How to write a Personal Grievance letter

gavel 1To bring a personal grievance for unjustified or unfair dismissal against your employer you must start by raising the grievance with them.

To raise a personal grievance for unfair dismissal you do not necessarily have to make a written complaint.  You are only required to make the employer aware, or take reasonable steps to make them aware, that you allege a personal grievance on the basis of unjustified dismissal.

However, resolving your claim will be much easier if you put your personal grievance in writing, stating the nature of the grievance, the relevant facts and the remedies you want to resolve the matter.  It is also important to ask for a response within a reasonable time frame.

There is a time limit of 90 days to submit your personal grievance to the employer.  It is important that you take action quickly.  If you do not submit your personal grievance withn 90 days the employer does not have to consider the grievance and you won't be able to get help from the Employment Relations Authority of the Department of Labour unless there are exceptional circumstances.

Writing your personal grievance letter:

Writing your personal grievance letter for unjustified/unfair dismissal is the most important step of your claim. This letter creates the foundation of your personal grievance claim and will be relied on throughout the rest of the process.

Because it is so important we recommend you take a number of steps before you start writing your letter.  The following steps should take you approximately 30 minutes.  Grab a pen and paper and make sure that you will not be interrupted so you can fully focus on your problem.

The starting point is to get clarity on the nature of your situation. To do this you will need to ask yourself a number of questions about events that took place. It is critical to write down as much detail as possible.

STEP 1 - What happened before your dismissal?

For the next 10 minutes write down what ever comes to your mind when you think about what happened to you. Don’t worry about getting any order to it … just write. Here are a few questions to get you going ….
  • When did it all start?
  • What happened?
  • Why was it unfair or unjustified?
  • How did you react?
  • Who was involved?
  • What were you accused of?
  • How did it end?
  • How did you feel at various times?
Sometimes this can be a little upsetting. That is to be expected. I don’t know anyone who has ever enjoyed an employment problem let alone enjoyed having to think it all through again. Unfortunately, there is no easy way. Take comfort in the fact that you are doing something about it … You are taking action!

STEP 2 - Important Meetings and Dates  before your dismissal

Next. Write a list of events. Include the date, time, venue, who was there and one (short) sentence on what the event was.

STEP 3 - The Documents relating to your dismissal

Make a list of documents you have. Include your employment agreement, any warnings, diary notes, letters, payslips etc.  Put them together in a folder or envelope.

Note: If you have been dismissed you should request the reasons for your dismissal in writing from your employer. 

STEP 4 - The Employer’s details

Write down the name and contact details of your employer. If you are not sure of the legal name of the company you can search by company name or director through the companies office at You will find the registered address for service here as well.

STEP 5 - Check for Gaps in your information

Now … go back to your first page and read through what you wrote from Step 1 to 4. Is there anything missing? Does anything else come to mind that might be important? Write it down.


STEP 6 - Remedies for Personal Grievances

The final step is to think about the remedies you want. What will resolve your personal grievance for you?

An employee with a personal grievance claim for unjustified dismissal may ask the employer for any remedy the employee thinks appropriate. The remedies available to you will depend on the circumstances of your case. An experienced employment representative will be able to give you a better idea. Determining the possible remedies that could be available to you is more of an art than a science. The more case law you read the better your ability to be able to predict what you could get.  For now, just write down what would resolve it for you.

The main categories of remedies available at the Employment Relations Authority are listed below:

Remedies for personal grievance:


The Employment Relations Authority may order that an employee be put back in his or her previous position or a similar one that is not worse for the employee.

If the personal grievance is found to be valid and the employee asks for reinstatement, the Employment Relations Authority must order it if it is practicable. The employer must carry out the Authority's decision, even if the decision is under appeal, unless the Authority or the Employment Court orders otherwise.

Interim reinstatement

The Authority can order the employee to be reinstated until the personal grievance is heard, if the employee asks for this. The Authority may impose conditions when ordering reinstatement.



If an employee has lost wages or other money as a result of the grievance, the Employment Relations Authority can order the employer to pay all or part of the lost amount. Unless the Authority thinks that the employee was partly to blame, it must order the employer to pay at least all lost money up to three months' ordinary time wages, and may award more.


The Authority may order the employer to pay money to the employee for:
  • any effects on the employee personally, such as humiliation, loss of dignity or injury to his or her feelings
  • the loss of any benefit which the employee might reasonably have expected if the grievance had not arisen.

Recommendations in cases of sexual or racial harassment


When an employee has been sexually or racially harassed, the Employment Relations Authority may make recommendations to the employer on what to do about the harasser. This may include transfer, disciplinary action, or helping to change his or her behaviour to prevent them harassing again. The Authority can also recommend any other action to prevent further harassment of the employee or any other employee; for example, that the employer develop and implement an educational programme in the workplace or adopt a formal harassment policy.

Contributory fault


The Authority must reduce the remedies if the employee is found to be partly at fault in a grievance case.

STEP 7 - Get advice from an Employment Representative or Employment Consultant

Over 80% of employees who pursued a personal grievance for unjustified or unfair dismissal to mediation have had some form of professional advice.  We believe the reason for this is because it is very difficult to be objective, impartial and clear about your claim when you are trying to represent your self.  It is also of considerable advantage to have someone who is familiar with employment law and the processes of mediation on your side.


STEP 8 - Write your letter

You now have all the information you need to write your letter. 

Want to make your letter look really professional and say all the right things?  For a small fee we can send you a link to download our Personal Grievance Letter template.


There you have it! 

The Eight Steps to preparing your Personal Grievance claim for Unjustified Dismissal.  If you have taken the time to follow these steps you will have saved yourself hundreds of dollars in legal fees already.

Here is a quick summary:

STEP 1   Write down what happened before your dismissal

STEP 2   List the important meetings and dates

STEP 3   List the documents you have that relate to your employment and your dismissal

STEP 4  Write down your Employer’s details

STEP 5  Check for Gaps in your information

STEP 6  Get clear on the remedies for Personal Grievance claims

STEP 7  Get advice from an Employment Representative or Consultant

STEP 8  Write your letter

Once again, thank you for the opportunity to be of service.