Case Study

Grievance Appeal and CEO Exit Negotiations


Grievance Appeal and CEO Exit Negotiations

What was the HR situation?

  • A CEO submitted a 12 page grievance appeal to the Chair of Trustees of a charity citing issues over a period of 12months. 
  • The Chair of Trustees needed the points of grievance appeal investigated by an independent source and to ensure that the internal grievance process was managed fairly.
  • The CEO was alleging insubordination from several staff and trustees and their attempts to discredit and undermine them. The CEO was disputing the quality and fairness of the initial grievance investigation, which was undertaken by the charity HR outsourced provider. 
  • The Chair of Trustees asked for the appeal findings and facts to be presented in a report for Trustee consideration. 
  • The charity now wanted support with managing and undertaking the grievance appeal and to demonstrate a further layer of independence, as part of their fact finding and to seek a resolution to the issues.
  • The issues were causing significant strategic and operational disruption to the charitable purposes, their performance outcomes and impacting on the wellbeing of the CEO, staff and Trustees.

How did the Birch-HR Consultant(s) support?

  • The Birch-HR consultant drafted and agreed the terms of reference for investigating the grievance appeal. 
  • The Birch-HR consultant spoke to the CEO, key witnesses, reviewed the points of appeal, analysis of the original complaint/documentation, considered the evidence and provided a report.
  • The HR consultant discussed the next steps, including providing the outcome of the grievance appeal to the CEO and Chair of Trustees and established how this aligned to the ongoing disciplinary investigation. 
  • The conclusion was that there was no secret collusion, insubordination  and that the previous grievance investigation had no fundamental process issues.
  • The CEO did not accept the outcome of the grievance appeal and was unwilling to accept the outcome of the formal disciplinary/capability process. 
  • The Trustees knew that the charity was using their reserves to remain viable and their charitable purposes were not met effectively.
  • Negotiations were held with the CEO and the trade union over several weeks to try and reach a mutual resolution. 
  • The Chair of Trustees wanted to resign, but remained engaged to reach a resolution.
  • Birch-HR continued to support the charity to resolve the sensitive issues and engage with key stakeholders to resolve the workforce disputes, to fulfil their charitable purposes, to enable them to focus on strategic, performance and assurance outcomes.

What was the outcome and how did HR add value?

  • The Birch-HR Consultant was successful in negotiating cost effective exit terms for the CEO and an agreed reference. 
  • The grievance appeal internal process was finalised and there was a pending well managed disciplinary/capability process in place. 
  • Advice was also provided to strengthen performance management and the contractual approach for future executive level and other posts.
  • The charity was able to recruit a new CEO, staff morale improved, the Chair of Trustees didn’t resign and has continued to help lead the charity into a much more promising future.
  • Finances and staff morale are now back on track and the charity is thriving and fulfilling its purpose as effectively as possible.

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