A grievance is a wrong or hardship suffered, which is the grounds of a complaint.
In a labor union, a grievance is the subject of a complaint filed by an employee to be resolved by procedures provided in the union contract. Such a grievance may arise from an alleged violation of the collective bargaining agreement, or violations of law, such as workplace safety regulations...
Ordinarily, unionized workers must ask their operations managers for time during work hours to meet with a shop steward in order to discuss the problem, which may or may not result in a grievance. If the grievance cannot be resolved through negotiation between labor and management, mediation, arbitration or legal remedies may be employed. Typically, everyone involved with a grievance has strict time lines which must be met in the processing of this formal complaint, until it is resolved. Employers cannot legally treat an employee any differently whether he or she has filed a grievance or not. The difference between a grievance and a complaint, in the unionized workplace, is whether the subject matter relates to the collective bargaining agreement.
The revolt of English barons in the early thirteenth century which led to the Magna Carta of 1215 was partly motivated by grievances against abuses by King John. This right to Petition the king, for grievances, was affirmed in the English Bill of Rights of 1689.
The United States Declaration of Independence is mainly an enumeration of the colonists' grievances against King George III of England. The right "to petition the Government for a redress of grievances" is recognized in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.