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Grievances: What you need to know

In unionized workplaces, grievance procedures are regulated by the union contract and are generally formal, rule-based processes. The collective bargaining agreement will govern the handling of grievances filed by employees within the bargaining unit.
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Employers with no union in place have greater latitude to set up mechanisms for resolving grievances. As long as the mechanism provides a method by which individual employees can present grievances to management on an individual basis, it is acceptable. The best grievance procedures allow employees to discuss their concerns with multiple members of the management team, not just their immediate supervisors. For example, a common form of grievance procedure provides that an employee can appeal a grievance to management levels beyond his or her immediate supervisor. When sufficiently communicated to employees, a grievance procedure can be an effective form of risk management. Courts have found that employers have a defense in certain cases, such as sexual harassment claims, if the employee bringing the charge did not take advantage of his or her employer's grievance procedure.
The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). Even in a nonunionized workplace, grievances may be sometimes subject to federal regulation under the NLRA. This might occur when the presentation of a grievance by an employee or a group of employees in a nonunion plant is deemed to be a “concerted action,” i.e., actions taken by or on behalf of employees to improve their working conditions, and thus a protected activity under the NLRA (Saigon Gourmet Restaurant, Inc., 353 NLRB No. 110 (Mar. 9, 2009)). If a grievance is brought by an ...

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Grievances Resources

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Policies Grievance Handling (Strict)

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