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According to Michael Jucius, ³ A grievance can be any discontent or
dissatisfaction, whether expressed or not, whether valid or not, and
arising out of anything connected with the company that an
employee thinks, believes, or even feels as unfair, unjust, or
A grievance means any discontentment or dissatisfaction in an
employee arising out of anything related to the enterprise where
he is working. It may not be expressed and even may not be valid.
It arises when an employee feels that something has happened or is
going to happen which is unfair, unjust or inequitable. Thus, a
grievance represents a situation in which an employee feels that
something unfavorable to him has happened or is going to happen.
In an industrial enterprise, an employee may have grievance
because of long hours of work, non-fulfillment of terms of service by
the management, unfair treatment in promotion, poor working
facilities, etc.
|rievances are symptoms of conflicts in the enterprise. Just like
smoke could mean fire, similarly grievances could lead to serious
problem if it is not addressed immediately! So they should be
handled very promptly and efficiently.
While dealing with grievances of subordinates, it is necessary to
keep in mind the following points:

å A grievance may or may not be real.

å |rievance may arise out of not one cause but multifarious


å Every individual does not give expression to his grievances.


A grievance may take any of the following forms:
 üactual: When an employee is dissatisfied with his job, for genuine or factual
reasons like a breach of terms of employment or any other reasons that are clearly
attributed to the management, he is said to have a factual grievance. Thus, factual
grievances arise when the legitimate needs are unfulfilled. The problem that he has
is real and not virtual
 pmaginary: When an employee¶s grievance or dissatisfaction is not because of any
factual or valid reason but because of wrong perception, wrong attitude or wrong
information he has. Such a grievance is called an imaginary grievance. Though it is
not the fault of management, the responsibility of dealing with it still rests with the
management. So the problem is not real. It is in the mind or just a feeling towards
someone or something. So be careful your grievances could be very much
 aisguised: An employee may have dissatisfaction for reasons that are unknown to
himself. This may be because of pressures and frustrations that an employee is
feeling from other sources like his personal life. I am sure you will agree that if you
have fought at home and come to the institute, you cannot concentrate in the class.
Similarly if you have had a bad day in the institute, that will reflect in the mood at
home. We are all humans and are sensitive to the environment that we operate in!
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 ? it interview: Employees usually quit organizations due to dissatisfaction or better
prospects elsewhere. Exit interviews, if conducted carefully, can provide important
information about employees¶ grievances. This can help the management to gather
feedback and to genuinely incorporate feedback. The management should carefully act
upon the information drawn from such employees .It should be careful that the
discontentment is reduced so that no more employees quit the organization because of
similar reasons.
 |ripe Bo es: These are boxes in which the employees can drop their anonymous
complaints. They are different from the suggestion boxes in which employees drop their
named suggestion with an intention to receive rewards It is normally said that if you want
to progress in life, you should be close to critics. These gripe boxes can perform the role
of critics for the organisation. The management should carefully act upon the information
thus gathered. Now I don¶t want to sound repetitive by saying that the internal customers
of an organisation should be satisfied if the external customers are to be kept happy.
 Rpinion Survey: The management can be proactive by conducting group meetings,
periodical interviews with employees, collective bargaining sessions etc. through which
one can get information about employees¶ dissatisfaction before it turns into a grievance.
 Rpen-door Policy. Some organisation extend a general invitation to their employees to
informally drop in the manager¶s room any time and talk over their grievances. This can
be very effective because it ca n nip the evil in the bud. That is it can take care of the
problem before it gets out of hand. In fact the management should hold formal and
informal get together with the employees. The management should also remember that
the employees might just need a patient hearing at times. They need blow off the steam
as we hear it more commonly.

X  |rievances resulting from working conditions
å Improper matching of the worker with the job.
å Changes in schedules or procedures.
å Non-availability of proper tools, machines and equipment for doing
the job.
å Unreasonably high production standards.
å Poor working conditions.
å Bad employer ± employee relationship, etc.
X |rievances resulting from management policy
å Wage payment and job rates.
å Leave.
å Overtime.
å Seniority and Promotional.
å Transfer.
å Disciplinary action.
å Lack of employee development plan.
å Lack of role clarity.

 X |rievances resulting from personal

 Xi) Over ± ambition.

 Xii) Excessive self-esteem or what we better know as


 Xiii) Impractical attitude to life etc.

