Addressing Workplace Concerns

UniSA is committed to eliminating unlawful discrimination and harassment, to advancing equal opportunity and to sustaining an inclusive and respectful culture.

To support this, any concerns regarding inappropriate behaviour, or instances of policies, procedures, codes, or employment agreements not being followed, should be promptly addressed. Guidance is provided in the sections below on ways staff members and, where relevant, members of the University community can raise and resolve concerns and supports available when doing so.  

Some behaviours and incidents that occur in the workplace can cross over a number of the University’s policies, procedures and frameworks. If you raise your concern formally, it will be assessed to ensure the appropriate mechanism is used to address the matter.

 

Definitions

Unlawful discrimination means treating an individual and/or group in employment and education less favourably because of one or more protected characteristics, including:

  • age
  • physical or mental disability
  • race, national extraction and social origin
  • sex, pregnancy, marital or relationship status, family or carer's responsibilities or breastfeeding
  • sexual orientation, gender identity or intersex status
  • political opinion and religion.

Harassment means unwelcome behaviour or language, and/or treating an indivudal less favorably, that has the effect of offending, intimidating or humiliating an individual on the basis of their attributes such as sex, race, disabilty or age, in circumstances which a reasonable person, having regard to all the circumstances, would have anticipated that the person harassed would be offended, humiliated or intimidated.

Workplace bullying means the repeated unreasonable ill treatment of a person or a group by another or others, and the behaviour creates a risk to health and safety. It is a form of harassment and discrimination consisting of offensive, abusive, belittling or threatening behaviour directed at an individual or a group in the workplace.

Resolving Personal Grievances

If you have a concern or complaint (Personal Grievance) related to unlawful discrimination, harassment or workplace bullying, you can contact an Equity Contact for information on how to address the matter in accordance with the Discrimination and Harassment Grievance Procedure. You may also wish to consider the other available pathways:

Step 1 - Personal approach

If you feel safe to do so, you can speak with the staff member directly. Some considerations:

  • Approach the staff member calmly and professionally.
  • Stick to the facts - what did they do, when did it happen etc.
  • Be clear about the impact of the behaviour on you.
  • Tell them you want the behaviour to stop.

Step 2 -  Seek assistance to address the matter

Seek assistance from your line manager, or another leader if your line manager is the other party. There are resources and support available to your line manager to assist you to resolve the matter, such as informal mediation.  Your line manager can seek further information from the Strategic People Partner as needed.

Step 3 - Raise your concern with the Executive Director: People, Talent & Culture (ED: PTC)

The Consultants in People Central are available to discuss your concern and can assist you to raise your Personal Grievance with the ED: PTC. Alternatively, you are welcome to lodge your Personal Grievance with the ED: PTC directly via email.

You are welcome to have the assistance of a support person as you work through resolving a Personal Grievance.

Additional Information and Support

For managers who are supporting staff in resolving a personal grievance, you may wish to access support and advice through Manager Assist and/or the Strategic People Partnering team, who can work with you to discuss options and strategies to help resolve the matter.

For all staff the following resources may also be of assistance:

 

Resolving Disputes

 A Dispute may arise in relation to matters dealt with by the University of South Australia Enterprise Agreement 2023 (Enterprise Agreement) or the National Employment Standards. The Dispute Resolution Procedure (set out in clause 58 of the Enterprise Agreement) cannot be accessed for decisions about merit selection, promotion, or Staff Grievances.

A dispute lodged in accordance with clause 58 of the Enterprise Agreement must be notified in writing via email to the Executive Director: People, Talent & Culture, including details on the nature of the dispute and potential options for resolution. Parties can be supported, in accordance with the provisions of the Enterprise Agreement, and the following stages should be followed when seeking to resolve a dispute.

Stage 1 - Resolving at a local level

  • With the support of your line manager, reasonable attempts can be made to resolve the matter at the local level by those involved and/or any representatives within ten (10) working days.
  • Where the dispute is in relation to the staff member’s line manager, the matter will be handled by the next level of management.

Stage 2 - Discussion with a nominee of the ED: PTC

  • If the dispute is not resolved at Stage 1, the matter will be raised in writing with the ED: PTC who will identify an appropriate nominee.
  • The nominee will discuss the matter with the relevant parties and attempt to seek a written agreement within ten (10) working days of the matter being referred.

Stage 3 - Fair Work Commission

  • If, after attempts to resolve the dispute at Stage 3 fail, the University, the union and/or the staff member who has notified the dispute, may refer the matter to the Fair Work Commission (FWC). 
  • Where the matter is referred by a staff member, the University will provide details of the parties to the dispute to the relevant unions.

Regardless of the above, a staff member may submit the same dispute to any other external agency that is competent to handle the matter. In this instance, the matter will be dealt with according to rules and procedures of the external agency and the matter will cease to be a dispute under the Enterprise Agreement.

Further information and detail can be found in clause 58 of the Enterprise Agreement.

Additional Support

For staff involved in resolving a dispute the Employee Assistance Program is available, as is the Manager Assist service.

A staff member may also be represented in during these stages by a union representative or by another representative as defined by the Enterprise Agreement.

Definitions

Misconduct occurs when a staff member breaches their obligations under their contract of employment. Examples include but are not limited to, significant breaches of codes of conduct, policies, and other reasonable instructions; breach of the Research Code; and inappropriate use if University property and facilities.

Serious Misconduct means:

  1. Serious misbehaviour of a kind that constitutes a serious impediment to the staff member, or their colleagues, carrying out their duties, and/or
  2. Serious dereliction of the duties required of the staff member in their position, and/or
  3. Conviction by a court for an offence that constitutes a serious impediment of the kind referred to in part a. above.

