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Home Termination Dismissal Put together a well-formulated grievance procedure…

Put together a well-formulated grievance procedure…

Peter McDermott

Grievance procedure

... And minimise dismissal in your company

Dissatisfaction among employees is a sad but unavoidable fact of business. It's in your interest to resolve grievances in-house before these become out of hand, expensive and possibly lead to dismissal. A well-crafted and implemented grievance procedure is the best way you can do this. Read on to find out how to manage your grievance procedure properly.

What does a proper grievance procedure aim to do?

A proper grievance procedure aims to resolve the employee's grievance as speedily, and as close to its point of origin, as possible. Most importantly, this type of procedure aims to avoid the time it takes to defend such cases in forums such as the CCMA and bargaining councils. A grievance procedure has the added advantage of informing you of possible short-comings within your business.

What would this type of procedure include?

  • Any dissatisfaction in connection with an employee's employment situation, which is formally brought to your attention,
  • Grievances of a collective nature that require joint consultation, or
  • Grievances brought as appeals to disciplinary sanctions.

If one of your employees has a grievance, he'd escalate it to his immediate superior. If the immediate superior doesn't resolve the grievance timeously or to the employee's satisfaction, the immediate superior must escalate the matter to the next management level, and so on, until the grievance is resolved and the threat of dismissal is minimised.

What if an employee's grievance involves his immediate superior?

A prime example of a situation like this would be harassment.

In a situation like this, the employee should escalate the situation to his manager's manager. The second-level manager must then arrange a meeting with the alleged victim and accused to resolve the matter. The second-level manager – who acts as the chairperson - will:

  • Act as chairperson of the grievance meeting,
  • Consider all aspects of the grievance and the evidence surrounding it,
  • Attempt to get both parties to come to an agreement,
  • Attempt to resolve the grievance through discussion, and
  • Attempt to conciliate or mediate between the parties (if possible).

If this procedure fails, the chairperson must make an objective finding about the truth of the grievance and the appropriate action, if any, which needs to be taken. The chairperson must give the finding to the employee as soon as possible. After this, if the employee is still unhappy with the outcome he may then go to the CCMA or his bargaining council.

Don't victimise employees who lodge grievances!

If an employee decides to lodge a grievance, you must pay him for time that he spends in relation to his grievance.

* Ensure that a proper grievance procedure is available to all your employees and supply them with the necessary forms to enable them to make the escalation formally and in writing.

Peter Mcdermott

Peter did a Bachelor of Technology (B.Tech), Human Resources Management and Services at Technikon Witwatersrand (1994-1998) and an Advanced Diploma – Labour Law, Law at University of Johannesburg (2001-2002).

He joined Labour Net in 1997 and was a consultant there until 2000, and has been a director and shareholder in Invictus Outsourcing Solutions since November 2001.

Peter has gained extensive knowledge and experience over the past 17 years in dealing with various Human Resources (HR) and Industrial Relations (IR) matters, including but not limited to :

  • Bargaining Council
  • Black Economic Empowerment (BEE)
  • CCMA
  • Contracts of Employment
  • Corporate Law
  • Disciplinary Procedures
  • Dismissals
  • Dispute Resolutions
  • Employment Equity (EE)
  • HR Policies and Procedures
  • Labour Court
  • Labour Relations
  • Negotiations
  • Performance Management
  • Personnel Management
  • Policies and Procedures
  • Retrenchments
  • Skills Development (SD)
  • Strikes
  • Talent Management
  • Trade Unions