Employee Grievances

It is a compliant of dissatisfaction against employers, that may caused by different factors like wage, working hours, working condition of employment etc. In other words, it is an employee’s perception of unfair treatment on the job.

According to Trotta, “A grievance is a complaint about a job that creates dissatisfaction or discomfort, whether it is valid or not. The compliant may be made by an individual or by the union.”

Similarly, according to Keith Davis, “Grievance is any real or imagined feeling of personal injustice that an employee has about the employment relation.”

Thus, grievance is a formal complaint on factual or imaginary hardship suffered by the employees to the employers.

Causes of Employee Grievances

The causes of employee grievances are as follows:

  1. Unclear job contracts between management and labor: The job contract between management and labor must be clear. It means terms and condition of job such as pay, other benefits ,job level, workplace ,job goals as well as the employees’ expectation from the job must be clear between both the parties. So, when they are unclear, both may interpret on their own way which creates employee grievances.
  2. Violation of labor agreement by management: When management deliberately violates the labor agreement such as lower pay, inequitable treatment, unsafe working places etc. then, a grievance arises.
  3. Unfair labor union practice: Labor unions are the representative body of workers who works for employees’ benefits. However, due to political motivation such unions even interfere unnecessarily on working process of This is also a cause of employee grievances.
  4. Perceived unfair treatment by superiors: Due to unfair supervisory role against subordinates, such as, unclear instruction, scolding, unfair treatment, harassment etc causes employee grievances in an organization.
  5. Personality trait: Some employees are always complaining. Due to inferiority complex or having the habit of drawing unnecessary attention towards oneself, employees complain on every little matter. They are habituated in voicing grievances.

Handling employee grievances (grievance procedure)

Following are the methods of handling grievances:

  1. Open door policy: Under this policy, employees can freely complain about their problems to They walk-in any time and express their grievances. Management encourages expressing their problems, and handling them effectively in a mutually satisfying way. This method is popular in small organization and is helpful in promoting upward communication form employees to management.
  2. Grievance procedure: It is a formal organizational mechanism for dealing with employee The steps in grievances procedure are: (figure from Book)
    1. Grievant to Supervisor: Firstly grievant orally communicate with his/her immediate The supervisor discusses and gives decision to the problem. If the grievant is not satisfied on decision or solution, s/he proceeds further to next step.
    2. Grievant to Department Head: When grievant is not satisfied with the supervisor’s solution, s/he communicates with department head in written form i.e., s/he files the Department head gives his/her decision for concerned issue in a fixed time period. And, if it still not satisfies the employee, s/he proceeds further to grievance committee.
    3. Grievant to Grievance Committee: The committee which comprises both the employers and employee to handle grievance is a grievance committee. When employee is not satisfied with department head’s solution or decision, the problem is presented to grievance After careful analysis, the grievant committee gives its decision. And if the decision is still not satisfying to employee s/he may proceeds to top level management.
    4. Grievant to Top Level Management: After careful analysis top level management gives decision to employee to solve the Again, if top management decision does not satisfy the employee s/he proceeds to final solution procedure, i.e. voluntary arbitration.
    5. Voluntary Arbitration: It is an independent third party ,whose decision will be final and is binding on both parties .When employee is not satisfy with top level management’s decision, the grievance is referred for voluntary arbitration .Here, both parties present evidence and are cross examined and final decision is made, which must be followed by both the parties.