Grievance (labour)

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A grievance is a complaint raised by an employee which may be resolved by procedures provided for in a collective agreement, an employment contract, or by other mechanisms established by an employer. Such a grievance may arise from a violation of a collective bargaining agreement, the terms of a contract, the treatment by others in the workplace, or violations of the law, such as workplace safety regulations. Under UK employment law all employees have a legal right to raise a grievance, and there is a statutory Acas Code of Practice for handling grievances.[1]

Typically, everyone involved with a grievance has strict time lines which must be met in the processing of this formal complaint, until it is resolved. Employers cannot legally treat an employee any differently whether he or she has filed a grievance or not.

A collective grievance is a complaint raised by two or more employees in a unionized workplace. Under some jurisdictions it may also be known as a collective or labor dispute. The difference between a grievance and a complaint, in the unionized workplace, is whether the subject matter relates to the collective bargaining agreement. If the dispute cannot be resolved through discussion and negotiation between labor and management, mediation, arbitration or legal remedies may be employed. Where a collective dispute cannot be resolved it may lead to a strike action.

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