It can be difficult to know what to do when an employee has been put at risk of redundancy and raises a grievance about it.
They might raise it at the start of the process, once the consultation is underway, or even at the end, after they’ve had the appeal outcome and been told there is no further right of appeal.
If their grievance is about the redundancy process/decision, what should an employer do?
It will depend on the stage at which the grievance is raised, and exactly what the employee is complaining about. For example, if it’s at the start of the process, and the employee is alleging that the manager scoring them has a personal vendetta against them then it might be wise to deal with the complaints as a standalone grievance.
If you don’t want to hold up the redundancy process, and its practical, you might be able to appoint a different scoring manager in the meantime.
What if the grievance is purely about the redundancy process (for example, the employee is challenging their scores), and the issues are the sorts of things you would normally deal with during the consultation meetings?
In those cases it might be appropriate to explain to the employee that the consultation meetings are the opportunity to discuss those issues. If you can deal with them as part of the redundancy process and, document your response, it may not be necessary to deal with them under a separate grievance process. Be careful though, this is a delicate balancing exercise.
Employers must follow the Acas Code when dealing with grievances – otherwise, if the employee brings a claim connected to their employment and grievance, there could be a 25% uplift on any compensation awarded.
Bear in mind that if there are any complaints raised which might affect the integrity of the redundancy process, for example discrimination or whistleblowing, it will always be best to treat the complaints as a formal grievance, investigate and deal with them fully.
What if a grievance is raised after employment has ended?
The Acas Code doesn’t require employers to deal with grievances raised after the employment relationship has come to an end. However, a tribunal has awarded a 25% uplift in a case where a post-employment grievance alleging discrimination wasn’t dealt with, and that hasn’t yet been challenged.
Where the employee had over 2 years’ service and the grievance is raised soon after employment ends, or there are allegations of discrimination or whistleblowing, then it would be best for the employer to deal with the grievance. This will help minimise the risk of a potential claim as well as ensuring you’re able to address any issues which might remain in the workplace.
Can we have a different policy for post-employment grievances?
Yes, and it can be beneficial to have a more streamlined process for dealing with post-employment grievances, including placing a time limit on how long after termination a grievance can be raised. Consider ensuring as a minimum that the policy is in line with the Acas Code of practice.
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