Grievance Resolution Standard

Outcome

The process used by an employing authority to resolve or redress employee grievances is fair.

The Standard

The minimum Standard of merit, equity and probity is met for grievance resolution if:

  • employees are informed of their rights and responsibilities in the grievance resolution process.
  • the process is based on a proper consideration of the facts and circumstances prevailing at the time of the grievance.
  • decisions are impartial, transparent and capable of review.

Explanatory notes

The explanatory notes are a guide and are not part of the Grievance Resolution Standard.

Application

The Standard applies to the process used by an employing authority to resolve or redress an employee’s grievance.

The Standard does not apply to:

  • judging the merits of the grievance
  • sub-standard performance or disciplinary action
  • allegations of victimisation following the lodgement of a grievance.

While allegations of victimisation as a consequence of lodging a grievance cannot be dealt with under the Standard, a complaint could be lodged with the employing authority. The Commissioner monitors and reports on the extent to which employing authorities properly examine such complaints.

Methods

An employing authority may use several methods to resolve or redress employee grievances. Once a method is adopted, it must be applied consistently.

Lodging a grievance

The Standard does not require employees to lodge a grievance with their employing authority in any particular way (for example, in writing). It is the responsibility of employing authorities to inform employees about their rights, how to lodge a grievance, and how grievances will be managed. An employing authority must ensure that, when a grievance is brought to its attention, a genuine attempt is made to resolve or redress it.

The employee bearing the grievance has a responsibility to:

  • ensure the relevant person is appropriately made aware of the grievance
  • provide sufficient information to enable the employing authority to assess the grievance.

Period

The Standard does not impose a time period to complete a grievance resolution process.

All parties should attempt to complete a grievance resolution process as quickly as possible. If it cannot be completed within a reasonable time, the parties should be informed about the delay and the reasons for it.

Confidentiality

Information produced during the grievance resolution process is kept in trust and divulged only to those with a need to know, with due regard to the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act 1992.

Review

Documentation about the grievance resolution decision should describe clearly and concisely the grounds upon which the decision was made.

Public Sector Management (Breaches of Public Sector Standards) Regulations 2005

Once the final reviewable decision is made, the Regulations require employing authorities to notify the employee who made the grievance and any employee that was the subject of the grievance that they may make a breach of Standard claim, and how that claim may be made.

Obligations

The Standard does not override specific requirements applicable to grievance resolution in the public sector, which may include:

  • Commissioner’s Instructions issued under the Act
  • any dispute resolution process specified in an applicable award or industrial agreement.

Terms

Reviewable decision A decision made by a public sector body as a result of the completion of a process to which a Standard applies.
Registered employee As provided for by the Public Sector Management (Redeployment and Redundancy) Regulations 2014.
Job Reference to job in the Standards refers to an office, post, position, item or function in a public sector body, department or organisation.
Proper assessment A genuine and thorough examination that takes into account all relevant facts and circumstances that are reasonably available and known at the time of the decision.

 


Page last updated 5 May 2015