How to Write a Grievance Letter for Wrongful Termination

by Lisa Bigelow; Updated September 26, 2017
Write a complaint letter immediately if you believe your termination is unjust.

If you feel your employer wrongfully terminated you, filing a grievance for the purpose of reinstatement is an option. If you are a union member, a union representative may handle your case and will seek to bring your case to arbitration. If not, you can still file a grievance, but it may require hiring an attorney.

Items you will need

  • Employee handbook
  • Notice or letter of dismissal
  • Company representative contact information

Union Employees

Step 1

Contact your union representative immediately to tell her of your wrongful termination. Verify her contact information. You may only have a few days to file a grievance, so acting quickly is essential.

Step 2

Request a copy of the collective bargaining agreement in the first paragraph of your letter.

Step 3

Describe your role at the company in the second paragraph, including your tenure, and succinctly describe the incident or incidents that led to your dismissal. For example: "I complained to my supervisor about a co-worker who created an unsafe working environment. Repeated complaints went ignored, and I was fired for 'not being a team player.'"

Step 4

Note in the third paragraph that you believe termination should only apply for "just cause" and your actions could not be described as "just cause."

Step 5

Request that the union file a grievance on your behalf; also request that the representative inform you of the outcome of your request by a certain date.

Step 6

Review, sign and date the letter. Use certified mail for proof of delivery.

Non-Union Members

Step 1

Review the employee handbook to determine if your dismissal is a breach of contract or wrongful termination; handbooks routinely include descriptions of "just cause" terminations.

Step 2

Review the dispute resolution procedure, if there is one. If so, proceed according to the directions given in the handbook.

Step 3

Contact an employee relations attorney and verbally describe your case.

Step 4

Write the attorney a brief, factual description of the events surrounding your termination. Note that you believe the company did not have just cause to terminate you according to the provisions in the employee handbook.

Step 5

Sign, date and mail the letter.

Tips

  • Keep your comments unemotional, succinct and factual. Keep documentation that backs up your assertions in a safe place. Hire an attorney if you're not represented by a union delegate.

About the Author

Lisa Bigelow is an independent writer with prior professional experience in the finance and fitness industries. She also writes a well-regarded political commentary column published in Fairfield, New Haven and Westchester counties in the New York City metro area.

Photo Credits

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