Workplace conflicts are disputes involving co-workers and employers and employees. Common workplace conflicts vary from harassment to personal problems and discrimination. When a workplace dispute arises, an employee can file a grievance. A grievance is a formal complaint. The complaint is filed with the employer. The employee filing the complaint must follow specific grievance procedures. These procedures are established by the employer.

What is a Grievance Procedure?

A grievance procedure is a hierarchical structure used to present a complaint and resolve the workplace dispute. The specific procedure is generally defined by the:

  • Type of grievance covered
  • Stages by which the parties proceed to attempt to resolve the issue
  • Parties responsible for resolving the dispute at each stage of the process
  • Time limits on the grievance 

Are Grievance Procedures Formal?

No. The procedure does not have to be formal. Regardless of being informal or formal, the procedure must allow employers to hear and resolve the grievance. 

What is Usually the Final Step in a Grievance Procedure?

The final step is typically presenting the grievance to a pre-designated arbitrator. The arbitrator’s job is to determine the rights of each party under employment laws. This decision is usually final. But not all companies have a pre-designated arbitrator. 

My Employer Didn’t Resolve My Grievance, Can I Sue My Employer?

In some cases, employees have sued employers when the disputes haven’t been resolved. An employee has a choice to file a lawsuit or file a complaint with a government agency such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). 

What is the EEOC? 

The EEOC is a federal agency focused on stopping discrimination in the workplace. Discrimination generally involves gender, pregnancy, and disabilities. 

Should I Talk to an Employment Lawyer about Filing a Grievance with My Employer?

Yes. Talk to an employment lawyer to understand your rights regarding your workplace dispute.