If you are unhappy with the decision reached after the grievance hearing you are given the opportunity to appeal. The appeal is about looking at what happened previously in the grievance process and remedying any defects. The appeal is NOT however a rehearing of the original grievance hearing but rather an opportunity for the employee to highlight to an independent manager, with the authority to make an alternative decision, why they believe the decision not to uphold their grievance was wrong.
Appeals Process At A Glance
Registering an Appeal
- the employee must register an appeal, in writing to their Director.
- they must set out the grounds for appeal – it is insufficient just to state they wish to appeal.
- the notice of appeal must be submitted within 10 working days of receiving the grievance outcome in writing.
Who Hears the Appeal
- the appeal must be heard by the relevant Director
- the Director can in turn nominate a Head of Service
- must be someone with no prior involvement in the case
When Should the Appeal be Heard
- The manager appointed to hear the appeal should contact the employee in writing with the appeal arrangements as soon as possible, informing them of their right to be accompanied at the appeal hearing.
- the appeal hearing should be held within 10 working days of receipt of the employee’s written notice of appeal.
- If for some good and sufficient reason it is not practicable to hold the hearing within this timescale then the employee must be informed as soon as this becomes evident, given an explanation for the delay and advised of the date the hearing is expected to take place. This must only be within a few days of the 10-day timescale.
For more information on the employee’s right to be accompanied, click here.
Who Should Attend the Appeal Hearing?
- the manager holding the appeal
- an HR Adviser to provide the manager with procedural advice and guidance
- the appellant
- the appellant’s companion if they wish to be accompanied. This should either be a work colleague or trade union representative, but not a spouse, partner or legal representative
- the manager who took the decision at the grievance hearing stage
Conducting the Appeal Hearing
The chair should hold the hearing in as private location as possible and ensure that there will be no interruptions (e.g. phone calls, maintenance work). The chair should identify a separate room in case adjournments are necessary and arrange for water to be made available in both rooms.
The following steps should be followed by the Chair conducting the Appeal Hearing.
Factors to Consider Before Reaching a Decision
The Chair should consider the following to arrive at a fair and reasonable decision.
- be prepared to overturn a previous decision if it becomes apparent that it was not soundly based and is wrong – such an outcome does not undermine authority but rather demonstrates the independent nature of the appeal
- listen carefully to both sides of the case and make a judgement as objectively as possible
- satisfy themselves that no unfair bias or prejudice affected the original decision
- consider whether previous responses were within the band of reasonable responses
- consider whether any procedural deficiencies may have unfairly affected the outcome and disadvantaged the employee (if this is the case made by the appellant)
- pay particular attention to any new matters/evidence that has come to light, whether this would have affected the outcome of the grievance hearing, whether the employee had the opportunity to raise these matters at the grievance hearing. The chair should ensure that manager has an opportunity to comment on these
- check whether similar grievances have been raised before and if so, how they were resolved
- check whether the employee’s proposed remedy is reasonably achievable and indeed, whether it may render the Council vulnerable to other grievances from employees who may potentially be disadvantaged were the grievance to be upheld (even in part)
- explore possible opportunities to resolve the grievance, and check the legitimacy of potential solutions with other managers and People and Organisation.
Click here to return to the main Managing Grievances page.
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