An employee has raised a complaint on their last day. Is this a grievance?

Posted in : Seamus Says - Employment Law Discussion on 3 August 2018
Seamus McGranaghan
O'Reilly Stewart Solicitors
Issues covered:

Q: "Can you advise on an employee who has left employment raising a complaint on their last day of employment?" Does that count as a grievance and how should we handle this?

Seamus: Well, it may well as a grievance. It may not be something that's related at all to their personal working issues. It may be that they have a grievance just about the company's policy and procedure on the matter. So those should be viewed carefully. It used to be in the old statutory grievance procedure that you had the modified grievance procedure, which was specifically set up for someone that had left and was raised in the agreement and was raised in the grievance post-termination.

It may be that there's a grievance or a concern that you ask them and you have a discussion with them about, "How would you like this dealt with?" It may be that they'll say, "Well, I don't care. I'm just bringing it to your attention. I'm leaving." It may have wider implications for the company and a proper investigation follows. Or it may be that they're unhappy and they are getting it in the exit interview dealt with.

Certainly, one way of dealing with it would be to possibly look at adopting that kind of modified procedure and maybe giving a written response back to their grievance that they've put in and offer them a right of appeal if that's the way to deal with it and to proceed with it. But it's unlikely in most circumstances that the employee is going to want to do anything further if they're leaving.

I think that you do need to be careful that if it's an aggrieved employee and they're leaving and there's a chance or a likelihood they're going to bring a claim for constructive dismissal or breach of contract, that you do deal with it in a formal capacity, and it may be that you're writing to the employee and inviting them into a meeting or else giving them the option to say, "If you don't want to come in and meet with us because you've left, we're happy to investigate and provide you with our response in that respect."

Note: Legal-Island is running a Masterclass in Handling Workplace Grievances training workshop with Michele Berry. Register now before it's sold out!


This article is correct at 03/08/2018

The information in this article is provided as part of Legal-Island's Employment Law Hub. We regret we are not able to respond to requests for specific legal or HR queries and recommend that professional advice is obtained before relying on information supplied anywhere within this article.

Seamus McGranaghan
O'Reilly Stewart Solicitors

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