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News Bulletin : ADA News Bulletin April 2011
26 APRIL 2011 Employees should be aware of the practice and procedure surrounding a fair grievance handling process. Complaints may be made by an employee due to one of several reasons, including issues relating to harassment, bullying, poor management practices, or disputes arising from entitlements under awards and agreements. In any such case, employers must treat any complaints seriously and take all reasonable steps to properly investigate and resolve the matter. WHAT STEPS SHOULd An EMPLOYEE TAKE If THEY HAvE A COMPLAInT? The first step an employee should take is to inform the manager or supervisor of the incident or the issue. This may be done in a formal manner by lodging a written account of the incident/issue, or by simply speaking to the manager or supervisor. The second step is to inform the manager or supervisor how you would like the incident/issue resolved. For example, if you are being harassed by another employee you may wish to see the incident resolved through the following outcomes: • For the behaviour to stop immediately. • An apology from the employee who is responsible for the harassment. • The implementation of a formalised harassment/bullying policy in the workplace (if there already isn’t one in place). You may also wish to discuss whether you are willing to resolve the issue through other means of dispute resolution, such as mediation. THE InvESTIGATIOn PROCESS Once a workplace complaint has been lodged the employer will investigate the allegations. This starts with the employer gathering all information and facts by interviewing the complainant, respondent and any witnesses including staff and customers. The employee who is subject to the allegations of the incident should be given the opportunity to respond to the complaints and explain any mitigating circumstances. Depending on the employee’s response, further investigation may be necessary. After the incident/issue has been investigated, the employer will decide whether the complaint is valid or not. If it is found that the complaint is not substantiated, a counselling session for the parties involved should be organised. If, on the other hand, the complaint is substantiated the employer may take the following action: • Discipline the employee responsible. • In serious cases – instantly dismiss the employee. • Refer the issue to Fair Work Australia or an independent mediator. PROCEdURAL fAIRnESS In THE InvESTIGATIOn PROCESS It is crucial that employers conduct the investigation process in a fair manner. In order to conduct a fair investigation the following points should be considered: • The investigator should be independent and impartial. • The investigation should be conducted as soon as practicable, within a specified time period. • Any action taken should be based on facts only with relevant and quality evidence, such that hearsay or suspicions should not be relied upon. • Information about the investigation should be documented and communicated to the complainant and respondent. dISPUTE RESOLUTIOn UndER THE MOdERn AWARd Most Modern Awards provide that the parties to a dispute arising in relation to a matter under the award or the National Employment Standards must first attempt to resolve the dispute at the workplace level through discussions between the employer and employee. If the dispute cannot be resolved at the workplace level, either party (the employee or employer) may refer the dispute to Fair Work Australia. In such cases, Fair Work Australia can exercise a method of dispute resolution, including mediation, conciliation or arbitration. Before acting on any of the information in this article, please contact the friendly team at the ADA HR Advisory Service on: Phone: 1300 ADA INC (1300 232 462) Fax: 02 8448 3299 Email: email@example.com The ADA HR Advisory Service is available from 8.30 am – 5.30 pm (AEST) Monday to Friday. ‘The answer could be just a phone call away’ Effective management of WORKPLACE GRIEVANCES
ADA News Bulletin March 2011
ADA News Bulletin May 2011