How do I deal with a grievance from an ex-employee?

responding to grievance from ex-employee

One of the most asked questions we’ve been asked lately is around responding to grievance from ex-employee. This may feel overwhelming as when you expect to go through a grievance procedure, you may not imagine it to be an ex-employee. However, in some circumstances, we recommend to follow your usual grievance procedure.


Dealing with grievances from ex-employees can be challenging, but it’s important to address them properly to maintain a positive reputation for your company and ensure that any issues are resolved fairly.


In this blog, we’ll go over some steps you can take when responding to grievance from ex-employee in a professional and effective manner.


Can an ex-employee raise a grievance?


Yes, an ex-employee can raise a grievance if they believe they have been treated unfairly or improperly during their employment. The right to raise a grievance extends to current and former employees, and there is no time limit for doing so. However, it’s important to note that the ex-employee may have to meet certain requirements. This can include submitting their grievance in writing or providing evidence to support their claim, depending on the company’s policies and procedures.



Employers have a duty to investigate any grievances raised by ex-employees. You must also take appropriate action to resolve the issue.



Depending on what the complaint is, this could form the basis of an employment tribunal claim, which could cost you. For example, if the complaint raises issues about potential discrimination on any of the protected grounds (e.g. disability, race, gender, age etc.), or issues of bullying, or even breach of contract.


In addition, when responding to grievance from ex-employee, it’s crucial you communicate in the best way possible and find a way to resolve the issue. As a general rule, the effort you put into responding to the ex-employee would be directly linked to the risk presented by their complaint. Of course, that’s what we’re here to help and support you with.


Dealing with the issues brought to your attention may also reveal serious problems that you need to address and could help you avoid this in the future.


Don’t miss a step

It’s important to measure the resources and time it may require to conduct a grievance investigation over the risk of a possible tribunal claim. If responding to grievance from ex-employee that may be serious enough to form a tribunal claim, you should deal with this correctly and even consider seeking professional advice. This will help you avoid having any inconsistencies in responses and increase your chances of defending a claim successfully.


Listen and understand the grievance

The first step in responding to a grievance from an ex-employee is to listen to what they have to say and try to understand their perspective. It’s essential to approach the situation with an open mind and avoid getting defensive or dismissive. Ask the ex-employee to explain their grievance in detail and take notes to ensure you have a clear understanding of their concerns.


Respond promptly

It’s essential when responding to grievance from ex-employee, you do this promptly even if you don’t have a resolution yet. Acknowledge the receipt of their grievance and let them know that you’re taking the matter seriously. Provide a timeline for when you expect to have a resolution and keep them updated on any progress.


Take appropriate action

Based on the results of your investigation, take appropriate action to address the ex-employee’s grievance. This could involve offering compensation or other forms of restitution. You may also need to make changes to company policies or procedures to prevent similar issues happening in the future.


Follow Up

Once the issue has been resolved, follow up with the ex-employee to ensure they’re satisfied with the outcome. This will demonstrate that you take their concerns seriously and are committed to maintaining a positive relationship with them. Even after they’ve left the company.


Put steps in place to avoid this in the future

In an ideal world, you would already have known about your ex-employees issue before they left. It’s really good practice to promote open communication with all your employees and encourage them to talk to you about any issues they may have. This will ensure you can try to and resolve these issues before they become a real problem.


We encourage you to have an open and honest conversation with an employee during an exit interview too. Staff may not have been comfortable to discuss potential issues during their employment and may be more open during their exit interview.


Of course, if an informal chat during employment or exit interview doesn’t work then that’s what your grievance procedure is there for.


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In conclusion, responding to a grievance from an ex-employee requires a thoughtful and thorough approach. By listening to their concerns, investigating the issue, responding promptly, being transparent, taking appropriate action, and following up, you can resolve the issue fairly and maintain a positive reputation for your company. If you have any questions on responding to grievance from ex-employee or would like grievance support, please get in touch.

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