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Grievance review

A large public sector organisation received a grievance from a senior ethnic minority member of staff. The complaints went back a number of years and involved a range of staff some of whom had since left. The task was to independently investigate the complaints, establish the facts and provide a comprehensive report and a lessons learnt assessment.

Our approach 

Our approach was to first undertake a desk top review establishing the relevance of the complex documentation. Meetings were held with the members of staff to establish the issues to be investigated, and interviews were held with other parties who remained employed in relation to the matters that they could assist with. 


As the issues were complex and emotionally charged for many of the staff, expectations needed to be managed. In addition employment proceedings had been issued so many employees were anxious and worried about their position. Significant new concerns were raised during the course of the investigation about other matters that required attention without extending the scope of the investigation to an unmanageable position.


The challenges during this assignment included; managing the emotional response of some staff, managing the expectations of all parties and managing timescales since staff were anxious to discuss all aspects of their experience rather than those that were pertinent to the investigation. 


Our solution

A series of interviews were undertaken by an experienced interim who had previously operated  at director level. A sensitive and empathetic approach which was entirely independent was utilised. An analysis of the evidence from the document review and interviews led to a comprehensive evidence-based report which was submitted on time and to budget. Staff and management were reassured by the sensitive, diplomatic and empathic approach and the skill utilised in ensuring that the scope of the investigation was adhered to.



A potentially serious breakdown in relationships at a senior level was avoided and all parties recognised the impartial and professional investigation by the HR Lounge. Management of the organisation were seen to have taken the issue seriously and to want to ensure independence of the investigation, which would not have been possible using their own internal staff who had been mentioned in the complaint.

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