If you are unable to directly speak with the person who is the subject of a workplace issue, you should raise matter with your nominated supervisor and attempt to resolve it locally and informally. Where such an attempt fails or is not appropriate, you should discuss the matter with the next most senior University officer.

Your supervisor or next most senior University officer will take reasonable steps to address your concerns sensitively, promptly and in accordance with the relevant policy. Based on the circumstances and the nature of the complaint, your nominated supervisor or senior manager should endeavour to achieve an informal resolution of your complaint at the local level where appropriate. Informal resolution avenues are explained in further detail in the section on Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Mechanisms.

Please note: your supervisor or senior manager has a duty of care for your health and wellbeing, as well as certain obligations under the relevant health and safety legislation. Therefore, based on the circumstances of your issue, they may need to escalate the complaint  to meet legislative or regulatory obligations, even under circumstances where you do not wish to have the matter escalated and ask them to not do so.

Human Resources (HR):

Human Resources provide the first level service, support and advice in all areas of human resource and employment matters to the staff and supervisors across the University. Human Resources are normally the first point of contact for advice covering the following policies, procedures or queries: recruitment, people management practices, managing for performance, work health and safety, payroll, leave, academic workload, separation of employment, superannuation, and other employment terms and conditions.

HR can assist staff with:

Early Intervention

  • Providing advice to a staff member on the processes of lodging a grievance or bullying complaint;
  • Helping to identify self-help strategies and the most appropriate processes that will assist in addressing the matter effectively;
  • Help to identify what further supports they may need, such as confidential counselling via the Employee Assistance Program (EAP);
  • Providing guidance to a staff member who is undergoing review for unsatisfactory performance or misconduct; and
  • Giving educational information on maintaining a safe working environment that is free from bullying and harassment, to assist in identifying and preventing bullying behaviour.

Alternate Dispute Mechanisms and Formal processes

  • Where appropriate, provide guidance on alternate dispute mechanisms or strategies to resolve the matter outside of a formal process and expected outcomes;
  • Assisting with arranging mediations or facilitated discussions to address an issue;
  • Helping a staff member to understand how a formal process works, the obligations of all parties, and what is required of them under the relevant process/policies; and
  • Outlining what outcomes a particular process can/cannot achieve in relation to a workplace issue.
  • It is important to note that approaching HR does not commence a formal complaint.

Discrimination and Harassment Advisers

You may be uncomfortable or even scared to approach someone for help if you have experienced or observed unwanted behaviour. The University understands this and has created a network of Discrimination and Harassment Advisers who are available to talk though the issues confidentially and guide you in the right direction. Discrimination and Harassment Advisers (DHAs) are professional and academic staff members at ACU who have undertaken training in issues related to discrimination, harassment or bullying. Their role is to provide information and appropriate support to staff or students who feel that they may have experienced harassment, or  discrimination, or who are respondents to a complaint. Any staff member, supervisor or student may contact a DHA and discuss their concerns with them.

The role of the DHA in the complaint resolution process is to provide information and assist people through the process. This can be to either the complainant (person making complaint) or respondent (someone responding to a complaint). Their role is to listen to the person, provide information about what can be done, the options that are available and provide some limited assistance to carry out the options that are decided upon.  The role of the DHA does not include advocacy or investigation of complaints. See a listing of Discrimination and Harassment Advisers (PDF, 99KB) to find one nearest to your location.

Page last updated on 13/02/2020

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