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Formal Stage 1

STAGE 1 Hearing: Step-by-Step Guide


 Refer to letter 4: Grievance Stage 1 hearing invite - complainant

 Refer to letter 5: Grievance Stage 1 hearing invite – respondent

 Refer to letter 10 and 11 for rescheduled invites for complaint and respondent.

  • On receipt of the grievance notification form, the grievance should be acknowledged in writing.
  • The first stage of the formal procedure will be chaired by the employee’s next in line manager or above.
  • The manager hearing the grievance must have had no previous involvement in the grievance prior to this stage.
  • A representative of Human Resources should be present at the hearing of all formal grievances to provide professional advice to support the process.
  • The manager hearing the grievance should ensure that they have a fully completed Grievance Notification Form submitted by the employee following the informal Grievance process. This should specify the nature of the grievance, explaining the basis of their complaint, any potential witnesses and indicating how they would wish the grievance to be resolved. If the Grievance Notification Form is not fully completed, the employee should be asked to complete the full details. 
  • The manager hearing the grievance should ensure that they have any written record of the discussions and outcome of the informal stage.
  • The manager should arrange a meeting to hear the grievance within 4 working weeks of receipt of the Grievance Notification Form. Letters should be sent confirming arrangements to the complainant and the respondent with reasonable notice of the hearing.   The letter will also advised that statement of cases should be sent to the manager hearing the case, who will have responsibility for ensuring that all paperwork is circulated at least one week prior to hearing taking place. If there has been agreement to extend the timescales expressed in the policy this should be covered in the letter sent.
  • For a template management statement of case see templates.
  • The manager should book a suitable room for conducting the hearing, which will be free from interruptions.
  • Adequate rooms/waiting areas should be provided for all parties involved in the hearing, including witnesses where possible.
  • It is the responsibility of the complainant and respondent to arrange for their witnesses to attend.

Formal Stage 1 Hearing

  • The manager chairing the grievance should invite the individual, their representative and management side (if applicable) in to the room at the same time and confirm with any witnesses when they will be required. 
  • The Chair should introduce the panel and ask the others present to introduce themselves.
  • If the employee is not accompanied, then the chair should clarify with the employee their right to be represented by a trade union representative, colleague or friend and ask if the employee is happy to proceed with the hearing.
  • The Chair should explain the process of the hearing.
  • The hearing may be adjourned at the discretion of the Chair to enable further evidence to be produced by either party, or any other reason or at the request of either party.
  • Both the complainant and the respondent must be given the full opportunity to present cases verbally and call any witnesses.
  • The complainant or their representative shall have the opportunity to state their case to the panel in the first instance.
  • If applicable, the complainant may wish to call witnesses. Witnesses will only be present at the hearing when they are presenting evidence.
  • If applicable, the management representative will be asked to present their case and call any relevant witnesses to support their case.
  • The complainant or their representative and members of the panel shall have the opportunity to ask questions of the management representatives and witnesses.
  • Written evidence not previously circulated and presented at the hearing may only be admitted at the discretion of the chair of the appeal hearing.
  • The panel may wish to clarify the information presented or consider if additional information is required in order to make a decision.
  • The management representative and the employee or their representative shall have the opportunity to sum up their case if they so wish. The employee or their representative should have the right to speak last.       In their summing up, neither party may introduce any new matters.
  • The panel will either take a decision if they feel there is no further information required, or alternatively, provide timescales to the employee for the outcome to be communicated.

 Outcome of Stage 1

  Refer to letter 6: Grievance stage 1 outcome

  • An outcome letter detailing the manager’s decision and the reason for the decision should be provided to the employee within 1 working week of the hearing,
  • This letter must include details of the manager who will hear the next stage of the process (Stage 2) and how the complainant should exercise their right of appeal should they remain dissatisfied with the outcome of the hearing.


Last Updated: 29 May 2018