Grievance Procedures - Not Just for Union Employers

Document created by 1050210 on Nov 13, 2014Last modified by 1050210 on Nov 13, 2014
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Published Date: 06/30/2014


Pat; Rountree

By Pat Rountree


At the recent CAI Employment and Labor Law Update, attorney Matt Keen from Ogletree Deakins recommended that all employers have a grievance or appeals process for employees. Although grievance procedures are often associated with union environments, they have benefits for non-union employers as well:


  • Perception of fairness – The employee has a chance to present their side to someone other than the supervisor if they believe the supervisor treated them unfairly, or if they are uncomfortable discussing the issue with their supervisor.
  • Communication – It opens up the communications channel. The employee gets to present their side of the story; the company gets a better understanding of how the employee perceives the situation, and there is resolution based on all the facts.
  • Right wrongs – If the employee was treated unfairly or inconsistently according to policy, the company has the opportunity to right wrongs, salvage employee relations, and avoid an EEO charge or other legal action.
  • Employee relations – Having the opportunity to discuss the situation and have an impartial review, even if the decision is not reversed, may be cathartic and salvage employee relations.
  • Failure of the employee to use the grievance process may benefit the employer in the event the employee later files an EEO charge or attempts other legal action.


Whether you have an Open Door Policy that gives the employee the opportunity to choose to present complaints to a higher level of management, or a Formal Appeals policy that requires review of every disciplinary action is a company decision. Some companies choose to include in their policy that an employee who has a complaint or grievance should submit it in writing within a certain timeframe, usually a week.


There are various policy samples for grievance procedures in the CAI Employee Handbook Guide. Look for the The specified item was not found. on our website. If you have additional questions, please contact a member of CAI's Advice & Resolution Team at 919‑878‑9222 or 336‑668‑7746.