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If you feel you are being treated unfairly at work you can take out a formal grievance, setting out why you are unhappy with your employer or your working conditions.The statutory Acas  Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures (PDF, 167KB) explains how a grievance procedure should be followed and you should read this carefully. Many established employers will have their own rules on how a grievance should be raised and dealt with, which are likely to be more detailed than the minimum safeguards developed by Acas. 

Remember to inform your union, as they will be able to take up the issue on your behalf. Also, where there is a pattern of poor treatment – for example, at the hands of the same manager or within the same department – a more senior manager should be encouraged to get involved to try to turn around a dysfunctional situation. 

Also think about whether you are the only person being affected, and whether a collective approach to the problem might be a better way forward. Discuss this with your union rep. Tackling grievances collectively can have many advantages and can help you feel as if you are sharing the burden and are not alone. It is vital, however, to make sure you respect colleagues’ right to privacy and only discuss issues affecting them with their agreement. 

Another idea to consider before resigning might be in-work mediation. The TUC and Acas have jointly written the free guide Mediation: a guide for trade union representatives which is available from the TUC website. . Mediation is informal, flexible, voluntary and confidential, and can be well suited to situations such as relationship breakdown or personality clashes. 

If, ultimately, you feel you have no alternative but to resign because of your employer's conduct towards you, your resignation may amount to a constructive dismissal and you may be able to apply to an employment tribunal, claiming unfair dismissal. Strict time limits apply. 

Before you make a claim, you must go through the Acas Early Conciliation process. 

The first step in any tribunal claim is to submit an Early Conciliation Notification Form to Acas. This step must be taken within three months (less one day) of your resignation date. Otherwise you will not be able to bring your tribunal claim. 

Acas early conciliation is confidential, voluntary and free of charge. Do not leave the claim to the last minute. 

Note: This content is provided as general background information and should not be taken as legal advice or financial advice for your particular situation. Make sure to get individual advice on your case from your union, a source on our free help page or an independent financial advisor before taking any action.
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