Grievance in the Law: Definition, Procedure & Policy

Instructor: Benjamin Truitt

Benjamin has a Bachelors in philosophy and a Master's in humanities.

A grievance is a harm or distress incurred by an individual or employee. In this lesson you will learn the definition of a grievance, what determines legal standing, and policies and procedures for addressing grievances.

Imagine that while you are at work one day your chair suddenly breaks. You fall out of the chair and break your arm. You know the chair wasn't supposed to break, and, once you get your arm set at the hospital, you wonder what you should do next. Was it the chair company's fault? Or, was it the fault of your employer for not updating the chairs? You have several avenues that you can go down in order to redress your grievance.

Broken Chair
Broken Chair

Definition of a Grievance

A grievance is a harm or cost that an individual suffers that requires that the individual be compensated or made whole. A grievance may be a civil matter, such as a problem with a coworker. This may or may not be a matter for the courts. Or, it may be a labor issue, such as unfair employer practices that may need bureaucratic or administrative attention. It can also be a criminal issue that requires the criminal justice system. There are many ways that grievances are dealt with. We will look at the policy of dealing with grievances in a legal and labor setting.

Policy and Procedure

The legal policy of determining whether a particular grievance should be addressed by the court is known as legal standing. Legal standing considers whether or not the grievance brought before the court is concrete, specific, and actual. This means that your claim of harm needs to show that some actual and measurable harm occurred. This includes things such as financial or physical harm, but not having your feelings hurt by someone being rude. It also needs to be shown that the harm that occurred was not theoretical or hypothetical. You cannot claim that you have standing because you 'could have' been killed or harmed.

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