Dealing with grievances is never easy. But, for most employers, unfortunately, they come with the territory. 

And especially now, as grievance claims have surged by 30 percent in the last two years.

One of the most common reasons for grievances is ‘relationships with managers’, with more than half (54%) of those raised citing this as the reason.

Kate Palmer, HR Advice and Consultancy Director at Peninsula, says:

“There are several reasons why tensions may flare between employees and their line managers. One such example is the pressures created by the ongoing cost-of-living crisis, particularly where pay raises cannot be granted. Another might be the mass return to the office after years of remote or hybrid working as a result of the pandemic. 

“Whilst video calls and chat functions have been a useful replacement for in-person interaction during the pandemic, now that we’re starting to see more and more companies move back to being fully site-based, it appears to be bringing about challenges in the way that colleagues interact with each other.

“As such, there may be a need to remind employees about appropriate standards of workplace behaviour to avoid any conduct issues arising.

 “It’s always a good idea for employers to regularly circulate their handbooks and policies to all employees, so that there is no misunderstanding as to what is and what is not acceptable behaviour at work. In addition, it’s beneficial to supplement policies with management training.”

“Where grievances occur due to personality clashes, mediation can be a great tool. This allows both parties to talk privately and confidentially about their concerns and work towards a mutually acceptable solution with the support of a third-party and unbiased mediator. The mediator agrees a solution with both parties and sets out ways this can be achieved.

 “Whenever grievances arise, no matter the topic or cause, it’s important that they are taken seriously and investigated fully to avoid claims being made to a tribunal. It’s always recommended to refer to your written grievance policy which should set out the correct procedures. 

“With strong policies and procedures in place, business owners are in a much better position to manage all grievance issues consistently and in compliance with the relevant employment laws.”





Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.