The University of Bath’s aim is to ensure that employees with a grievance relating to their employment can have them properly dealt with fairly and impartially.
The University's objective is to encourage communication so that questions and difficulties arising during employment can be brought into the open and resolved quickly, fairly and as close to the level of origin as possible.
It may sometimes be necessary to deviate from the procedure in order to give the grievance fair consideration. Where this is proposed, the reasons will be made clear to all parties.
The policy and procedure apply to all staff on University of Bath employment contracts. It is made clear where the procedure differs for staff covered by Statute 25.
Staff may raise grievances as an individual or collectively as a group of staff.
This procedure may not be used to resolve issues of bullying and harassment. The University's Dignity & Respect policy and procedure sets out how complaints of bullying, harassment, victimisation or other matters in relation to dignity and respect will be handled at both informal and formal stages.
This procedure may not be used to resolve grading issues. These should be raised through the University’s Job Evaluation and Grading Review procedure.
All references to ‘line manager’ in this policy in relation to the handling of grievances should be taken to apply to whomever is handling the grievance.
Staff covered by Statute 25:
- Academic Staff: Professors, Readers, Senior Lecturers, Lecturers
- Senior Administrative Staff: Director of Estates, Director of Finance, University Librarian
The University Mediation Service is available to assist the parties to a grievance to find their own solution to disputes. If at any stage in the grievance process the parties believe that the grievance could be resolved through mediation, the University Mediation Service may be used. This service is accessed through the Equality and Diversity Manager or the Department of Human Resources. Normally mediation will form part of an informal attempt to resolve the grievance. If the parties decide to attempt to resolve their dispute through mediation once they have invoked the formal grievance procedure, the procedure will be suspended while the mediation takes place.
2.2 Grievance procedure
Raising a grievance informally
Any employee who has a grievance relating to their employment may raise the matter informally with their immediate manager, or if the grievance is against them with a manager who is not the subject of the grievance, making it clear that they are raising a grievance.
The grievance will normally be investigated by the manager without unreasonable delay. This may include meeting with the individual or individuals who raised the grievance, the person against whom the grievance is raised or other witnesses. The manager will inform the employee of the outcome of the investigation orally or in writing. A written reply will normally be given if the employee requests it. It is hoped that the majority of cases will be resolved at this stage. The formal grievance procedure will normally only be invoked if the grievance has not been resolved informally. The University Mediation Service (see 2.1) is available to staff to assist an informal resolution of the grievance.
2.3 Formal grievance procedure for staff covered by Statute 25
a) If the grievance has not been resolved informally, the aggrieved employee may submit their grievance to the Vice-Chancellor in writing within 10 working days of being informed of the outcome of the informal investigation. The written statement will set out the nature of the grievance and the remedy sought. The Vice-Chancellor will refer the matter to a Grievance Committee for consideration.
b) The Grievance Committee to be appointed by the Council will comprise:
- the Deputy Vice-Chancellor or a Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Chair)
- one member of Council not being a person employed by the University
- one member of Academic Staff nominated by Senate
c) If the aggrieved employee has any grounds for objection to the inclusion on the Grievance Committee of any particular individual they must make their objection known in writing to the Vice-Chancellor and it will be taken into consideration.
d) None of the members of the Committee will have had any prior involvement with the case. Where necessary, this will be done under the urgent business procedure.
e) The hearing by the Grievance Committee will be arranged in accordance with the procedure set out in Section 25, Part VI, of the Statutes and Ordinance 21, Grievance Determinations Ordinance.
