A Basic Guide to Writing A Formal Grievance Letter

Drafting a formal grievance letter becomes the best option when…

Drafting a formal grievance letter becomes the best option when informal approaches to resolve a work-related concern doesn’t seem to work. This guide has provided tips that will help you draft a grievance letter using the correct tone and language.

What is a Grievance Letter?

A grievance letter is a document written to complain a power imbalance between two people, where one person feels mistreated or disadvantaged. Grievance letters can be formalized as a course of action such as negotiation, mediation, appeal, or protest.

A grievance letter is a formal letter that addresses a specific situation, an incident, and the solution that you would like to see applied. These letters are also the last resort, sometimes following a preceding unsuccessful approach. In short, a grievance letter is used to express dissatisfaction and ask for relief from a situation.

Grievance letters are usually utilized in work-related issues such as unfair salary, missing employment benefits, sexual harassment, and fraudulent practices. Employee grievance letters need to be written based on the company’s ethical guidelines and policy statements.

Sometimes grievance letters may include a case number to denote a formal complaint. Grievance letters are made by employees to the Human Resources (HR) Department of a corporation or an employee’s manager. The letter’s purpose is to provide an evidence-based explanation of the situation that may have caused a complaint. It is also to make a complaint about an ongoing or chronic problem.

When to Write a Grievance Letter

A grievance letter is the kind of letter an employee writes when they are dissatisfied with their job. Instances where you write a grievance letter include: cases of discrimination, bullying and harassment. Usually a grievance letter becomes the next step only when informal approach to resolve the issues seems abortive.

A grievance letter may be written to address something disappointing, humiliating, or annoying. Generally, these letters are written to complain about misconduct, violation, unsafe working conditions, or salary issues. Workplace grievances are usually resolved using an informal approach. In cases where attempts to resolve the situation informally fails, formal grievances come into play.

There is a need to follow the company’s legal procedure concerning raising a grievance. This way, you will avoid delays or difficulties in addressing and solving the matter. Most employment contracts or company handbooks have the grievance procedure stated in a section. You can also use templates to write your letter.

Format for Writing a Formal Grievance Letter

In any dispute, proper formal procedures should always be taken. A grievance letter is a formal complaint to resolve a conflict or complaint through decision-making activities. In professional settings, the first step in any dispute is to document the problem and write down your decision regarding the grievance. A typical grievance letter should have the following.

  • Date: Write the accurate date (day, month, and year). This is important for record-keeping and documentation purposes.
  • Complainant’s name, designation, and contact details: Write your name and contact details, so the letter’s recipient knows who is writing.
  • Contact details of recipient: Include the name, designation, company’s name, and address of the person you are addressing.
  • Salutation: Use a formal and professional greeting. Dear Mr/Mrs is a suitable salutation to use.
  • Your complaint: Go straight to the point. State your grievance in the first paragraph, and go into details in the second paragraph. Keep it concise and straightforward. Use a soft, polite, and very professional tone.
  • Conclusion: Summarize everything you’ve said in your letter. State how the issue is affecting your work productivity and urge the recipient of the letter to look into the issue.
  • Express gratitude: Thank the recipient of your letter for the time and opportunity to write the letter.
  • Complimentary close: Use a professional closing. “Yours sincerely” and “Yours faithfully” are the most appropriate for a formal grievance letter.
  • Sign-off: Append your signature and sign off with your name. If you didn’t write your details at the beginning of the letter, you should include them beneath your name.

10 Tips for Drafting a Grievance Letter

There are several reasons why you might want to draft a grievance letter. Here are ten tips that will help you when it comes to writing a formal grievance letter.

  • Your letter should be addressed to the appropriate authority to initiate a grievance procedure. If you don’t know who to address your letter to, check the employment contract or company handbook for information on the company’s grievance procedure.
  • Write in a professional and formal tone; even if you know the letter’s recipient, beware of familiarity. Assume that the person does not know you or has little knowledge of your complaint. Write in clear terms and detail.
  • Start with a brief introduction, including your start date and job role, and a summary of events leading up to your complaint.
  • Be precise about your complaint and write in sufficient detail so that your employer understands your grievance and can investigate it thoroughly. Remember to keep the content clear and concise.
  • Include critical facts such as dates, times, locations of incidents, and the names of persons involved and any witnesses.
  • Ensure you have a good idea of what to say within your grievance letter and stick to the facts; don’t make allegations.
  • Keep your emotions in check. Do not use abusive or demeaning language.
  • Whenever possible, attach copies of evidence to support your complaint.
  • Explain what efforts you have taken to resolve the matter informally.
  • Urge the company to resolve the issue as soon as possible. Suggest steps you would like them to take to resolve the issue.
man wearing blue shirt writing on white paper with bold pen
Photo by Scott Graham on Unsplash

To Wrap Up

A grievance letter is an official letter sent to an administrative body to describe dissatisfaction or raise a complaint in the workplace. It can be a healthy way to help address issues when informal approaches have proved abortive.

