Wed, 06 Sep 2023
Staff Grievance and Complaint Policy
This policy outlines the Metavision Institute’s approach for resolving staff grievances and complaints, which may occur from time to time in the workplace. This policy reflects Metavision’s commitment to maintaining a respectful, inclusive and collaborative organisational culture, and is designed to promote a safe working and learning environment. The policy aims to provide a transparent process for resolving grievances and making and addressing complaints.
This policy applies equally to all Metavision’s employees, contractors and volunteers involved in its higher education operations regardless of seniority, position or location. Metavision accepts complaints by former employees, contractors and volunteers under this policy when it considers it appropriate to do so. If a complaint is not accepted in this context, Metavision will provide reasons for the decision. Metavision will accept complaints made by staff as a collective group if the complainants are individually identified, each has a specific complaint, and each has agreed to be part of the collective group complaint. A group complaint will typically be managed and responded to jointly.
Complaint: a staff complaint about Metavision or another staff member about a concern such as interpersonal conflict, behaviour, disagreements about work allocation, workload or management, or disagreement about workplace policies and their application.
Complainant: the person who is making the complaint
Respondent: the person or entity against whom the complaint has been made.
Grievance Process: an informal process of discussion or negotiation to resolve a work problem such as interpersonal conflict or disagreement. In most situations, discussion and negotiation will resolve work problems. If the problem is of a serious nature or the informal process has not resolved the problem, the formal complaint process is the next step.
Formal complaint process: steps taken to address formal complaints.
Relevant TEQSA Threshold Standards
This policy aligns with the requirements of Section 6 Governance and Accountability in the Higher Education Standards Framework 2015.
- This policy is to be read in conjunction with relevant award or contract provisions under which the complainant is employed, together with Equal Employment Opportunity legislation. These provisions take precedence over this policy in the event of any conflict.
- The following principles underpin the Metavision Institute’s approach to staff grievances and complaints:
- Metavision supports the timely, sensitive and respectful resolution of staff grievances and complaints,
- The principles of procedural fairness apply to complaint processes. All parties are afforded natural justice, which requires:
- the right to be heard,
- the right to be treated without bias or conflict of interest, and
- a decision based on evidence.
- Wherever possible, grievances are to be resolved by a process of discussion, negotiation and cooperation according to this policy, with the aim of reaching an acceptable outcome that minimises any potential harm to ongoing working relationships.
- All parties involved in a complaint process are to act reasonably and in good faith. They are to keep information pertaining to the complaint confidential and only discuss complaints on a ‘need to know’ basis.
- Staff members who raise a complaint are not to be victimised, disadvantaged, discriminated against or subjected to reprisal in any form.
- Metavision will review systemic problems evident in staff complaints and use complaints information to continuously improve its broader policies and processes.
1. Grievance resolution
1.1 Staff tensions and conflict may arise in the workplace. When grievances are addressed in early stages they are typically resolved readily and quickly. Staff members are to approach the person with whom they have a grievance and use private discussion to state the concern, what they think needs to change and respectfully negotiate a resolution. This step will often lead to satisfactory resolution of grievances.
1.2 If the grievance is unresolved, the complaint may progress to dispute resolution or make a formal complaint.
2. Dispute resolution
2.1 When a conflict is less easily resolved, or the complainant does not feel comfortable approaching the person with whom they have a grievance, a dispute resolution process may be commenced by the line manager.
2.2 Complainants are to clearly outline their concerns and what they think needs to change or occur in writing to the line manager. The line manager may then organise a dispute resolution meeting with the complainant and respondent (separately or together) to discuss the concerns and explore possible resolutions. When the grievance is satisfactorily resolved, the matter will be concluded. If the grievance is unresolved or of a serious nature, line managers will progress the matter to a formal complaint process.
3. Formal complaint management
3.1 A formal complaint in writing is submitted to the Executive Officer before complaint management commences. If the complaint is about the Executive Officer, the formal complaint is to be submitted to the Chair of the Governance Board.
3.2 The Executive Officer or nominated delegate of similar seniority is to write to the respondent providing details of the complaint. The respondent is to respond to the complaint in writing within five working days of being notified. If a response is not received, the complaint process will still continue.
3.3 When the Executive Officer is satisfied that there are grounds for the complaint, a complaint investigation will be conducted by interviewing all parties and reviewing the supporting evidence. Parties may bring a support person to the interview and are to receive a record of the interview within three working days.
3.4 The complaint investigation is to be concluded within 30 working days. All parties to the complaint are kept informed of the progress of the complaint, the reasons for any decisions and the outcomes that will be implemented. Metavision maintains confidential records of the complaint, the complaint investigation and outcomes.
3.5 Metavision recognises that complaint processes are stressful for all parties and will make available information on how to access external counselling services.
3.6 A formal complaint can be withdrawn at any time, which will conclude the matter.
3.7 The Metavision Institute may take action without a written complaint if it considers a staff member’s health, safety or wellbeing is in jeopardy or if serious misconduct may have occurred.
3.8 Complaint outcomes
The outcome of the complaint, according to the nature, severity and impact of the behaviour that has been investigated, may include:
- Mediation or conciliation by an external service using accredited mediators,
- Change to Metavision Institute policy and work processes,
- Formal apology from the respondent,
- Greater self-awareness and understanding of policies and expectations in the workplace,
- Formal warning, retraining, change in working arrangements and/or other disciplinary action,
- Suspension or termination of employment or role, and/or
- Referring the matter to relevant authorities including the NSW Police.
Any party to a complaint may request a review of a complaint outcome, within 10 working days of receipt of the decision. Metavision will arrange for the review to be carried out by an independent person within 30 working days of the request for a review.
All staff are to respect the confidentiality of complaint investigations.
The Governance Board has responsibility for monitoring the implementation of this policy.
The Executive Officer is responsible for the implementation of this policy, and for reporting to the Governance Board on the operation of this policy.
Line managers are responsible for providing information on this policy as part of staff induction and training, and for modelling appropriate standards of behaviour and encouraging open communication. Line managers facilitate dispute resolution processes to assist staff to resolve grievances and informal complaints respectfully and informally wherever possible and appropriate.
All staff are to be responsible for complying with this policy, and other policies that promote the respectful and equitable treatment of others.
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