When an employee feels like they have been treated unfairly in the workplace – either by a colleague or supervisor – or that something is out of place, they can air their complaints professionally through a Grievance Letter. This document captures the nature of the complaint including when, how, and why it happened and asks that the recipient respond appropriately. Below, we look at what the letter entails, when to use it, and how to write it.
What Is a Grievance Letter?
A grievance letter if a formal document explaining the writer’s concerns or complains regarding an incident or condition at work. It is usually addressed to a person of authority, such as an employer, requesting that they take action and remedy the problem. Depending on the issue, employees write grievance letters to complain about:
- A breach of their employment contract
- Unfair treatment in the workplace
- Low or unpaid wages
- Victimization, or
When to Use a Grievance Letter
Your reason for writing a grievance letter will depend on the situation and your environment. For example, a student could write to their teacher complaining about bullying. In the workplace, you could send this letter for the following reasons:
- You are being bullied by your coworkers
- You are concerned about your health or safety
- You believe someone has breached your contract
- You were discriminated against
Grievance Letter Templates & Examples
How to Write a Grievance Letter
Writing a Grievance Letter is a great first step toward resolving an injustice in the workplace. If you have proof you have been treated unfairly, here is how to go about putting your complaint in writing:
Step 1: Catch the Reader Up
Start by providing as many details as possible about the issue so that the reader understands exactly what happened and why you are writing. Some details you should include are:
- Date and time of the incident
- Names of people involved
- Names of eye witnesses
If you have tried resolving the matter before, describe your previous trials and why they did not succeed. include dates and copies of written letters.
Step 2: Establish a Timeline
State the exact date and time of the incident to give the reader a glimpse of the timeline. If you don’t remember the exact times, describe what happened before and after.
Step 3: Provide Evidence
Only mention facts and back them with evidence. If you have eyewitnesses or documents that can prove your complaint, attach or mention them in the letter.
Step 4: Check Your Language
Use professional and polite language as being abusive or offensive could backfire.
Step 5: Suggest a Solution
Explain or make a suggestion on how the reader could resolve the matter. If appropriate, you can ask for compensation that is within reason.
Step 6: (Optional) Give a Warning
This is an optional step and only applicable in extreme situations. If you feel the reader is not taking your grievance seriously, mention the steps you will take if they don’t respond.
Step 7: Close and Edit
Proofread your grievance letter and edit it for any errors. Date, sign, and send it.
Types of Grievance Letter
Grievances are usually classified depending on how they arise, who filed them, and why they were filed. Here are some common types of grievance letters:
This is an official letter sent to a previous employer informing them that you disagree with their termination of your employment. It is usually written when you believe you were let go for unlawful reasons like whistleblowing or discrimination.
Grievance Letter Against Manager
You can send this letter if you believe your manager is treating you unfairly or different from your colleagues. Since it is about your manager, this letter should be sent to your manager’s manager.
Grievance Letter for Unfair Treatment
This letter is sent when an employee feels that their employer is not providing a work environment that allows equal opportunity for everyone. It is used to highlight unfair employment practices
Grievance Letter for Bullying
If your colleagues or supervisors are treating you in a malicious, insulting, intimidating, abusive, or offensive manner, you can use this letter to complain.
Grievance letters about pay cover a wide range of issues related to wages and benefits, such as:
- Differences between your wages and those of colleagues with similar roles
- Unsatisfying wages or benefits
- Unpaid work expenses like travel allowances
This letter is usually prepared to inform management that they are in violation of a company policy. It could be written by an individual but is usually sent by employee unions.
As the name suggests, this is a complaint about an action that violates the rights of one person but is covered by law or company policy. Examples include denial or benefits, demotion, and discipline.
In contrast, a group grievance letter covers a complaint by a group of employees such as an entire department or branch. It could be about shared interests such as lack of overtime.
Frequently Asked Questions
How should I close a grievance letter?
In the last paragraph, suggest a solution detailing how you would like the reader to resolve the issue, complete with specific steps and timelines. Say thank you and sign your name.
How should I answer a grievance letter?
Once you have contemplated the matter, inform the employee of your intended course of action in writing within five business days. If you don’t plan to act, explain why you will not uphold the grievance and inform them that they can appeal your decision
Who do you send a grievance letter to?
Refer to your workplace grievance policy to determine to whom you should send your letter. If there is no policy, send it to your manager or the company HR manager.
What are the three basic steps of a grievance procedure?
- Step 1 – Discuss the matter informally with your employer
- Step 2 – Put it in writing.
- Step 3 – Wait for the investigation to take place.
- Step 4 – Attend the grievance hearing to learn of the results.
From time to time, things will go wrong in the workplace, necessitating the writing of a Grievance Letter. Before preparing this document, review your company policies and talk to an attorney – in cases of harassment, discrimination, or unlawful termination – and weigh your options. You can then draft the letter using formal, professional, and direct language.