Tip Tuesday: 10 Ways to Conduct an Effective Grievance Meeting
March 07, 2023

Before an employee issue arises, ensuring that your company has solid policies and procedures for handling grievances is essential. Below are some tips for conducting an effective grievance meeting:

  1. Use a meeting space that can accommodate both parties
  2. Decide who on the management team will lead the session (usually HR, but may also be labor relations or a department manager)
  3. Make sure relevant managers with knowledge of the issue are present
  4. If a discipline grievance involves a terminated employee, address any security concerns for them to be present
  5. When appropriate, state the company position, refer to any relevant documents, policies, or statements, and explain why the discipline is proper or the union’s contract interpretation is incorrect
  6. If the union or other participants become agitated or “lash out” in any way, request a brief recess and reconvene the meeting when things have calmed down. Although rare, it may be necessary to “pause” a session more than one time
  7. If a discipline case and the employee is present, allow them to make a statement if they so choose
  8. Keep in mind the union must defend employees against discipline even though the facts and evidence against the employee are vital – respect that right
  9. In rules interpretation cases, there are often misunderstandings about the intent or practice of specific language, and the grievance meeting is an excellent opportunity to try to understand the conflict – it may lead to clarification and a grievance withdrawal
  10. In addition to disciplinary settlements previously discussed, the parties may agree to resolve a rules interpretation case on a non-precedential basis (i.e., a “one-time” settlement)
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