Which? lawyers give tips on your rights at workOur advice on tackling problems

29 January 2008

A woman looking confused with a stack of paperwork

Tax codes can appear confusing

Which? lawyers have been receiving a record number of phone calls from people who need employment advice.

Which? Legal Service is urging employees to understand their legal rights at work so they can deal effectively with any problems as soon as they arise.

Our lawyers say that’s much better than having to figure out what to do when you're already in a stressful situation.

Which? Legal Service

Which? Legal Service Senior Lawyer Joanne Lezemore says: ‘Employers are legally obliged to have legal procedures in place for dealing with grievances, dismissal and disciplinary actions.

‘These procedures allow you to raise any concerns you have about your job, your terms and conditions and the way your employer or the people you work with treat you. Forewarned is forearmed, so it pays to check where you stand.’

General points from Which? Legal Service if you have a grievance are:

  • try to sort the problem out informally at first
  • raise the matter with your line manager, or if your problem is with that person,  go to the next most senior person
  • make a note of communications and keep copies of all correspondence
  • make notes at meetings, including the date, who you met and the main points discussed
  • if you are a union member, go to your union for advice and support.

Grievance procedure

If your complaint needs to go further, Which? Legal Service advises you to follow the grievance procedures of your employer. These should always include a written statement - you should send your employer a letter regarding your grievance, including dates and times as necessary - and a meeting. 

An initial meeting should be arranged by your employer to discuss your grievance. You are entitled to be accompanied by a colleague of your choice or a trade union official. Your employer must tell you what they have decided after the meeting and you have the right to appeal against any decision.

Lastly, the procedure should include an appeal meeting. Write a letter to your employer telling them of your decision to appeal; a meeting should be arranged by your employer after which they must tell you their final decision. If you are still not satisfied and believe that your employment rights have been infringed, you can make a complaint to an employment tribunal.

For more information regarding employment problems visit the Which? Legal Service website or call 0800 252 100.