Basic Pointers for Preparing a Grievance

  1. Gather all the facts, including the “7 W’s” (What, Where, When, Why, Want, Whoa!)
  2. Make sure the situation at issue can be grieved, then thoroughly assess the facts to see whether the situation ought to be grieved. 
  3. Draft a complete and concise grievance.
  1. There should be just enough information for the employer to identify the decision or action you are complaining about.
  2. Make sure you ask for corrective action, including “full redress” or “to be made whole.”
  3. If you have any concerns, check with your Labour Relations Officer.
  1. Check your evidence. What sort of clear and compelling evidence is available to prove the facts UVAE / PSAC will need to rely upon. Ask yourself questions such as:
    • Is there a document that substantiates the fact?
    • Is the account of the grievor / manager / witness complete, accurate, and reliable?
    • Is there contradictory evidence, and could the differences be resolved through speaking to other witnesses or reviewing additional documents? 
  1. Support your facts and arguments with Collective Agreement language, previous decisions that are on point, and the employer’s past practices. 
  1. Once you have a clear understanding of the case, try to resolve the issue at the lowest possible level.
    • After becoming familiar with the facts of the situation, try to speak with the supervisor or manager responsible for the contested decision.
    • Then if the supervisor has limited authority, discussing the matter with the supervisor first can aid your grievance preparation and can help to defuse and prevent resentment between the workplace parties that could create or exacerbate future difficulties.
  1. Try to anticipate the employer’s objections.
    • A thorough assessment of the facts and a discussion with the supervisor will often provide insights into likely questions or responses by management. 
    • Anticipating probable objections helps you prepare rebuttals / responses to these concerns in advance of the hearing itself.
  1. Keep complete written records of information gathered and actions take. A complete and accurate file is crucial to success at higher levels of the grievance process and can provide valuable reference material for future cases involving similar issues or parties.