Grievance Management for Staff

  1. Background Information
  2. Policy Statement
  3. Policy Purpose
  4. Application of Policy
  5. Grievance Principles and Procedures
  6. Confidentiality and Victimisation
  7. Policy Review
  8. Further Assistance

1. Background Information

In line with ACU’s mission which expresses a fundamental concern for the dignity of all human beings, this policy seeks to develop a supportive workplace with policies and procedures that provide a clear statement of the University’s expectations of its staff, including with respect to conduct that may constitute a breach of the University’s workplace policies, including, but not limited to the Code of Conduct for All Staff.

2. Policy Statement

2.1 All Staff have the right to work in a safe working environment and to be treated with dignity and respect.

2.2 The University provides these procedures through which staff can have a workplace grievance addressed.

2.3 All staff members have a right to use the procedures in this policy if they believe they have a legitimate grievance that can be dealt with under these procedures.

3. Policy Purpose

The purpose of this Policy is to guide the University’s approach to manage concerns or complaints which arise as workplace grievances.

4. Application of Policy

This policy applies to all staff members, including Religious Staff Members.

5. Grievance Principles and Procedures

5.1 What is a Grievance?

A Grievance means a complaint from a staff member concerning treatment in a particular workplace that is inequitable or procedurally unfair; or a complaint that arises from perceived personal concerns relating to one or more work-related interpersonal relationships. If more than one staff member raises the same or substantially similar grievance(s), then each grievant will be managed separately.

5.2 Principles of Managing Grievances

5.2.1 In the case of all grievances, the University will review the allegations and respond to the staff member who raised the complaint.

5.2.2 While the procedural requirements of the grievance resolution mechanism may vary, the University aims to ensure that:

  • grievances are addressed sensitively, promptly and in accordance with relevant University policy and principles of natural justice;
  • all reasonable steps are taken to respect the confidentiality of the people involved in a grievance;
  • fairness and impartiality prevail throughout the appropriate resolution process - until a grievance is investigated and a decision is made, a grievance is an allegation, not a fact;
  • appropriate records are maintained throughout the resolution process;
  • persons who notify grievances are protected from victimisation or reprisal; and
  • persons who notify grievances are regularly informed of the progress of the matter, including the consequences of any finding that the grievance is substantiated or not substantiated.

5.3 Procedures

5.3.1 Most grievances should be able to be resolved at local level. Before entering into the formal process, the aggrieved staff member should attempt to resolve grievance with his or her supervisor, or next most senior University officer.

5.3.2 In circumstances where the grievance is unable to be resolved at the informal stage or local level, the supervisor or next most senior University officer who has received the complaint may refer the matter to the appropriate delegated officer or the Director, Human Resources or nominee who may:

  • organise for mediation to occur to try and resolve the grievance;
  • make a relevant determination about the grievance;
  • investigate the matter to make findings as to whether or not some or all of the grievance is substantiated; or
  • refer the matter to an external investigator to investigate the matter and make findings as to whether or not some or all of the grievance is substantiated.

5.3.4 If the grievance is dealt with by formal investigation, the University will aim to ensure:

  • Before a grievance is investigated, the grievant relevantly describes the allegations they wish to make (in most instances, but not all, this will need to be in writing), including particulars of the allegations so that they can be investigated appropriately;
  • The person against whom the allegations are made is provided with a copy of the allegations that will be investigated and provided with the right of response; and
  • All parties are informed in writing of the outcomes of any investigative process.

5.4 Outcomes and Referral

If a grievance is investigated under this Policy and findings are made that substantiate any or all of the allegations made, the Director, Human Resources or nominee may refer the matter to the relevant nominated supervisor/delegated officer. The relevant nominated supervisor/Delegated Officer may:

  • Counsel the staff member involved on their behaviour and the findings made as a result of the investigation;
  • Commence disciplinary action in accordance with Section 7 of the ACU Staff Enterprise Agreement 2010 – 2013 (or its successor), which could lead to disciplinary action being taken, including termination of employment;
  • Take some other form of appropriate action; or
  • Take no further action.

6. Confidentiality and Victimisation

6.1 The parties to a grievance are required, at all stages of this policy and procedure, to maintain confidentiality in relation to the concern or compliant. The parties must not disclose, by any form of communication, either the fact or the substance of the matter to anyone other than an advocate, staff representative (as defined under the ACU Staff Enterprise Agreement 2010-2013 (or its successor) or a qualified counsellor.

6.2 A person must not victimise or otherwise subject another person to detrimental action as a consequence of that person raising, providing information about, or otherwise being involved in the resolution of a grievance under these procedures.

6.3 Any breach of either the confidentiality or non-victimisation requirements will be treated seriously by the University, and may result in disciplinary action. Any such breach will be referred for investigation and handling in accordance with the relevant misconduct procedure.

7. Policy Review

From time to time the University may make changes to this Policy to improve the effectiveness of its operation.

8. Further Assistance

Any staff member who requires assistance with this Policy should first consult with their nominated Supervisor. Should further advice be required staff members should contact the Human Resources Advisory Service at or extension 4222.

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Related Policies, Procedures, Guidelines and Local Protocols

Australian Catholic University Code of Conduct for All Staff
Discrimination and Harassment Policy
Employee Assistance Program
Misconduct and Serious Misconduct Policy
Work, Safety and Wellbeing Policy
Workplace Bullying Policy and Procedure

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