The tips provided in this article will help you draft an effective formal grievance letter.

Frequently asked questions

What are the five tests for a grievance?

  • Step 1 – Informal approach
  • Step 3 – Grievance investigation
  • Meeting with the employee is step two.
  • Grief resolution step 4
  • Step 5 – Grievance appeal

How do you write a formal grievance at work?

  • Send a letter to your employer. You may be able to resolve your problem by talking directly to your manager. The next step is to write to your employer.
  • Get in touch with your employer.
  • Make an appointment with your employer.

What are the basic elements of a grievance procedure?

  • ii. Define the Problem: .
  • i Acknowledge Dissatisfaction:
  • (a) Fairness:
  • iii. Get the Facts: .
  • (c) Procedural Steps:
  • iv. Analyse and Decide: .
  • v Follow up:
  • (b) Reposition facilities:

What is the key to good grievance handling?

Make it simple, fair, and simple to understand. Ideally, it should be written. Employees should be notified in the first instance (normally their immediate boss), and should have the right to be accompanied by a colleague or trade union representative.

What is the typical grievance process?

An employee initiates a grievance and then they are handled by union representatives. Most contracts specify how the grievance is to be initiated, the steps necessary to complete the procedure, and the identification of representatives from both sides who will hear the grieving.

What are the three basic steps of a grievance procedure?

How do the grievance procedure work? Step 1 – address the issue informally with the employer. Defend the issue formal with a grievance letter. An investigation into a grievance should be conducted in step 3.

What are the three examples of grievances given?

  • In terms of Union grievances or policies.
  • Individual grievance. One person feels that a management action has violated their rights under the collective agreement.
  • Group grievance. Group grievances claim that management actions have hurt individuals alike.

How do you write a grievance?

  • Keep your letter short. Provide enough information to allow your employer to investigate your complaint properly.
  • Keep to the facts.
  • Use not abusive or offensive language.
  • You shouldn’t use emotive language when you complain, instead explain how you feel about the behaviour you are complaining about.

What makes a good grievance policy?

Companies or organisations that are small or large will likely deal with grievances fairly and consistently. Find out as much as possible. Employees should bring a relevant person to a grievance meeting. Make sure everyone has their say before you make a decision.

How do you end a grievance letter example?

Include the details of your effort in the letter as well. Also, explain why your first attempt didn’t work out. A polite tone is necessary when closing your letter. Write your last paragraph so that your employer feels compelled to respond to your complaint.

What is a grievance letter?

An employee grievance letter is a formal complaint, written to a company, in which an employee’s concern or problem is addressed. Non-unionized workplaces may dismiss grievances as simply formal complaints. There are grievance handling rules in a unionized workplace.

How do I write a grievance note?

There should be a summary of what was mentioned, capturing the valuable points. Take the time to examine the facts that either prove or disprove the claims. You should keep enough margined note paper and place the initials of the person making the point in the margin.

What is a good example of grievance?

The individual grievance refers to a complaint that management has violated the rights of an individual as defined in the collective agreement or law, or through unfair practices. Disciplines, demotions, classification disputes, denial of benefits are examples of this type of grievance.

Does a grievance have to be in writing?

There is no requirement for an employee to present their grievances in writing. They can make one verbally if they wish. But if you do not know what the exact problem is from their verbal explanation, ask them to write down your concerns. You will have no doubts about the issue(s) and you can further investigate it.

How do you write a professional letter of concern?

  • Make a formal introduction.
  • Describe your primary concerns.
  • Explain the effects
  • Include examples
  • Give suggestions for improvements.
  • Attach supporting documents
  • Conclude your letter
  • Edit and proofread
A Basic Guide to Writing A Formal Grievance Letter

Pam is an expert grammarian with years of experience teaching English, writing and ESL Grammar courses at the university level. She is enamored with all things language and fascinated with how we use words to shape our world.

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