When you have an issue at work, it’s best to bring it up with your manager as soon as possible so that you can figure out a plan to find a solution. While meeting with your boss or a Human Resources representative is a good step, it’s also critical to document your grievances in writing in a dissatisfaction letter to the manager. Writing the complaint provides both you and the business with a paper trail they can reference when discussing the issue.
Outline the Problem
Your complaint letter to management or the company should be written in a formal business format. Use block style and align all the text to the left side of the page. Use single spaces for your text, and a double space between paragraphs. Formal greetings such as “To Mr. Smith” or “Dear Ann Johnston” should be used.
Begin your letter by outlining the issue you’re having. Some issues you may encounter at work include:
- Unfair performance appraisal
- Problems with a co-worker
- Disagreement with a manager
- Lack of raise or promotion
- Discriminatory treatment at work
Your complaint letter should be short and direct, so it’s vital to be clear about the issues you’re facing at the outset. For example, “I’m writing to you because I need to discuss a problem I am having with my co-worker Steven. He has been making discriminatory remarks about me to other employees.”
Build Your Argument
Like you would write a letter to management for a promotion, your complaint letter needs to include a solid argument. If you’re writing to ask for a promotion, you would need to include details that show the value you add to the company. When writing a dissatisfaction letter, you need to provide a basis for your grievance. Give the manager some examples of what you’re upset about.
For example, “I have heard first-hand that Steven made a sexist remark about me during the quarterly team meeting this month. I confronted him about this issue, and he did not apologize. This happened on more than one occasion, and now I am escalating this issue to management and Human Resources.”
If you have documented instances of the issue, you can add them as attachments to your letter as further evidence of the problem you’re facing. Providing dates, times and locations of incidents is important. Include names of witnesses if available.
Provide Suggestions and Recommendations
In the next paragraph of your complaint letter to the manager, provide details of how you would like them to solve the issue. If you have tried to solve the problem yourself, you can mention the ways you tried. If you have specific suggestions for the manager, outline them in the letter.
In the instance of the discriminatory remark, you can say, “Our company policy states that discriminatory behavior of any kind is not tolerated in this organization and is grounds for punitive action or immediate dismissal. I would like you to rectify the problem I am having with Steven by following our company policy.”
Follow Up On Your Complaint Letter to The Manager
End your letter by thanking the manager for their time hearing out your complaint. Offer to speak with them in person about any of the information you have provided in your letter. Be sure to provide a call to action, such as, “I would like to discuss this matter with you immediately. Please let me know if we can meet to figure out this issue today or tomorrow.”
Complaint letters can be sent via email or postal mail. Make sure you keep a copy of the letter for yourself as reference. After the manager has received your complaint letter, be sure to follow up with them to ensure they have read it and are taking action. In business, it’s common for people to receive several emails a day, so it’s easy for things to fall through the cracks. Follow up on your complaint as needed so that it gets rectified.
Anam Ahmed is a Toronto-based writer and editor with over a decade of experience helping small businesses and entrepreneurs reach new heights. She has experience ghostwriting and editing business books, especially those in the "For Dummies" series, in addition to writing and editing web content for the brand. Anam works as a marketing strategist and copywriter, collaborating with everyone from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups, lifestyle bloggers to professional athletes. As a small business owner herself, she is well-versed in what it takes to run and market a small business. Anam earned an M.A. from the University of Toronto and a B.A.H. from Queen's University. Learn more at www.anamahmed.ca.