GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE : GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE BY T.NAMRATHA DEFINITION : DEFINITION Grievance procedure is a formal communication between an employee and the management designed for the settlement of a grievance. The grievance procedures differ from organization to organization.
1. Open door policy2. Step-ladder policy
3. Exit Window
4. Grip Box
5. One to One Interview Open door policy : Open door policy Under this policy, the aggrieved employee is free to meet the top executives of the organization and get his grievances redressed. Such a policy works well only in small organizations.
However, in bigger organizations, top management executives are usually busy with other concerned matters of the company.
Moreover, it is believed that open door policy is suitable for executives; operational employees may feel shy to go to top management. Step ladder policy : Step ladder policy Under this policy, the aggrieved employee has to follow a step by step procedure for getting his grievance redressed.
In this procedure, whenever an employee is confronted with a grievance, he presents his problem to his immediate supervisor.
If the employee is not satisfied with superior’s decision, then he discusses his grievance with the departmental head. The departmental head discusses the problem with joint grievance committees to find a solution.
However, if the committee also fails to redress the grievance, then it may be referred to chief executive.
If the chief executive also fails to redress the grievance, then such a grievance is referred to voluntary arbitration where the award of arbitrator is binding on both the parties. GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE IN INDIAN INDUSTRY : GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE IN INDIAN INDUSTRY The 15th session of Indian Labor Conference held in 1957 emphasized the need of an established grievance procedure for the country which would be acceptable to unions as well as to management.
In the 16th session of Indian Labor Conference, a model for grievance procedure was drawn up. This model helps in creation of grievance machinery.
According to it, workers’ representatives are to be elected for a department or their union is to nominate them. Management has to specify the persons in each department who are to be approached first and the departmental heads who are supposed to be approached in the second step.
The Model Grievance Procedure specifies the details of all the steps that are to be followed while redressing grievances. These steps are: : These steps are: STEP 1: In the first step the grievance is to be submitted to departmental representative, who is a representative of management. He has to give his answer within 48 hours.
STEP 2: If the departmental representative fails to provide a solution, the aggrieved employee can take his grievance to head of the department, who has to give his decision within 3 days.
STEP 3: If the aggrieved employee is not satisfied with the decision of departmental head, he can take the grievance to Grievance Committee. The Grievance Committee makes its recommendations to the manager within 7 days in the form of a report. The final decision of the management on the report of Grievance Committee must be communicated to the aggrieved employee within three days of the receipt of report. An appeal for revision of final decision can be made by the worker if he is not satisfied with it. The management must communicate its decision to the worker within 7 days. These steps are: : These steps are: If the grievance still remains unsettled, the case may be referred to voluntary arbitration. Setting up a grievance procedure : Setting up a grievance procedure Introduction Under law, the written terms and conditions of employment (also known as Particulars of Terms of Employment) must describe the organisation's grievance procedure, explaining who an employee should go to if he/she has a grievance. A thorough grievance procedure goes further by providing a process, involving more than one level of management, which both the employer and employee can follow to reach an acceptable conclusion to a problem in the workplace. Settling grievances quickly and fairly means they do not fester and grow By implementing a grievance procedure correctly, an organisation: * complies with, and surpasses, the requirements of employment legislation * can prevent a minor grievance becoming a major problem * displays a caring approach to its employees, by dealing with issues openly and fairly. National Occupational Standards for Management and Leadership Action checklist : Action checklist 1. Be aware of the legal position Schedule 2 of the Employment Act 2002, which came into force on 1 October 2004 introduced two statutory grievance procedures. These procedures represent a minimum legal standard and should an employee wish to make a claim to an employment tribunal on the basis of a grievance, the three-step, statutory dispute resolution procedure must have been followed. Step 1--the individual informs the employer of the grievance, in writing. Step 2--a meeting is held to discuss the grievance, and the employee must take all reasonable steps to attend. Step 3--an appeal hearing is held, if the employee feels that the grievance hasn't been satisfactorily resolved. The employee is then notified of the final decision. Employment tribunals may adjust any award for compensation by between 10 per cent and 50 per cent for failure by either party to follow the relevant steps of the statutory procedure. Action checklist : Action checklist 2. Define the terms of reference Decide which types of grievance the procedure will cover. Identify who the procedure is aimed at (for example, shop-floor workers only or all employees) and the levels of management that will be involved in settling the grievances. 3. Draw up the procedure Consult with other members of the organisation, including trade union representatives, to devise a procedure. Try to obtain samples of procedures used in other organisations and take account of the latest ACAS Code of Practice. Write the procedure in simple straightforward language so that it is easy to understand. The procedure should contain the following: Types of grievance List the types of grievances covered by the procedure. Refer other types of complaint to the appropriate procedures (e.g. sexual harassment). Action checklist : Action checklist The stages involved
Initially the aggrieved party should be encouraged to have an informal meeting with their immediate superior to discuss the problem, and try to resolve it without using the formal procedure. If this does not work, then the first stage of the procedure should be a formal meeting with the aggrieved party and their immediate superior. However, do give an alternative, such as the Human Resource Manager, in case the supervisor is party to the complaint,(although the alternative should not be someone to whom the case may be referred later.) Making the immediate supervisor the first point of contact will avoid undermining their level of authority and there is more chance of resolving the issue quickly and positively.
