The Division of People and Culture plays a role in assisting staff and supervisors to manage workplace concerns and complaints. You can get an overview of how complaints are managed at Charles Sturt below. You will also find advice on how to lodge a workplace complaint and who is available to assist.
How we manage complaints
Addressing concerns early may prevent them from escalating into complaints. A concern may be a result of a misunderstanding or a situation arising from a person not being aware of the impact they are having on you. To address concerns early the following steps should be taken:
- Discuss your concerns with the person as soon as possible while the interaction is fresh in both people's minds.
- If you are unable to resolve the matter between yourselves, refer it to the appropriate manager.
- If the manager is not able to resolve the matter, a complaint can be lodged with the Division of People and Culture.
If someone shows the courage to raise a concern with you, consider carefully how you can respond in a way that helps to resolve the matter. Keep the University's values in mind when you are responding.
How we resolve complaints
We use the Complaints Management Policy to govern our management of complaints. We also use a suite of procedures for different types of complaints. Our intent is to make sure complaints are dealt with fairly and impartially and resolved in a timely and effective way.
We assess complaints depending on their severity, considering the potential impacts and consequences. We then assign an appropriate staff member to manage the issue and escalate if necessary. This is to ensure the timely and efficient handling of concerns. The process for addressing complaints is guided by the by the principles in the Complaints Management Policy.
Complaints are also handled in accordance with any relevant legislation. If you lodge a complaint, we will consult you to understand how you would like the complaint handled and the outcomes that you are seeking and take this into consideration in deciding on our next steps. While we will accept an anonymous report, our ability to investigate the report may be limited.
The Code of Conduct sets the standards of conduct expected of all staff of the University. At all times during the complaints process, we will treat you with respect and courtesy. If a person involved in a complaint behaves in a way that is threatening, rude or harassing, it may trigger proceedings for misconduct.
A workplace concern or complaint is defined as a clear communication by a member of staff of a work-related issue, concern, dispute or grievance.
Initially, the people involved in the complaint should try to resolve it informally, unless it involves serious misconduct or a breach of the law. Informal resolution can be the most effective way of dealing with many issues.
If an informal resolution is unsuccessful, a formal procedure will be instigated. The Complaints Procedure - Workplace outlines these informal and formal procedures.
Some workplace concerns are not considered complaints and are dealt with through alternative processes. You can find a list of these and the relevant process in Part A of the Complaints Procedure - Workplace.
Bullying and Harassment
If you feel you are being bullied or harassed, have concerns about someone else being bullied or you are a manager dealing with an issue, you can access more information about bullying and harassment.
How to lodge a complaint
If you have tried to sort out an issue with the person involved and this has been unsuccessful, you can lodge a formal complaint. To do this, notify one of the following:
- your immediate supervisor or manager
- a Leader in your area
- a Division of People & Culture (DPC) staff member
- the University Ombudsman.
This initiates the formal complaints procedure. If the receiver of the complaint is not a member of the Division of People & Culture, they will inform the DPC.
Help with complaints
Help is available from the following people as appropriate:
- your supervisor
- the Manager, Diversity and Equity
- the Manager, Work Health and Safety
- Business Partners (Division of People & Culture)
Responsibility for handling complaints
The University Ombudsman is responsible for the overall management and monitoring of complaints. The Ombudsman also receives and responds to complaints lodged directly with them. They provide information about procedures to complainants and managers handling complaints. Complaints that are not able to be resolved at lower levels will be escalated to the Ombudsman for investigation and final resolution.
Managers and supervisors
Managers and supervisors have primary responsibility for receiving and resolving complaints raised in their area. They advise people of their right to make a complaint where appropriate and provide support to people who have a complaint.
Division of People and Culture
The Division of People and Culture supports the management and monitoring of complaints. This includes managing matters addressed through the Enterprise Agreement, those involving workplace bullying and harassment or work health and safety.
We provide independent advice and assistance to managers or supervisors who have received a complaint and also to staff members lodging complaints. We work closely with the University Ombudsman to address complaints raised by staff. We also identify systemic issues which arise from complaints and make recommendations to management to address these.