2.4 Formal grievance procedure for all staff not covered by Statute 25
a) If the grievance has not been resolved informally, the aggrieved employee may submit their grievance to their Head of Department in writing, copied to the Director of Human Resources, within 10 working days of being informed of the outcome of the informal grievance. This written statement should set out the nature of the grievance and the remedy sought.
b) On receipt of the formal grievance, the Head of Department or a senior manager designated by the Head of Department will review the complaint and commission any further documentation or investigation including the informal investigation and any interview notes and further interviews.
c) The investigation may seek to clarify the nature of the grievance, ask for information to be provided or conduct interviews with relevant parties. The employee has the right to be accompanied by a colleague or Trade Union representative.
d) The employee will have the opportunity to explain their complaint and how they would like to see the matter resolved. Any other party to the grievance may be invited to give evidence.
e) As soon as the Head of Department or designated manager has completed investigations a meeting will be arranged to discuss findings.
f) Once the Head of Department or designated manager has heard and considered the employee's grievance, they will need to decide whether the grievance is justified or whether it should be dismissed. If the grievance is found to be justified, they may make recommendations or determine actions for redress of the grievance. The Head of Department or designated manager must inform the employee in writing (copied to the Director of Human Resources) of the outcome of the grievance as soon as possible after the meeting advising of the right to appeal.
g) A record will be made of the meeting. The parties to the grievance will have the opportunity to comment on any factual inaccuracies in how their comments are recorded and will be asked to sign a copy of the record of the meeting to confirm that it is an accurate record.
2.5 Appeal procedure for staff covered by Statute 25
a) If the employee is dissatisfied with the outcome of the Grievance Committee, they have the right to appeal to the Vice-Chancellor. The employee must set out clearly their grounds for appeal in writing within 10 working days of receipt of notification of the outcome of the Grievance Committee.
b) The Vice-Chancellor, assisted by the Director of Human Resources, will meet with the employee to hear and determine the appeal. The employee has the right to be accompanied by a friend, colleague or Trade Union representative.
c) The Director of Human Resources will inform the employee of the outcome of the appeal, which is final. This written confirmation will normally be provided within five working days of the appeal hearing.
2.6 Appeal procedure for all staff not covered by Statute 25
a) If the employee is dissatisfied with the outcome of their grievance after the meeting, they have the right of appeal. The appeal must be submitted in writing to the Director of Human Resources within 10 working days of receipt of the outcome of the grievance and must make clear the grounds of appeal.
b) The appeal will be heard and determined by a more senior manager than the one who dealt with the original grievance, assisted by an HR Business Partner. Neither will have had previous involvement with the case. The employee has the right to be accompanied by a colleague or trade union representative.
c) If the aggrieved employee has any grounds for objection to the inclusion on the appeal panel of any particular individual they must make their objection known in writing to the Director of HR and it will be taken into consideration.
d) The timescales and notice periods for the procedure will be as for the Formal Grievance Procedure.
2.7 After employment
a) Wherever possible, a grievance should be dealt with under the above procedure before an employee leaves the University. However, a former employee may submit a grievance up to three months after his or her employment with the University has ceased.
b) Where it is not reasonably practicable to apply the above procedure, or by agreement between the former member of staff and the University, a modified procedure will apply. Under the modified procedure, the former member of staff shall set down in writing the nature of the alleged grievance and send it to the Director of Human Resources. The University will consider the grievance and respond in writing.
c) There is no right of appeal.
2.8 Further information
a) Grievances should be addressed in good time. The employee will receive an explanation of any delay in the process and be advised of when progress is expected.
b) The consideration of a grievance may be deferred if other proceedings relevant to the individual and their grievance are pending or in progress.
c) No action will be taken against employees who raise a grievance in good faith. The University reserves the right to instigate disciplinary action if the case is judged to be malicious or where allegations are made that are known to be untrue. Human Resources should be consulted.
3 Roles and responsibilities
a) All staff at the University of Bath have a responsibility to treat others well and work within the University’s policies.
b) Grievances will normally be handled by the immediate line manager except that, if the grievance is against that person, they should be addressed to a more senior manager within the department.
c) If the grievance is against the head of department, or there are other reasons why it may not be appropriate for it to be handled by the head of department, advice should be sought from the Director of Human Resources (or the University Secretary if the grievance is about the Department of Human Resources) as to who will handle the grievance.
d) The HR Department can advise at any stage of this procedure.
Owner: Peter Eley
Version number: 2.6
Approval date: 14.03.2016
Approved by: JUCNC & VCG
Date of last review:16 March 2016 (Minor revision in October 2019 in relation new Dignity & Respect policy and Dignity & Respect procedure)