If a member has a grievance they should liaise with their Branch Representative or Area Secretary and in the first instance, raise the matter with their Line Manager, or if in regard to their duties, their Roster Manager to try and achieve an informal resolution. Members should always try to obtain an informal resolution where possible.
In the event that an informal resolution is not possible then the aggrieved member should contact their Area Secretary at the earliest opportunity for Federation assistance in relation to this matter. The Federation has a number of highly trained and qualified representatives to assist members in commencing formal grievance procedures.
Grievances should be raised within 3 months of the incident complained of and should a grievance progress to the Employment Tribunal stage then an ET 1 Form must be submitted within 3 months less one day after the last incident complained of, even if a grievance is in progress. This is a strict legal time limit and is why the member is urged to seek assistance as soon as possible. Access to the ET 1 Form (IT 1 Form for Claimants in Northern Ireland), and guidelines on how to complete it, can be found on the MOJ website.
When a formal grievance is raised, a grievance meeting will be arranged and the DPF will represent the member at that meeting. Should the grievance not be upheld, the DPF will continue to represent the member through the appeal stage and if necessary advise on Employment Tribunal procedure.
What is a grievance?
A grievance is where a member has a concern, problem or complaint about a work related matter or person/s they work with.
When is grievance procedure appropriate?
The Federation encourages its members to use the grievance procedures to resolve injustices or instances where they have been wronged or treated unfairly.
Issues which may cause grievances include:
a. Terms and Conditions of Employment
b. Health and Safety
c. Work relations
d. Working environment
Members should be aware that instances of bullying and harassment should be dealt with under the MDP “Bullying and Harassment Procedures” and not the grievance procedures.
What is the difference between formal and informal?
Whilst it is desirous to seek to resolve grievances informally, there are occasions when it may not be appropriate to seek an informal resolution. For example, if an aggrieved matter is referred to a Line Manager and is thought to be resolved but after a “honeymoon period” the original aggrieved matter resumes, then in this instance, making an informal resolution is inappropriate.
With a formal grievance, a Grievance Deciding Officer will offer the member an interview to discuss the grievance within 10 working days of receipt of the grievance and agree a mutually convenient date when all interested parties can attend. This will include:
1. The Complainant
2. The Complainant’s Representative (if any)
3. An appropriate note-taker if you do not intend to take notes yourself. (This can be someone from your management area but they should have no personal interest in the matter.)
During this grievance interview the member and their representative will be given the opportunity to explain the grievance in person. Individuals are entitled to confidentiality in that their grievance will not be revealed to others, except to the extent that is required to investigate and respond to them effectively. Members must have a very clear idea as to how their resolution might be resolved.
All members have a fundamental and legal right to be accompanied by a DPF Representative.
What are the likely outcomes?
An informal grievance is usually resolved by talking to the Line Manager and agreeing remedial action. If the Line Manager does not uphold the grievance then the member would have the option to move to a formal grievance.
With a formal grievance, the Grievance Deciding Officer will consider the basis of the evidence, the merits of the complaint (and in particular will wish to consider whether the action, omission or policy complained about, unfairly disadvantaged or caused an unfair detriment to the complainant), providing a considered response. Applying appropriate remedies when a grievance is upheld and ensuring that lessons are learned where they arise.
Can an appeal be made on an outcome?
If your grievance is not upheld then your Federation Representative will discuss the matter with you, advise you of whether there are grounds for appeal and, if so, advise you of the procedure.
What do I have to do?
As soon as a member becomes aware of a grievance, he / she should immediately seek advice and assistance from a DPF Official.
Be aware of time limits!
The MOD Grievance Procedures may be found on the DBS Sharepoint; an overview of the process is also available here.
In certain circumstances, your DPF Representative may advise you to complete a Personal Assistance Request (PAR1) Form online. A fully detailed explanation of events, with copies of supporting evidence or policy detail, should be included to save time and the completed form should be returned to the appropriate Area Secretary. Please note, legal assistance is at the discretion of the National Executive Committee.
Liaise with the representative appointed to the case, listen carefully to the advice given and be prepared to answer questions from the Grievance Deciding Officer during the hearing.
Above all, ensure that accuracy is maintained at all times!