Having to manage an employee grievance is never an easy situation.


Picture the scene – its 9.15am, your first cup of coffee is still on your desk, now cold!  A couple of employees have just arrived late, you have dealt with an issue raised by a parent and Ofsted are due to carry out an inspection today!

Then Sarah, one of your employees turns up at your office asking to talk to you urgently, she is crying and very upset. She tells you that wants to raise a grievance concerning another member of staff.

How do you manage an employee grievance?  Sarah is one of your best employees, the children adore her but she is known for being dramatic and can blow things out of proportion.

Nevertheless and despite what you know about Sarah, for any employee to consider raising an employee grievance indicates that they are very unhappy about some aspect of their working life.  As their Manager it is your job to quickly understand what it is that she is unhappy with.  This sounds easy but it takes skill to extract facts from an employee who is angry, upset or both.

Firstly, ensure that you have a private office to carry out an initial meeting with them, ascertain the facts and advise them that you will work with them to see if their issue can be resolved, informally in the first instance.  Many employee grievances are resolved informally and are a result of a misunderstanding. The raising of the employee grievance may also raise other issues that are affecting the employee perhaps inside or outside of work, which should be handled separately from the grievance.

Once the initial meeting has been conducted you will be able to decide on the next course of action, this may be either:-

  1. Confirmation that the employee grievance has been resolved
  2. Commencement of a formal grievance procedure

It is good practice to write to the employee after the initial meeting to advise them of the next stages, if the grievance cannot be resolved informally then the employee has the right to raise a formal grievance.  In order to do this they must set out their grievance in writing so that you can investigate this thoroughly.

It is important that their employment rights are stated in all correspondence and that all evidence gathered is shared prior to any meeting.

Half the battle of dealing with issues at work is knowing where to start, having fully compliant processes, which help and ensure that you are adhering to the relevant employee legislation.

The Nursery HR People are experts in all things HR in the Early Years Sector and  I am wiling to bet that between our experts we will have come across whatever scenario you speak to us about.   We will guide you through any employee grievance case practically and empathetically to minimise any disruption to your setting and limit the risk of tribunal action being taken, should an employee believe that their employee grievance has not be dealt with properly.

In addition The Nursery HR People provide a suite of policies (including grievance) as part of a package designed for managing HR in the Early Years Sector.  Please visit our website for more information and look at the services we offer as well as a no obligation free trial.


I hope you have enjoyed reading the blog. please feel free to get in touch if you require any assistance with a grievance in your setting or any other area of HR.

Have you received your free copy of our ebook which shows you how to free up more of your time whist still delivering outstanding results in your setting? If not then click here to get your copy today!

Ruth Lewin




01509 833121

Less HR More Learning!