A ‘personal grievance’ about your employment has to be raised with your employer within 90 days of the date from which the grievance is alleged to have arisen.

What is enough to raise a grievance?

A grievance is raised with an employer as soon as the employee has made, or has taken reasonable steps to make, the employer or a representative of the employer aware that the employee alleges a personal grievance that the employee wants the employer to address.

The Courts have clarified that to raise a personal grievance in accordance with the Act:

  • The exact phrase “personal grievance” does not have to be used;
  • The grievance does not have to be raised in writing; and
  • The grievance does not have to identify specifically what the employee wants to take place to rectify it.

Instead, the Courts have identified that a personal grievance will be raised where a complaint has been made within the necessary timeframes and:

  • The complaint is made with sufficient details to allow the employer to take steps to address it (it is not sufficient to say “I have a personal grievance” and nothing else); and
  • The complaint has been made in respect of a matter that falls within the definition of ‘personal grievance’ (e.g. an ‘unjustified dismissal’, or an ‘unjustified disadvantage’, etc); and
  • It is stated or implied that the employee wants the employer to address the complaint.

Whether the above has or hasn’t occurred may depend on the particular facts of a case.

Although putting your grievance in writing is not required, it certainly is a good idea to state in writing that you are raising a ‘personal grievance’ along with precise details of the issue. This removes any argument about what was said and what was raised.  Many arguments have occurred when an employer disputes that an employee raised a grievance verbally. Avoid the argument and put it clearly in writing.

It also helps if you know what you want your employer to do about your grievance.  If you are not aware of all the remedies you are entitled to, or how to word your grievance to explain why you have a grievance, it pays to seek advice from an employment professional to assist with putting matters down clearly.