Area of work: HR Consultancy
Date/Length of relationship: 2010 – present
A client of 8 years sought our support on managing a grievance appeal process. They became a client on the recommendation of a HR Manager who had used our services successfully in their previous organisation and assigned us this project due to the complexity of the grievance, because the employee was a potential litigant and due to a lack of administrative resources.
An employee raised a grievance against his line manager alleging racial harassment, but this was not upheld by the Grievance Officer. The employee appealed against this initial decision and, with nobody of sufficient seniority available internally to assume responsibility, the client appointed EML to handle it.
The EML Consultant assumed the role of Grievance Appeal Officer, acting on behalf of the client before, during and after the hearing. We undertook a comprehensive and compliant grievance appeal process in line with the client’s grievance procedure and the relevant ACAS Code of Practice. We looked to rectify all and any procedural shortcomings that had occurred at the first stage of the procedure.
We notified the employee in writing of the arrangements for his grievance appeal hearing and his statutory right to be accompanied by a work colleague or appropriately certified trade union representative.
We chaired the hearing in the presence of the client’s HR Business Partner who acted as company witness and note taker. Our role was to explain the hearing and investigation process, timescales, when to expect a final decision, and that this decision would be final with no further right of appeal. We advised the employee that where any element of the original decision was not upheld, any applicable follow-up action would be detailed. Our consultant addressed each ground of the employee’s appeal in turn, giving them opportunity to make comments and ask questions throughout the hearing.
Following the hearing, we conducted a comprehensive investigation and considered all the evidence in conjunction with the employee’s written and verbal representations before making a decision. The level of investigation required and number of witnesses involved meant there was a delay in the decision-making process. We informed the employee of this in writing and provided a revised timescale.
We sent all notes to the employee and advised him of his right to amend and highlight any omissions or inaccuracies. The employee did not respond and so it was assumed that he was satisfied with the accuracy of the notes and that they were therefore agreed.
We provided a full suite of supporting documentation to the client upon conclusion of the process, including:
- Notification of hearing
- Hearing guidance
- Notes of hearing
- Holding letter
- Decision letter.
The employee’s appeal was rejected and the original decision upheld.
However, the comprehensive and procedurally compliant manner in which the process was conducted placed the client in a far stronger position to defend the related Employment Tribunal claim and led to significant savings on management time and resources. The positive outcome has strengthened our existing relationship with the client and resulted in further work, which is ongoing to date.
If you would like more information on the HR Consultancy services described in this case study, please contact Chris Nagel on 01942 369675.