Employee Grievance: Meaning, Features, Causes

21st October 2020 1 By indiafreenotes

Employees are human beings and they have certain expectation, assumptions, norms, values and represent their culture. If the management or organization doesn’t respect their human aspects, they become dissatisfied and it may turn into grievance of employees. And type of inhuman or injustice behavior can cause grievance of the employees. Apart from this, lack of appropriate motivation, unnecessary or unscientific cannot system and ineffective leadership can also be the reason for grievance.

Employees may be grievant due to the existing policy, rule, work procedure or dissatisfaction due to the certain behaviour. If the level of dissatisfaction goes on increasing then they put the written complaint about it to the management which is known as grievance. Grievances are concerns, problems or complaints that employees raise to their employers. The Employment Relations Acts gives all employees the rights to pursue a personal grievance if they have genuine complaints.

Employee grievance has negative effect in the organization. If it is not solved in time, employees may participate in the unfavorable activities like protesting, strike and lockout. This will reduce the productivity of organization and the dispute or conflict between the management and employee may arise. Capable, experienced and genuine employees may leave the organization. Production cost may be genuine employees may leave the organization. Production cost may be increased and the quality of products and services may deteriorate.

A grievance is any dissatisfaction or feeling of injustice having connection with one’s employment situ­ation which is brought to the attention of management. Speaking broadly, a grievance is any dissatisfac­tion that adversely affects organizational relations and productivity. To understand what a grievance is, it is necessary to distinguish between dissatisfaction, complaint, and grievance.

  1. Dissatisfaction is anything that disturbs an employee, whether or not the unrest is expressed in words.
  2. Complaint is a spoken or written dissatisfaction brought to the attention of the supervisor or the shop steward.
  3. Grievance is a complaint that has been formally presented to a management representative or to a union official.

According to Michael Jucious, ‘grievance is any discontent or dissatisfaction whether expressed or not, whether valid or not, arising out of anything connected with the company which an employee thinks, believes or even feels to be unfair, unjust or inequitable’.

In short, grievance is a state of dissatisfaction, expressed or unexpressed, written or unwritten, justified or unjustified, having connection with employment situation.

Features of Grievance:

  1. A grievance refers to any form of discontent or dissatisfaction with any aspect of the organization.
  2. The dissatisfaction must arise out of employment and not due to personal or family problems.
  3. The discontent can arise out of real or imaginary reasons. When employees feel that injustice has been done to them, they have a grievance. The reason for such a feeling may be valid or invalid, legitimate or irrational, justifiable or ridiculous.
  4. The discontent may be voiced or unvoiced, but it must find expression in some form. However, discontent per se is not a grievance. Initially, the employee may complain orally or in writing. If this is not looked into promptly, the employee feels a sense of lack of justice. Now, the discontent grows and takes the shape of a grievance.
  5. Broadly speaking, thus, a grievance is traceable to be perceived as non-fulfillment of one’s expec­tations from the organization.

Causes of Employee Grievance

Employee’s grievance not only reduces the productivity of employees and organization, it may put the existence of the organization in a danger situation. Therefore, the grievance has to be solved as quickly as possible. For this, the reason has to be identified. The reason for grievance may vary according to the situation. Some of the important reasons are as under:

  1. Unfair Management

Employees want to be treated equally as other employees. But if management treats differently to the identically performing employees then the grievance arises. 

  1. Poor Communication

Open and two way communication makes a healthy relationship and motivates the employees. Policy, directives, information and other notices have to be received by each employee in a similar way according to their job responsibility. One way and controlled communication makes them feel inferior and this will create misunderstanding among the employees and the management. This misunderstanding will slowly turn into the grievance. Thus, poor, controlled and one-way communication is also a reason for employee’s grievance.

  1. Different interpretation

Different in the understanding and the interpretation between the employees and the management also causes for grievance. If employees understand the policy, rules and terms and conditions, directions and guidelines determined by the management differently then they become negative towards the management and whole organization. Organization with ineffective communication has high chance for grievance. 

  1. Personality traits

Some employees have habit of being grievant even in minor and small cases. They needle or point out other employees even in their minor mistakes. This will create grievance to the employee himself/herself and other employees as well. Therefore, a personality trait is one of the reasons for the grievance.

  1. Culture of Organization

In some cases, the wrong culture of organization creates grievance in the employees. Bad culture adversely affects the organizational environment and it dissatisfies the employees. This dissatisfaction grows on increasing into the grievance. 

  1. Weak leadership

Leader must be present as a guardian of all employees. If the leader is weak, then employee’s enthusiasm may go down and employees do not follow and ignore the leaders. Serious in-disciplinary activities may be carried out in the organization. This will increase the employee grievance. 

  1. Personality clash

Sometimes, some employees may have personality clash with the colleagues, management and other people’s thought, concept and work style. They may take it as a challenge when their idea is not accepted and a feeling of revenge may take place. Feeling of ego may create anger, miserable or dishearten to an employee that will create grievance among the employees.