|Unfortunately, the raising of vexatious grievances is not uncommon and can cause real issues for businesses, taking up a significant amount of time, using a lot of resource and costing a significant amount of money.
Hope v British Medical Association is an interesting case from the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) regarding the raising of vexatious grievances.
Businesses are sometimes subjected to employees raising a string of vexatious grievances and then refusing to pursue or withdraw them, leaving the employer in a tricky situation and hiking up time and costs in dealing with them.
In this case, the Claimant submitted numerous grievances against senior managers and then refused to progress them because he insisted on discussing his grievances with his line manager, who had no authority to resolve any of the issues asserted.
The Claimant further refused to withdraw his grievances or attend a grievance hearing. This resulted in the business proceeding with the grievance meeting in the Claimant’s absence. None of the Claimant’s grievances were upheld with the business concluding that the Claimant’s conduct was frivolous and vexatious and that his repeated instigation of the grievance process, without following through with it, amounted to abuse of the process. The Claimant was subsequently dismissed for gross misconduct.
The Employment Tribunal held that the Claimant’s dismissal was fair.
The Claimant appealed the decision but the EAT agreed with the Employment Tribunal, stating that the employer acted reasonably in all the circumstances in treating the conduct as sufficient reason to dismiss. The dismissal for gross misconduct was deemed to be fair in the circumstances, namely that the Claimant was raising vexatious grievances whilst refusing to pursue or withdraw them.
Do you have a grievance policy in place?
Is your policy watertight and do you know what you can do if an employee is raising vexatious grievances?
When was the last time you reviewed your policies or carried out training for your managers and staff?
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