Grievance Letter – How to Write and Respond to it

Grievance Letter – Silver Lining

Compromises. Compromises… You tried to ignore your grievances, hoping beyond hope for a favorable outcome. But it has been a while and it seems like you have to take the awkward, and possibly uncomfortable, road towards a formal grievance letter.

We know, you might be a bit shy or kind of a people pleaser, which is why you tried to put off the grievance letter. But sometimes it becomes a necessary measure to solve an issue. It is not always the case that it would put a bad image on the concerned parties, it is quiet the opposite actually. It would promote a company’s image and portray their problem-solving skills. Employees would notice that they are being cared for at the firm, resulting in morale boost, loyalty, and feelings to work harder for their employers.



What is a Grievance Letter?

A grievance letter is a formal, hardcopy, complaint submitted by the employee in regard to concerns or problems at work. Grievance letters differ from complaints on the basis of formality they represent. Before you begin the letter, your first priority should be to solve the matter by dialogue with concerned parties or HR department. Maximum of cases get resolved without the need of a grievance letter. It should be taken as a last resort after every initial means of solution become exhausted.



Reasons for Writing a Grievance Letter

An employee can find plenty of reasons for writing the grievance letter. But if the reason is not genuine, it will do you more harm than good. You can check the seriousness of your issue from the following list of reasons:

  •          Compensation for tasks beyond job responsibilities
  •          Benefits that are often offered for someone of your cadre
  •          Health or safety concern in your work environment
  •          Bullying, harassing, or discriminatory behavior in workplace
  •          Improper workload distributions
  •          Organizational changes
  •          New working practices
  •          How to write Grievance Letter?


Start your letter by giving your employment details, such as how long have you been working for the company, your job role, and responsibilities etc. Provide contextual information to help the reader understand your issue and get a good perception of chain of events leading to the writing of letter. Give details of any informal steps taken by your side to resolve the issue. You may include the dialogue you might have had with concerned parties. Also include your preferred solution of problem, for instance: apology, staff trainings, or refunds of expenditures etc.


Also read: Grievance procedure – How to Handle it Step by Step


Tips For Employees

It is quiet common that you will become emotional. Since you were affected by the issue emotionally, in the first place, that you had to write the letter, it is better to stick to formal language in the letter. The way a grievance letter is presented is directly responsible for how and when then matter gets resolved. We have created a few tips that you can follow for your favorable solution of an unfavorable situation.

  •          The grievance is resolved by a neutral 3rd party, so make sure to add every detail while
  •          Staying to the point. Going off topic can be confusing and hard to comprehend. Keep in mind you can voice extra details during hearings.
  •          State facts and avoid hearsay.
  •          Never use offensive or abusive language. You wouldn’t gain much from angering the reader.
  •          Explain how you feel about the issue while trying to avoid emotive languages.
  •          Provide any hard evidence if available to strengthen your claim.
  •          It is also a good practice to check the employer’s grievance policy, in addition with general worldwide practices.


Responding to Grievance Letter

It is important for managers or the concerned parties of the grievance letter to respond in professional and appropriate manner. They should not feel offended as it is a part of office life, where unlikeable situations arise, from time to time, for both: employees and employers.

The managers should uphold their calm and try to promote a culture of understanding. This situation is integral in their career as it may lead to trust in eyes of your boss and the employees. Following practices should be taken in response to a grievance letter:

  •          Hold grievance hearing meeting within 5 business days
  •          Inform employee in writing: the time and place for the meeting
  •          Hold the meeting in a private and distraction-free location
  •          Have an HR rep and someone who is uninvolved to take meeting notes
  •          Have a problem-solving approach
  •          Stay calm and cool even when employee gets a little hot
  •          Remind employee they have a right to have a fellow employee present at meeting
  •          After meeting, take a few days to follow-up to take a final decision
  •          Remind employee they can appeal to the decision taken for their grievances



Unlikeable conditions often arise in office workplace that require harsher solutions such as grievance letters. The way a grievance letter is presented is integral in how and when the issue gets resolved. A grievance letter puts the concerned parties in tough situations but there are several methods to even make best out of worst situations. It is the right of the employee to file a grievance letter, but it should be taken as a last resort, as there are some – lesser uncomfortable – solutions that can be taken.


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