å åå rustration

å åå Alienation

å åå De-motivation

å åå Slackness

å åå Low Productivity

å åå Increase in Wastage & Costs

å åå Absenteeism

å åå In discipline

å åå Labour unrest
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 A grievance should be dealt with in the first instance at the lowest level: that is, an
employee should raise his grievance with his immediate superior. It may be simple to
settle it on the spot and that will be the end of it. Even if it cannot be settled at that
level, the man¶s superior will know what is happening. This is necessary not only to
maintain his authority, but also to prevent him from being aggrieved, as he will
certainly be, if he is by-passed and hears of the complaint from his own superior.
 It must be made clear to the employee what line of appeal is available. If he cannot get
satisfaction from his immediate superior, he should know the next higher authority to
which he can go.
 Since delay causes frustration and tempers may rise and rumors spread around the
work, it is essential that grievances should be dealt with speedily. As it is said that a
stitch in time saves nine, similarly the problems of the employees should be taken care
of by the management least it should become a major for the management.
 The grievance procedure should be set up with the participation of the employees and
it should be applicable to all in the organisation. The policies and rules regarding
grievances should be laid down after taking inputs from the employees and it should
be uniformly applicable to all in the organisation. It should be agreed that there would
be no recourse to the official machinery of conciliation unless the procedure has been
carried out and there is still dissatisfaction, and moreover, there must be no direct
action on either side, which might prejudice the case or raise tempers while the
grievance is being investigated.
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 The complaint should be given a patient hearing by his superior. He should be allowed to
express himself completely. The management should be empathetic.

 The superior should try to get at the root of the problem. It should be remembered that
symptoms are not the problems. It should also be noted that if there are symptoms, there
would be a problem as well.

 The management must show it anxiety to remove the grievances of the workers. The
workers should feel that the management is genuinely interested in solving its problems.

 If the grievances are real and their causes located, attempts should be made to remove the

 If the grievances are imaginary or unfounded, attempts should be made to convince the

 Every grievance must be handled within the reasonable time limit. I am sure you will agree
with this. Imagine you have a genuine problem and you share it with the authorities. You
will also expect immediate action taken to take care of your problem.
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 All grievances should be put into writing. Some proofs required
as well«.

 Relevant facts about the grievance must be gathered. The

management should not haste!

 Decision taken to redress the grievance of the worker must be

communicated to him.

 ollow up action should be taken to know the response of the

forced employee. This is to make sure that he is happy or not! At
the end of the day the satisfaction of the aggrieved party is
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A grievance procedure should incorporate the following features:
 . Conformity with e isting legislation: The procedure should be
designed in conformity with the existing statutory provisions. Where
practicable, the procedure can make use of such machinery as the law
might have already provided for.
 . Acceptability: Everybody must accept the grievance procedure. In
order to be generally acceptable, it must ensure the following:
 A sense of fair-play and justice to the worker,
 Reasonable exercise of authority to the manager, and
 Adequate participation of the union.
 . Simplicity: The following points should be noted in this regard:
The procedure should be simple enough to be understood.
 The steps should be as few as possible.
 Channels for handling grievances should be carefully developed.
 Employees must know the authorities to be contacted at various levels.
 Information about the procedure should be thoroughly disseminated among
all employees through pictures, charts, diagrams, etc.
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 M. Promptness: Speedy settlement of a grievance is the cornerstone of a
sound personnel policy. It should be remembered that justice delayed is justice
denied. The procedure should aim at a rapid disposal of the grievance. This
can be achieved by incorporating the following feature in the procedure:
å As far as possible, grievances should be settled at the lowest level
å No matter should ordinarily be taken up at more than two levels, i.e. normally there
should be only one appeal.
å Different types of grievances may be referred to appropriate authorities.
å Time limit should be placed at each step and it should be rigidly followed at each
 ë. Training: In order to ensure effective working of the grievance procedure, it
is necessary that supervisors and the union representatives should be given
training in working of the grievance procedure. All the policies should be
conveyed to the concerned parties.
 w. üollow-up: The personnel department should review the working of the
grievance procedure periodically and necessary changes should be introduced
to make it more effective. This is generally ignored by the organizations. A
regular follow up of the system increase the faith of the people in the system.
Therefore it is necessary that the grievance procedure should be reviewed
whenever it is so required.
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