Can You File a Grievance While You Are Employed?

by Faizah Imani

When you are experiencing workplace conflict, it can put a damper on your morale. Low morale can have a domino effect, resulting in decreased productivity and ultimately, a decision to quit your job. For this reason, it's important to address workplace concerns before things get out hand. Most employers have a conflict resolution policy to help resolve your issues.

Yes, You Can

It is absolutely possible to file a workplace grievance while you are employed. Whether you are allowed to file a grievance depends upon the company you work for. Not all companies have a grievance process in place. If your company has a grievance process in place, it's best to file a grievance while you are still an employee. If you wait until after you are no longer employed to file a grievance, the company may sweep your grievance under the rug.

Determine The Protocol

Each company has its own protocol for filing a grievance. In some cases, you are required to address the matter with your supervisor or other member of management before taking further action. The grievance protocol for your employer may be documented in an employee handbook. If not, speak with your boss or other members of management to determine the process. If your employer is large enough to have a human resources department, confer with a department representative to determine the grievance protocol.

Filing The Grievance

Some employers have an official grievance form for you to complete. Others do not. If no form is available, use your computer's word processing software to type up your own grievance document. When completing the form, document the details leading up to your grievance. Include incident dates, times, what happened, whom you spoke with and witnesses' names. If you spoke with a member of management to no avail, document the manager's name and her response to the situation. Document the outcome you would like to see as a result of your grievance. Make a copy of your grievance form before submitting it to management or human resources. You need to have a copy for your own records.

What Happens Next

Once you file a grievance, your employer has a specific time frame to respond to, investigate and address your complaint. The exact time frame varies by employer. However, it is usually 30 to 45 days from the date your grievance is received. If your grievance is not addressed, send a followup letter to the manager or human resources. In the followup letter, briefly mention your filed grievance. Ask when you can expect an investigation or resolution. Make a copy of this followup letter and save it for your own records. If your grievance remains unaddressed, you must decide whether to involve an attorney or third party agency. If the matter involves unfair wages, hours or discrimination, you may decide to file a complaint with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or a corresponding state agency.

About the Author

Faizah Imani, an educator, minister and published author, has worked with clients such as Harrison House Author, Thomas Weeks III, Candle Of Prayer Company and "Truth & Church Magazine." Her dossier includes JaZaMM WebDesigns, assistant high-school band director, district manager for the Clarion Ledger and event coordinator for the Vicksburg Convention Center.

Photo Credits

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