In Lovett Ltd v Evans the EAT returned to the question of what makes a grievance under the statutory dispute resolution regime.
Following a meeting in which she was told she would not be getting a pay rise, for reasons connected to her pregnancy, Ms Evans was off work for a short period. When she returned she completed an absence reporting, which said:
Following on from meeting with Richard and Mark, went home very upset. Didn’t sleep and
suffered numerous nose bleeds.
The tribunal concluded that this was not sufficient to amount to a grievance, because it did not contain any explanation of what the complaint was. However, it went on to refer to a meeting that occurred a few days later, in which Ms Evans set out her complaint more fully. It concluded that the absence report, read in the context of the later meeting, was sufficient to satisfy the need to lodge a grievance.
The EAT overturned this decision. A written statement must be read in the context of events leading up to it. But what happens have the statement is made, cannot be used to clarify or explain it.