Sustainable Agriculture Institute

Grievance Procedure Policy

 

Policy brief & purpose

SAI’s Grievance Procedure Policy explains how employees can voice their complaints in a constructive way. Supervisors and senior management should know everything that annoys employees or hinders their work, so they can resolve it as quickly as possible. Employees should be able to follow a fair grievance procedure to be heard and avoid conflicts.

The company encourages employees to communicate their grievances. That way we can foster a supportive and pleasant workplace for everyone.

 

Scope

This policy refers to everyone in the company regardless of position or status.

 

Policy elements

Grievance definition

We define grievance as any complaint, problem or concern of an employee regarding their workplace, job or coworker relationships.

Employees can file grievances for any of the following reasons:

  • Workplace harassment
  • Health and safety
  • Supervisor behavior
  • Adverse changes in employment conditions

This list in not exhaustive. However, employees should try to resolve less important issues informally before they resort to a formal grievance.

Employees who file grievances can:

  • Reach out to their direct supervisor or HR department
  • File a grievance form explaining the situation in detail
  • Refuse to attend formal meetings on their own
  • Appeal on any formal decision

Employees who face allegation have the right to:

  • Receive a copy of the allegations against them
  • Respond to the allegations
  • Appeal on any formal decision

The company is obliged to:

  • Have a formal grievance procedure in place
  • Communicate the procedure
  • Investigate all grievances promptly
  • Treat all employees who file grievances equally
  • Preserve confidentiality at any stage of the process
  • Resolve all grievances when possible
  • Respect its no-retaliation policy when employees file grievances with the company or external agencies (e.g. equal employment opportunity committee)

Procedures

Employees are encouraged to talk to each other to resolve their problems.

When this isn’t possible, employees should know how to file a grievance:

  1. Communicate informally with their direct supervisor. The supervisor will try to resolve the problem. When employees want to complain about their supervisor, they should first try to discuss the matter and resolve it between them. In that case, they’re advised to request an informal meeting. Supervisors should try to resolve any grievance as quickly as possible. When they’re unable to do so, they should refer to the HR department and cooperate with all other procedures.
  2. If the grievance relates to a supervisor behavior that can bring disciplinary action (e.g. sexual harassment or violence), employees should refer directly to the HR department or the next level supervisor.
  3. Accommodate the procedure outlined below

The HR department (or any appropriate person in the absence of an HR department) should follow the procedure below:

  1. Ask employee to fill out a grievance form
  2. Talk with the employee to ensure the matter is understood completely
  3. Provide the employee who faces allegations with a copy of the grievance
  4. Organize mediation procedures (e.g. arranging a formal meeting)
  5. Investigate the matter or ask the help of an investigator when needed
  6. Keep employees informed throughout the process
  7. Communicate the formal decision to all employees involved
  8. Take actions to ensure the formal decision is adhered to
  9. Deal with appeals by gathering more information and investigating further
  10. Keep accurate records

This procedure may vary according to the nature of a grievance. For example, if an employee is found guilty of racial discrimination, the company will begin disciplinary procedures.