, and then reconvene as soon as possible. The panel will consider and decide on the following points: Whether the informal stage of this policy was adhered to Whether the grievance was appropriately investigated Whether or not the organisational policies, procedures and practices were correctly and fairly applied Whether the action taken by the manager was fair and reasonable The manager who sits on the panel should respond in writing to the employee s grievance, making sure that all points within the grievance are answered within 10 days and give details on how to appeal if the employee still feels their grievance has not been satisfactorily dealt with. Author: Caroline Lankshear Review Date: March 2020 Page 10 of 14

11 9 APPEAL STAGE All appeals should be sent to the Director of Human Resources, using the appealing a grievance form which can be found on the Grievance page of the Employee Relations toolkit on the intranet. It is not sufficient to appeal against a decision purely on the grounds that an employee disagrees with it. The letter must state an employee s full grounds for doing so and must cover one or both of the following: New evidence that was not previously available, enclosed with the appeal letter Failure to follow correct procedure with clarification of how the employee feels this applies The Director of Human Resources will delegate responsibility for the appeal hearing to be set up and all parties to be notified of the date, time and location. The appeal hearing should normally be heard within 8 weeks of the letter of the appeal being received. The panel will consist of at least one senior manager, supported by a member of the Employee Relations team, who will advise the panel on the application of procedures and current legislation, which is pertinent to the case. Before any appeal hearing the following documents should be sent to Employee Relations team at least 7 days before the hearing date. The ER representative will then arrange for copies to be circulated to both sides involved in the appeal as well as the members of the appeal panel. material, which did not form part of the evidence at the formal hearing will be introduced at an appeal hearing unless by joint agreement of the parties concerned: Management Statement - This statement should present the circumstances of the case and the action taken to date, including reasons why the original decision at the formal grievance hearing was made, and list the key documents to be presented at the hearing as well as who will be called to give evidence to the hearing as a witness. Employee s Statement - This statement may be prepared in conjunction with the representative and will state the reasons why the appeal is being made. This should list the key documents to be presented at the appeal as well as any persons who may be called to give evidence at the hearing as witnesses. Present at the hearing will be: The panel consisting of a senior manager, previously not involved in the grievance, supported by a representative from ER Team The employee making the grievance supported by their representative The panel who heard the grievance at the formal stage except where the appeal relates to the handling of sickness absence, in which case the manager and ER Adviser dealing with the sickness management will be present. Where the appeal relates to the outcome of a harassment investigation, the investigating officers will be present It is the responsibility of the appeal panel to hear all the evidence available, to question any parties for clarification of facts and to arrive at a decision based on the information provided. The manager who sits on the appeal panel should respond in writing to the employee s grievance within 10 days and give details of the decision / outcome of the appeal hearing. The decision of the appeal panel will be final, and therefore the final stage of the grievance procedure. Author: Caroline Lankshear Review Date: March 2020 Page 11 of 14

12 10 RIGHT TO BE ACCOMPANIED All employees are entitled to be accompanied at the formal and appeal stages of this policy by a work colleague or trade union representative. The panel will made every effort to accommodate the availability of trade union representatives and work colleagues to accompany an employee to a formal grievance hearing; however, where the representative s availability would cause an unreasonable delay, then a date for the hearing will be confirmed whereby the employee will be provided with 7 days notice intended for them to make alternative arrangements to be accompanied. If the employee fails to attend the formal grievance hearing without explanation, or if the employee is persistently unable to or unwilling to attend without good cause, then the hearing may be conducted in their absence and a decision made on the evidence available. 11 STATUS QUO The working arrangements at the time of the grievance is raised will be maintained during the process or until the matter is resolved. Management reserves the right to vary this provision where it is considered that the maintenance of the status quo might be detrimental to the health, safety and welfare of patients, employees or the public. 12 COLLECTIVE GRIEVANCES Where an issue which affects two or more employees is raised in writing by a trade union or other appropriate employee representative it will be dealt with as a collective grievance. A collective grievance can be resolved locally or informally where appropriate and where possible. If the matter cannot be resolved in these ways then a meeting will be arranged with the trade union or employee representative at the earliest opportunity to discuss a resolution. If a resolution cannot be achieved at this meeting, a second meeting may be held, chaired by a more senior manager. Employees raising a collective grievance may wish to elect an employee representative to act on their behalf at meetings, especially when the collective grievance is raised by many individuals. In the event of a failure to agree, the parties will consider whether external conciliation and/or arbitration is appropriate. The dispute may be referred to ACAS for arbitration by mutual agreement only. Either side may refer matters for conciliation. However, where it is agreed that an outside body is to be involved, its role must be clearly defined beforehand. 13 EVALUATION MEASURES MONITORING AND AUDIT The Employee Relations team will log all grievances including outcomes / appeals and ensure that any cases are dealt with as per the policy in ER Tracker. 14 REFERENCES ACAS Discipline and Grievances at work the ACAS Guide [online]. [Accessed on 1 st December 2016]. Available from: Author: Caroline Lankshear Review Date: March 2020 Page 12 of 14

13 Roberts, B and Simpson, S. XPertHR Grievance process: Form for an employee to raise a formal grievance. [online]. [Accessed on 28 th vember 2016]. Available from: Roberts, B and Simpson, S. XPertHR Grievance process: Form for an employee to appeal a grievance decision. [online]. [Accessed on 28 th January 2017]. Available from: 15 RELATED POLICIES Disciplinary Policy Managing Attendance Policy Performance Management Policy 16 EQUALITY IMPACT ASSESSMENT STATEMENT 1. Does the policy/guidance affect one group less or more favourably than another on the basis of: Race Ethnic origins (including gypsies and travellers) Nationality Gender Culture Religion or belief Sexual orientation including lesbian, gay and bisexual people Age Disability - learning disabilities, physical disability, sensory impairment and mental health problems Marriage & Civil partnership Pregnancy & maternity 2. Is there any evidence that some groups are affected differently? 3. If you have identified potential discrimination, are any exceptions valid, legal and/or justifiable? 4. Is the impact of the policy/guidance likely to be negative? Yes/ n/a n/a 5. If so can the impact be avoided? n/a 6. What alternatives are there to achieving n/a the policy/guidance without the impact? 7. Can we reduce the impact by taking different action? n/a Comments Author: Caroline Lankshear Review Date: March 2020 Page 13 of 14

14 Appendix 1 FORMAT OF GRIEVANCE HEARING / APPEAL HEARING 1. A member of the Employee Relations Team will keep a written record of the proceedings 2. Employee and/or representative presents the employee s case, state how they think it should be settled and may call any witnesses 3. Other parties present may question employee and witnesses 4. The presenting manager presents the management case and calls any witnesses 5. Other parties present may question presenting manager and witnesses 6. The employee and/or representative may sum up his/her case 7. The presenting manager may sum up his/her case 8. Employee and Management sides adjourn for the panel to discuss the outcome 9. If an outcome can be made that day, the management and employee sides should be recalled to be informed of the decision and resolution if applicable 10. If an outcome cannot be reached that day or further information is required before a decision can be taken, inform the management and employee sides that they will be informed in writing of the decision at the earliest opportunity but within a maximum of 10 days Author: Caroline Lankshear Review Date: March 2020 Page 14 of 14

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