The number of stages of the procedure, at each of which the employee progressively meets with higher levels of management, will depend on many factors, including the size of the organisation. There should be at least two stages, to provide a minimum of one level of appeal and comply with legislation. In a large organisation, there is likely to be one formal hearing stage, and two possible appeal stages. Too many stages can mean the process is lengthy and off-putting. The name, or preferably the job title, of the person responsible for grievances at each level should be given.
In some organisations the final stage might be referral to an external body such as an independent arbitrator or conciliator like the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS). However this is not mandatory. Action checklist : Action checklist Representation at meetings Employees have the legal right to be accompanied by a colleague or a trade union official at all disciplinary and grievance hearings. It is good practice to allow the companion to participate as fully as possible in the meeting. He or she may ask questions, address the meeting, or respond to questions on behalf of the employee, so long as the employee wishes. The companion also has the right to confer with the employee during the meeting and sum up his or her case. Time limits Realistic time limits should be set (in working days) for the presentation of the complaint and the management response at each stage. Five working days is normally regarded as a reasonable time for responses. This time limit may get longer as the grievance moves up the hierarchy to involve more senior management, since the problem will be of a more serious nature and more time will be required to deal with it. A proviso could be included permitting time limits to be extended by mutual agreement. Action checklist : Action checklist Presentation and documentation of a grievance The initial presentation of a grievance may be made verbally to the immediate supervisor. However if an employee wishes to take the matter further later, to an employment tribunal, they will need to have put their grievance in writing initially. Therefore it is recommended that the procedure state that the individual put their complaint in writing. Care should be taken to support people whose first language is not English, or who may have problems expressing themselves on paper, or who have a disability that makes this difficult. For each stage thereafter, a record of information and events, including supporting arguments and evidence, should be kept to pass up to subsequent stages for those not familiar with the grievance. The record should be agreed by the manager concerned and countersigned by the employee and/or his/her representative. This helps to ensure there are no misunderstandings when an agreement on resolving the problem has been reached. Records should include: nature of the grievance; a copy of the written grievance; the employer's response; actions taken; reasons for actions taken; whether there was an appeal; outcome of any appeal; any subsequent developments. Action checklist : Action checklist Guidelines The way in which the person responsible should prepare for and handle the grievance interview may be included in the procedures, but is often included in separate supporting materials for managers. However the procedures may include brief guidelines for the employee. Factors to be included may be: preparing to state his/her complaint in the meeting; preparing to say how he or she thinks it might be settled; preparing to consider other points of view and work towards an amicable resolution to issues. Status quo clause If applicable, arrange a "status quo" clause with the trade unions so that any industrial action will be deferred until a grievance has completed the full procedure. Action checklist : Action checklist 4. Draw up an implementation timetable. This should include communications to staff representatives, training for managers, and communication of the go-live date to staff. 5. Provide training for managers and supervisors Conducting an effective grievance interview is not easy. Training should be given to all managers and supervisors who may have to deal with a grievance. Ensure that they are all aware of the limits of their own and others' authority and that they understand the mechanics of the procedure. For example, make sure that they know the number of working days in which they should reply to a grievance and the documentation they should keep. Giving training to those responsible for holding interviews will help solve problems as close as possible to the point of their origin. Action checklist : Action checklist 6. Communicate and implement the procedure Ensure that: * staff are aware of the procedure. A letter should be sent to all employees along with a copy of the procedure, or a referral to a location where it has been published--on an intranet site, for example. * there is clarity about when the procedure will come into effect. * you explain that the procedure has been introduced to benefit employees by providing them with a systematic way of airing grievances, and reaching an amicable agreement as quickly as possible. The same information should be given to new recruits; a copy might be attached to all noticeboards and should be included in the staff manual or handbook. * staff have a contact who can answer any general questions which may arise and that people with limited comprehension of English can be given enough help to understand the procedure fully. Action checklist : Action checklist 8. Make changes/modifications Alterations should be made to combat any of the problems highlighted in the evaluation. This may include offering extra training to certain managers or removing a stage in the procedure. Make sure the names or job titles of managers responsible for grievances at each stage are updated as necessary. 