Grievance Policy & Procedures

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An employee grievance policy is a step-by-step method in which people who feel they have been wronged can alert management about the problem or issue. A fast and effective solution benefits all involved. Your employees are happy and productive and management has avoided what can be a lengthy and expensive process of resolution.[1]

Rather than turning a deaf ear to complaints, nonprofits need to provide employees with a credible listener who will also provide an objective review of their grievance. Employees will feel fairly treated if they have had an opportunity to tell their story, and the nonprofit has the benefit of learning, outside of litigation, the details of the employee's concerns. Insurance carriers and defense lawyers recommend that every employer have some sort of internal procedure for resolving complaints.[2]

Basic Elements of a Formal Written Grievance Procedure

  • A requirement that employees utilize the grievance procedure by submitting their disputes or complaints to the nonprofit in a timely fashion;
  • A statement of how complaints are submitted (usually in writing) and to whom (usually there is a choice of two people so that if one of the identified persons makes the complainant uncomfortable, the other is still an option);
  • Identification of who will review the complaints and make the determination;
  • A statement that retaliation against any employee who brings a complaint is prohibited and will subject the retaliator to discipline up to and including discharge; and
  • A statement that the nonprofit will report back to the complaining party, and that the nonprofit's decision is final. [3]

Resources & Sample Documents

Nonprofit Risk Management Center: Grievance Procedures and Internal Dispute Resolution Should Staff Contact with the Board Be Restricted?

MissionBox: Personnel Policies and Procedures for Your Nonprofit