According to the statutory ACAS Code of Practice, grievances are "concerns, problems or complaints that employees raise with their employers" and in practice this could cover a range of issues related to work, including about working conditions, relationships, working practices, organisational change or bullying and harassment.
Whilst the Code of Practice expects all organisations to have a grievance procedure (and maintained schools are required to have one under the School Staffing Regulations) there is no standalone requirement to have a bullying and harassment policy/procedure and such allegations can be addressed through a grievance procedure. Sometimes, however, it can be helpful - particularly as a preventative measure - if bullying and harassment is given particular attention through a separate procedure. Employers are liable for acts of harassment perpetrated by employees "in the course of their employment", regardless of whether the employer knew of the harassment. Individual employees can also be held personally liable for their actions. Aside from harassment claims, bullying more generally can lead to an employee's resignation and a constructive dismissal claim. It is important, therefore, that preventative measures are taken wherever possible - a policy can form a useful part of this approach.
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There are also answers to a number of FAQs on grievances, bullying and harassment which you may find useful if you have a particular query that has not been addressed in our other resources.
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