Formal Complaints

There are instances where a workplace issue is of such a serious nature that formal action is required in the first instance.  For example, formal action may be required in the case of a grievance where the University’s duty of care may be compromised if no action is taken e.g. allegations of conduct that causes serious risk to health or safety of a person.

To make a formal complaint, the staff member should relevantly describe the allegations they wish to make. In most instances, this will need to be in writing, and must include particulars of the allegations so that they can be investigated appropriately.  If you decide that you need to lodge a written grievance after exhausting other options, here are some suggestions to assist you with the writing process:

  • Be brief and concise, and state the specific facts of the situation.
  • Include sufficient detail to explain your allegations. However, omit irrelevant details, which would include things like previous incidents dealt with in another forum, or any speculation about the respondent’s motivation.
  • Include details of the event or events relating to your complaint including time, date, who else was present and the emotional impact you felt.
  • Provide a statement about the resolution or outcome you are seeking. For example, an apology, a facilitated meeting with the respondent, changes in behaviour, etc.
  • Maintain a firm but respectful tone, and avoid aggressive, accusing language.  Keep your written document concise and professional.
  • Avoid making generalisations, with statements like “he/she is a bully” are not helpful. Refer to specific examples of behaviour or conduct that you found unacceptable rather than labelling the person.

If you do lodge a formal grievance, it is important to be aware that:

  • In line with procedural fairness, the person against whom the allegations are made will be provided with a copy of the allegations, so that they are able to respond; and
  • An investigation may take time to complete, to ensure that the principles of natural justice are complied with.

The grievance receiver will inform all parties in writing of the outcomes of any investigative process, including the consequences of any finding that the grievance is substantiated or not substantiated.

As the grievant, you need to be aware that you are within your rights to take the complaint outside of the University’s processes (for example, the Fair Work Commission or the Human Rights Commission) if you are not satisfied with the outcome.

Making a formal complaint about bullying

The Workplace Bullying Policy and Procedure guides the University’s approach to concerns or complaints about workplace bullying. All staff members have the right to use the procedures in this policy if they believe they have experienced bullying that can be dealt with under these procedures. Please see the bullying webpages for further guidance >>