9. Feedback the results Communicate the success of the procedure to all employees and let them know of any changes to be made. How not to set up a grievance procedure Managers should avoid: * making the initial stages too formal as this may deter individuals from presenting a grievance * failing to provide training for those involved in settling grievances * setting unrealistic time limits * allowing disputes to grow by failing to take steps to resolve the issues. Nature and Causes of Grievance: : Nature and Causes of Grievance: In an organization a grievance may be presented by an employee or group employees, with respect to any measure or a situation that directly affects the individual or is likely to affect, the conditions of employment of many workers. If such a grievance is transformed into a general claim, either by the union, or by a group of employees, then the claim falls outside the scope of grievance procedure as it is a collective grievance and therefore it falls under collective bargaining.
In ‘Grievance Procedure, A survey of practices in industries in India’, it’s classified in to 19 causes of employee grievances have been outlined. They are 1. Promotions 2.Amenities 3. Continuity of service 4. Compensation 5. Disciplinary action 6. Fines 7. Increment 8. Leave 9. Medical Benefits 10. Nature of job 11. Payment 12. Acting promotion 13. Recovery of dues 14. Safety appliances 15. Superannuation 16. Suppression 17. Transfer 18. Victimisation and 19. Condition of work.
The international labour Organization (ILO), clarifies a grievance as a compliant of one or more workers with respect to wages and allowances, conditions of work and interpretation of service stipulation, covering such areas as overtime,leave,transfer,promotions,seniority,job assignment and termination of service Situations requiring disciplinary actions : Situations requiring disciplinary actions STRICT DISCIPLINE
Sleeping while on duty Threatening co-workers Refusing to perform assigned duties Intoxication Conviction of criminal offence Tarnishing company image
Disobedience Infraction of company policies Safety procedures ignored Carrying out illegal/immoral activities in company premises Irregular attendance Poor performance Lying Improper behaviour Negative attitude Embezzlement Grievance policy : Grievance policy As a start, the employee should contact his immediate supervisor who should endeavour to amicably resolve the issue. Most grievances can be settled by open, effective and regular communication between the employee and his supervisor. If, unfortunately, the immediate supervisor’s efforts do not satisfy the employee, he should have the right to approach higher levels of management for assistance. Because of the high importance placed on the employee-supervisor relationship to resolve grievances, it is critical that the manager makes his best efforts to first understand and then resolve the complaint. To do this, he must first arrange an interview with the employee. His role in such an interview is usually three-fold: 1 Exploration: to obtain all the details of the complaint with relevant and complete facts and related information.
2 Consideration: to analyse all available information and determine different options available to address the issue;
3 Resolution (response): to arrive at a final decision and communicate same to the employee.
The supervisor’s final resolution should be documented for reference in future actions, if any. If the employee is not satisfied with this resolution and decides to pursue the matter with higher authorities, this documentation would serve a key role in future proceedings. DISPUTE : DISPUTE Divulge sensitive information to competitors and external business associates/destroy company records/damage company properties Instigate fellow workers to engage in undesirable activities Spread damaging and/or false rumors against the company Resort to inappropriate behavior and/or unacceptable attitude Use company assets for personal benefits Purposely slow down business activities Tamper with safety/security equipment DIAGRAMMATICAL REPRESENTATION : DIAGRAMMATICAL REPRESENTATION Conclusion : Conclusion The impact of employee grievances may have a significant and long-lasting negative impact on the organisation. The impact may be even more severe if it is a collective grievance i.e., several employees share the same concern. To avoid any such problem, the manager must handle all cases of grievances with speed and sensitivity. He should not underestimate the situation until it has been resolved to the complete satisfaction of employee(s) and management.