University Officers That Can Help You

Your nominated supervisor or next most senior manager:

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.

HR Advisory Service:

HR Advisors 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.  Advisors can refer queries to a second service level when more specialised advice is required. HR Advisors 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.  Contact the HR Advisory Service on ext 4222 or

Employment Relations - Staff Support Officer:

While ACU supervisors are able to seek advice on workplaces issue by contacting the Human Resources Advisory Service (above), a separate service is available to assist staff members with their enquiries on workplace issues in an impartial and confidential manner.

Staff members can speak to the Employment Relations - Staff Support Officer for assistance with understanding their options for addressing workplace issues such as grievances, bullying and harassment, unsatisfactory performance, misconduct/serious misconduct, academic workload disputes or an issue arising from the provisions of the ACU Staff Enterprise Agreement.

This dedicated service aligns with the University‚Äôs desire to assist staff to have workplace issues addressed effectively and to resolve conflicts efficiently at the lowest level possible of the organisation. Please note that the ER Staff Support Officer plays an advisory service to staff only, and is not an advocate for either staff or management in a complaints process.  As such, ER Staff Support Officer is not a support person for the purposes of the Staff Assistance, Support and Representation Policy.

The ER Staff Support Officer can provide advice and guidance on a range of processes identified in ACU policies and under law, as well as alternative mechanisms for the informal resolution of workplace issues. In relevant circumstances, the ER Staff Support Officer can also refer staff members to external providers for assistance with preparations to undertake a process such as lodging a complaint.

The ER Staff Support Officer 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 the ER Staff Support Officer 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 to find one nearest to your location.