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Grievance policy

1 Introduction – Purpose of this Policy


The Sunnybank Trust takes complaints about staff, work and the levels of service very seriously 

This policy is intended to assist staff, volunteers, partners and trustees, individual and collectively, to understand the procedures if there is a grievance or complaint made.  

The purpose of this procedure is to establish a fair and efficient means by which an employee who has a grievance concerning his/her employment can raise the matter with the organisation and receive an answer at the earliest opportunity. 


1.1 The term employee used throughout this document refers to the person who raises the grievance whether as a paid member of staff or volunteer. 

1.2 It is important that Management at all levels exercise discretion and maintain confidentiality when dealing with grievances. Line Managers should only divulge the details of a grievance raised by the employee with their permission and strictly on a need to know basis to other colleagues or members of the management team. 


The procedure should not be used for the following: 

(i) Matters not connected with the organization's employment 

(ii) Appeals against discipline or termination of employment (see separate policies relating to Discipline, Capability, Probation or Redundancy) 

2. Stages: 

If an employee has a grievance arising from or relating to his/her employment, he/she may use the following stages in the order in which they are set out. 

Stage 1: 

The employee may raise the issue with his/her Line Manager. The Line Manager will hold a meeting with the employee to hear the full facts of the situation and will attempt to find a satisfactory solution. 

Stage 2: 

If a satisfactory conclusion is not reached with the Line Manager, the employee may submit his/her complaint in writing to the Chief Executive Officer who will call a meeting. The meeting will be held with the employee and the Chief Executive Officer to hear the full facts of the situation and to attempt to find a satisfactory solution. 

Stage 3: 

Should the matter still remain unresolved, the employee has the right to an appeal to the Board of Trustees. The employee’s grievance should be submitted in writing to the Chair of the Board of Trustees within 1 week of receipt of the Chief Executive's written decision.


The Chair of the Board of Trustees will inform the member of the Trustee Board who has been nominated by the Board to hear disciplinary and grievance appeals and that Trustee will convene an appeal hearing to consider the employee’s grievance.


The nominated Trustee will hear the case within four weeks of receipt of the employee’s letter and the outcome will be provided in writing to the employee within one week. The decision of the Trustee hearing the appeal will be final. 

Note: No grievance should be heard by a Manager or member of staff lower in the structure than the employee against whom the grievance is lodged; therefore some levels of the above stages may be dispensed with in such circumstances. 


3. Representation

The employee has the right to be accompanied to the meeting(s) by a friend, work colleague of his/her choice or a trade union official (where the employee is a member of a trade union) at any meetings under this procedure in a supportive role. However, the need for such representation may be felt to be less necessary at the early and less formal stage of the procedure. 

4. Procedure at Formal Hearings

Hearings at Stage 2 and 3 will be conducted in a formal manner with the Chair ensuring that the opposing parties, i.e. the complainant and the relevant line manager have an opportunity to make their case with the support of any witnesses they may wish to call. The Chair will ensure that all present, including panel members, will be given the opportunity to question the complainant and the other party concerning their respective cases.


On completion of this procedure, the meeting will be adjourned to allow time for the Chair or the panel to deliberate on what it has heard and come to a decision. The Chair/panel may recall the parties for the purpose of clarifying issues, but if it does so, both parties should be present. 

Decisions will be confirmed in writing within one week. 

Note: If the grievance is between two employees, rather than against the organisation or its management, the respective parties will each present their cases and cross-question as in the above procedure; the Chair will establish an equitable order of presentation, generally with the employee with the initial complaint going first. 

A copy of the publication ‘Discipline and Grievances at Work, an ACAS Guide’ can be found at 

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