Employers must provide a clear and fair process for workers to raise and settle grievances or complaints that arise against another worker or group of workers.

Grievances may arise from a range of issues concerning the management of workers such as:

Employer responsibilities

Employers need to:

  • manage hazards associated with grievances and complaints in the workplace
  • implement control measures to manage these risks
  • take a proactive approach in identifying unreasonable behaviour and situations that are likely to increase the risk of complaints or grievances occurring
  • monitor and review the effectiveness of these measures.

Safety solutions

Employers should

  • regularly consult with workers and health and safety representatives to uncover if bullying or inappropriate behaviour is occurring or if there are factors likely to increase the risk of workplace bullying or inappropriate behaviour
  • set the standard of workplace behaviour, for example through a Bullying and Inappropriate Behaviour Policy (template)
  • design safe systems of work by clearly defining jobs and providing workers with the resources, information and training they need to carry out their work safely
  • implement workplace bullying reporting and response procedures such as a Grievance and Complaint Resolution Procedure (template) and a Grievance and Complaint Report Form (template)
  • develop productive and respectful workplace relationships through good management practices and effective communication
  • provide information and training on workplace policies and procedures, available support and assistance, and how to prevent and respond to workplace bullying and inappropriate behaviour
  • ensure workers and managers understand the consequences (disciplinary or other) of disregarding policies and safe work practices with regard to psychological hazards
  • prioritise measures that foster and protect the psychological health of employees.

Worker options

If you have a grievance or complaint familiarise yourself with your company’s Grievance and Complaint Resolution Procedure. This procedure will outline the management process. You can:

  • ask to resolve the issue informally
  • raise the issue formally by lodging a Grievance and Complaint Report
  • refer the issue to the Fair Work Commission or SafeWork SA.

Resolution

In managing and resolving complaints or grievances employers should:

  • resolve the matter informally and locally, where possible
  • negotiation and conciliation are the guiding principles to be applied by all parties when attempting to resolve complaints/grievances
  • inform all parties that they may nominate a Support Person to help them through the process; allow a reasonable time for parties to arrange
  • treat the matter seriously and confidentially
  • respond to the grievance or complaint within a reasonable timeframe; delays will increase the likelihood of escalation and reduce the potential for satisfactory resolution
  • ensure parties are not the subject of victimisation; take prompt disciplinary action should this occur
  • provide support to all parties involved in the process
  • use appropriate communication channels throughout the process
  • maintain appropriate documentation
  • principles of natural justice will guide the application of this procedure.