The information below is to help staff understand their options in dealing with workplace issues, which may involve complaints of bullying, discrimination and harassment. Staff are encouraged to read the following information to identify behaviours that are considered unacceptable in the workplace, and the avenues that are available for addressing a workplace issue.

Understanding harassment and discrimination

Harassment can take many forms and can include inappropriate actions, behaviour, comments or physical contact that is unwanted and causes offence. If you experience behaviour that makes you feel uncomfortable, humiliated, intimidated, insulted or offended, then it may constitute harassment, whether it occurs only once or many times.

Unlawful discrimination occurs when someone, or a group of people, is treated less favourably than another person or group due to their: race, colour, national or ethnic origin; sex, pregnancy, breastfeeding or marital status; age; disability; religion; sexual preference; trade union activity; or some other characteristic specified under anti-discrimination or human rights legislation.

Know what you can do if you face discrimination or harassment

What is a workplace complaint?

A workplace complaint from a staff member is about treatment at the workplace which they perceive to be inequitable or procedurally unfair. For example, where a staff member was not allowed by their supervisor, to bring a support person or a staff representative to a meeting to discuss unsatisfactory performance, they may lodge a formal complaint, challenging the procedural fairness of the process in accordance with the University’s Staff Complaints Management Policy and Procedure.  A workplace complaint may relate to any aspect of a staff member’s employment with the University or any workplace issue that is believed to be wrong or unfair. It is important to distinguish workplace complaints from bullying complaints, so that the relevant University policy or process can be identified and applied to achieve a resolution.

Follow the processes for Complaints, Disputes and Appeals

Lodge formal complaint

What is bullying?

A workplace bullying complaint is a complaint that must clearly relate to behaviour that is repeated and unreasonable, is directed towards a person (or a group of people), and must create a risk to health, safety and wellbeing. The University has a separate policy on Workplace Bullying, which outlines the processes for dealing with bullying complaints.

Find out what you can do about workplace bullying

What is a Protected Disclosure?

A Protected Disclosure gives you the ability to anonymously report any serious concerns relating to the conduct of ACU officers, employees and members (including members of Senate or Senate Committees) or of ACU affiliates, which may affect the honest and proper performance of duties to ACU. Please see the Protected Disclosure Policy and Procedure for how to make a Disclosure to an independent third party, by accessing the FairCall service.

Under a Protected Disclosure, your identity and your report will be kept as confidential as practicable (as outlined in the Policy), to protect against detrimental action for making a report. You may make a Protected Disclosure about any Reportable Conduct matter as outlined in the Policy.

Read the policy

Resolution pathways for workplace issues

There are a number of ways, both informal and formal, in which a workplace issue may be resolved. Wherever it is possible and safe, you should first attempt to resolve the complaint informally at the local and the lowest possible level, prior to lodging a formal complaint.  Learn more about options for addressing a workplace issue including Alternative Dispute Resolution mechanisms and formal complaints.

Follow our resolution pathways

Where can I get advice on a workplace issue?

To speak with HR about your individual circumstances, the relevant policies that apply to your concern, and steps you can take to resolve the issue, submit a general enquiry in Service Central.

See a list of University officers who can help you

Helpful resources

ACU has contracted with Acacia EAP to provide free professional confidential counselling to staff members and their immediate family members. This can be particularly helpful for staff members involved in a workplace complaint or bullying issue.

Book an appointment through Acacia EAP

Access other resources available to support you

Page last updated on 23/01/2020

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