Grievance means any type of dissatisfaction or discontentment arising out of factors related to an employee’s job which he thinks are unfair. A grievance arises when an employee feels that something has happened or is happening to him which he thinks is unfair, unjust or inequitable. In an organization, a grievance may arise due to several factors such as:

  • Violation of management’s responsibility such as poor working conditions
  • Violation of company’s rules and regulations
  • Violation of labor laws
  • Violation of natural rules of justice such as unfair treatment in promotion, etc.

Various sources of grievance may be categorized under three heads: (i) management policies, (ii) working conditions, and (iii) personal factors

        1. Grievance resulting from management policies include:
          • Wage rates
          • Leave policy
          • Overtime
          • Lack of career planning
          • Role conflicts
          • Lack of regard for collective agreement
          • Disparity between skill of worker and job responsibility
        2. Grievance resulting from working conditions include:
          • Poor safety and bad physical conditions
          • Unavailability of tools and proper machinery
          • Negative approach to discipline
          • Unrealistic targets
      • Grievance resulting from inter-personal factors include
        • Poor relationships with team members
        • Autocratic leadership style of superiors
        • Poor relations with seniors
        • Conflicts with peers and colleagues

It is necessary to distinguish a complaint from grievance. A complaint is an indication of employee dissatisfaction that has not been submitted in written. On the other hand, a grievance is a complaint that has been put in writing and made formal.

Grievances are symptoms of conflicts in industry. Therefore, management should be concerned with both complaints and grievances, because both may be important indicators of potential problems within the workforce. Without a grievance procedure, management may be unable to respond to employee concerns since managers are unaware of them. Therefore, a formal grievance procedure is a valuable communication tool for the organization.

Employee Grievance Redressal

Employee Grievances can be handled by adopting various measures. These measures are discussed separately in this section.

  • Open Door Policy
  • Step Ladder Procedure

Model Grievance Handling Procedure in Public Enterprises of India

1. An aggrieved employee can take up his grievances orally with his immediate superior, who will hear it and try to resolve the same at his level.

2. The hearing officer can refer the grievance to the Head of Department, or the Personnel Manager or the aggrieved employee himself give in writing to the Head of Department/Personnel Manager, who will take up the matter and give a hearing. The HOD will try to resolve the grievance.

3. Management may constitute a Grievance Redressal Committee at organizational level. This committee may hear the issues and make suggestions to management for resolve of the problem.