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In this article Chris Hadrill, the partner in the employment department at Redmans, examines how submitting a grievance can assist an employee in negotiating settlement agreement terms

What is a grievance?

A grievance is, essentially, an explanation of complaints that you have (in this context, in the workplace). A grievance can be formal or informal, submitted in writing or verbally.

An ‘informal’ grievance is normally (although not always) verbal in nature, in that you will generally be explaining your complaints ‘informally’ to your line manager (or appropriate third party) with the understanding that these complaints will be acted upon.

A ‘formal’ grievance will generally (although, again, not always) be a last resort for an unhappy employee, as it will generally mean that the employee will submit in writing a formal document detailing what they are complaining about and how they want their complaints resolved.

How can submitting a grievance help you?

Submitting a grievance, whether formally, or informally, can achieve the following results:

  1. It will serve as a contemporaneous statement of exactly what problems you have been experiencing – this can be helpful not only in the context of resolving your grievance but can also assist in negotiating settlement agreement terms or as evidence in a claim to the Employment Tribunal
  2. It will notify your employer that you have specific complaints about aspects of the workplace, which can often be helpful for employers (as it will allow them to resolve workplace conflicts and make the workplace a more welcoming and productive environment)
  3. It can help to leverage a settlement agreement

What impact can submitting a grievance have on your ability to negotiate a settlement agreement?

Submitting a formal written grievance can often have a positive impact on your ability to negotiate settlement agreement terms for the following reasons:

  1. It will lay down a version of events that you can rely on when arguing about your potential claims
  2. It will signal to your employer that you are serious about pursuing your complaints, whether internally through your employer’s grievance process or, alternatively, externally through an Employment Tribunal claim
  3. It will give your employer (or their legal team) the ability to analyse what potential claims you may have and the risk that they fact in you bringing such claims
  4. Dealing with a formal grievance will often be viewed as an extra administrative burden by employers, and avoiding this burden is often a factor for employers when deciding to offer settlement agreements – this normally isn’t the sole factor but often plays a part (whether minor or major)

Top tips for using a grievance to negotiate a settlement agreement

If you’re considering submitting a grievance to your employer in order to assist you in negotiating settlement agreement terms then

  1. Consider also submitting a ‘subject access request’ with your grievance so that you can force your employer to give you information which could be helpful to you in pursuing your grievance process, negotiating settlement agreement terms, and/or pursuing an Employment Tribunal claim, as relevant
  2. Be clear and concise when drafting the grievance and concentrate on relevant points – the clearer your grievance is, generally the more likely it will be taken seriously
  3. When you have submitted your grievance, approach your employer to propose settlement agreement terms – taking a pro-active approach to negotiating a settlement agreement can often be helpful

About

Redmans Employment Team deal with employment matters for both employers and employees, including drafting employment contracts and policies, advising employers and employees on compromise agreements, handling day-to-day HR issues, advising on restructures, and handling Employment Tribunal cases for both employers and employees Call 020 3397 3603 to speak to one of the members of our employment team or email us on enquiries@redmans.co.uk. Redmans have offices in Richmond, Chiswick, Hammersmith, Fulham, Kingston, Wimbledon, Ealing, Kings Cross and Marylebone (meetings strictly by appointment only).

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    Anonymous

    I'd highly recommend Redmans Solicitors. Mel was very helpful and assisted me throughout my case.

    Posted 1 day ago

    Anonymous

    Sacha was very thorough and very helpful, with great advice on when to act and when to wait on my case.

    Posted 4 days ago

    Anonymous

    I have been very pleased with the support I got from Redmans Solicitors on my case with my employer. Caroline has always helped me to put things in perspective and showed me different scenarios ultimately to help me taking the right decision. She was very professional and always available when I needed, and at the same time also emphatic which I found also really important to establish a strong relationship. Will definitely recommend!

    Posted 6 days ago

    Anonymous

    Prompt and efficient response to my enquiries. Excellent negotiating skills with my employer which considerably improved the terms of my settlement agreement.

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    Anonymous

    Very quick and professional service , Rana was very helpful

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    James G

    Very professional, knowledgeable and kept me informed at every stage of my case. I would highly recommend Redmans.

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    Pravina P

    Chris was really good and help solve my issues with current company. I would recommend him to anyone.

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    Paul L

    Sacha was extremely helpful in my matter. I would not hesitate you use Sacha or Redmonds again. Everyone was very helpful.

    Posted 2 weeks ago

    Monique N

    I had Mel Chin helping me with a settlement and she was very professional and reliable throughout my case. Mel provided me with a good understanding of what was happening and gave suggestions on routes I could take. My case was resolved and closed promptly although the opposing side were very difficult to deal with. A very big thank you to Mel and Chris.

    Posted 2 weeks ago

    Jackie C

    My first ever experience needing the services of a solicitor; cannot speak highly enough of Mel and Chris’s personable, reassuring and straight to the point advice in dealing with my settlement agreement. They put me at ease during an extremely stressful time. I am equally as happy with the outcome, as l am their professional services.

    Posted 3 weeks ago

    ""

    Really happy with the service. All very efficient. Mel rattled through things very fast, however was great whenever I needed to stop and ask a question! Would definitely return to Redmans if I ever needed Legal advice.

    Posted 3 weeks ago

    Peter F

    Very helpful and clear advice, would highly recommend.

    Posted 4 weeks ago

    William A

    Second time I have had to use Redmans. They did not disappoint. They are fast , efficient and friendly. I have already recommended them to friends and colleagues. I hope I dont have to use them again but if I have to , they are the solicitors for me.

    Posted 4 weeks ago

    Fleeta C

    Great service with tantastic communications. The solicitor responsible is extremely knowledgeable and was responsible for bringing a timely and desired solution.

    Posted 4 weeks ago

    Veronica M

    Extremely helpful, starting from a request for advice at very short notice, to dedicating time for me to understand and review all documents thoroughly.

    Posted 4 weeks ago

    Sophie R

    Very efficient and professional service. Chris was very empathetic, knowledgeable and personable. Highly recommended.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Melanie M

    Very happy with the detailed advice provided from Redmans. They also helped me to secure a higher settlement than originally offered by my employer and were extremely diligent. I first spoke with Chris at relatively short notice and then Sacha dealt with my case. Would definitely recommend and use again in the future if needed.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Anonymous

    Redmans helped me with a work related issue, which was resolved quickly and professionally. I would definitely recommend this company.

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    James F

    Great people, really friendly and professional helped with everything that I needed.

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    Anusha S

    My case was handled by Sacha who was very thorough and helped me to achieve a good outcome with my employer. Sacha was very personal, professional and helped me during quite a stressful time, so I am hugely grateful to her and to Redmans. This was my first time engaging with a law firm so I wasn't sure what to expect but I can definitely say that it was a good experience overall and I ended up better off due to having the help of an experienced and proactive solicitor on my side.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Diane P

    So grateful that I contacted Redmans to deal with my Redundancy Agreement. Everything from the initial call to the completion of the matter was professional, efficient and effective. I was listened to, had everything explained simply and kept informed of every step. I received super advice and the costs were very competitive. I would highly recommend them to anyone seeking similar help. First class service - thank you

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