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When is a grievance not a grievance?

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[Thanks to Paul Lewis from St John's Chambers, Bristol, for preparing this case summary]

Well, of course, as of today, the statutory grievance procedures have officially been given the heave-ho. From the dying embers, here's a useful little memento.

After being sued for breach of contract, the employee counterclaimed against her employer in the County Court, making clear in her pleadings that she wished to pursue an equal pay claim in the Employment Tribunal. The ET claim was duly presented, and rejected - the ET holding that the claimant could not rely on her county court pleadings as constituting the required statement of grievance.

On appeal, the EAT confirmed the position that a grievance raised in the context of litigation cannot reasonably regarded as a complaint for the purpose of the statutory grievance procedure (see para's 16 - 20).

It seems reasonable to assume (until we are told anything different!) that this principle will be of continuing application in relation to a failure to comply with the new Acas Code on Grievance Procedures.

Burns v Killgerm