Further information and example are available in clause 61 of the University of South Australia Enterprise Agreement 2023 (Enterprise Agreememt)

Addressing Misconduct / Serious Misconduct

Concerns about the conduct or behaviour of a staff member may be referred to the Executive Director: People, Talent and Culture (ED: PTC) via email for consideration. The ED: PTC may determine to undertake an investigation or other enquiries as appropriate, to determine a course of action to address the matter.

Further information on the investigation process is available in clause 61.9 of the University of South Australia Enterprise Agreement 2023.

Additional Information and Support

In addition to the information contained above and in the Enterprise Agreement, support is available via:

Public Interest Disclosure (Whistleblowing)

If a member of the University Community reasonably suspects the occurrence of acts or behaviour which constitutes serious or systemic misconduct, maladministration, or corruption in relation to our operations.

Please see Public Interest Disclosure (Whistleblowing) for more information on how to make a report.

Research Integrity 

Concerns about research conducted by UniSA researchers - human ethics, animal ethics, biosafety, breaches of the Research Code or more general matters.

Please see Research Integrity for more information on lodging a concern or complaint.

Warning: Due to the subject matter, some of this material may be distressing. If you need support please contact the available support services.

The University has a responsibility to prevent sexual harassment, sexual assault, and victimisation, and will take action to eliminate and prevent sexual harm. All members of the University Community have a responsibility to comply with and demonstrate a proactive commitment to ensure the workplace and study and research environments are respectful, safe, and free from sexual harm.

Definitions

Sexual assault is an inclusive term used to describe any type of unwanted sexual act inflicted on a person that they have not freely and voluntarily consented to, have withdrawn consent to, or occurs in circumstances where they are incapable of giving free and voluntary consent. 

Sexual harassment is an unwelcome sexual advance or request for sexual favours or conduct of a sexual nature which makes a person feel offended, humiliated and/or intimidated where a reasonable person would anticipate the possibility that reaction in the circumstances.

Sexual harm is the overarching term for any unwanted, behaviour of a sexual nature. Sexual harm includes sexual assault, rape, sexual harassment, sex-based harassment, and any other unwanted sexual behaviour, whether online or in person.

The Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Policy provides further information on what defines sexual assault and sexual harassment. The Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Procedure also provides further information.

Notifying An Incident of Sexual Harassment or Sexual Assault

If you, or someone you know, have been affected by an incident of sexual assault or sexual harassment, support is always available. You can contact a person you trust, and/or a designated first responder, to seek advice and assistance on support available and how to notify the University of an incident.

To notify the University you can lodge your notification online UniSA via the online form can be used by someone who has experienced sexual harassment or sexual assault, or by someone who has witnessed an incident or is a support person for someone who has experienced sexual assault or sexual harassment. If you are reporting on behalf of another person, you must have their consent before you do so.

All complaints of sexual assault and sexual harassment are directed to the Executive Director: People, Talent and Culture and/or the Chief Academic Services Officer, depending on whether the incident relates to a student, a staff member, or a visitor on campus.

 

Additional Information and Support

Employee Assistance Program

Employee Assistance Program: 1300 277 924

Available to staff, immediate family members, and Research Degree Students, this service includes 24/7/365 tele-health consultation service in addition to the face-to-face counselling service.

UniSA Campus Security

If you are on a UniSA campus and are concerned about your safety, call Campus Security on 1800 500 911 or 88888 from internal University telephones. UniSA’s Campus Security is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 

24/7 Phone Support
National Sexual Assault, Domestic, Family Violence Counselling Service: 1800 737 732

Yarrow Place
Rape & Sexual Assault Service: 1800 817 421

Lifeline
Lifeline is a national charity providing anyone experiencing a personal crisis with access to 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention services.  This is a free service which can be accessed by calling 13 11 14.

Information on additional support available can be found here.

 

 

Definitions

Staff grievance means a grievance under clause 57 of the Enterprise Agreement where the staff member is seeking a review of an action or decision that directly affects the staff member’s terms and conditions of employment, which they consider is unfair or unreasonable.

Addressing Staff Grievances

 Stage 1 – Informal Staff Grievance Resolution

In the first instance staff are encouraged to discuss and resolve work-related concerns through informal measures and at the local level with their immediate line manager.  If the Staff Grievance involves the immediate line manager, discussions will include the line manager’s supervisor.

Informal measures may include exploration of reasonable and practical options to resolve the Staff Grievance and further assisted/facilitated discussions with the staff member.

Stage 2 – Formal Staff Grievance Process

If the matter cannot be resolved informally at Stage 1, the staff member may lodge a formal Staff Grievance in writing via email to the Executive Director: People, Talent and Culture (ED: PTC).  The Staff Grievance must outline the staff member’s concerns, the outcomes sought and attach any documentary evidence that the staff member considers will support an understanding of their Staff Grievance.

An Independent Reviewer (from a pool agreed to by the University and the Unions party to the Enterprise Agreement) will be engaged to investigate the Staff Grievance. The role of the Independent Reviewer is to assess the merits of the Staff Grievance and to identify reasonable and practical options to resolve the Staff Grievance (as appropriate).  The Independent Reviewer will provide a written report to the ED: PTC within twenty (20) working days of receipt of the Staff Grievance by the Independent Reviewer, unless delayed on reasonable grounds, in which case the report will be provided as soon as practicable.  The staff member will be kept informed of the progress of the review.

Finalising a Staff Grievance

A staff member may withdraw their Staff Grievance at any time, in writing. In addition, the Enterprise Agreement outlines a range of situations which form the end or dismissal of a Staff Grievance. These details can be found in clauses 57.10 and 57.11 of the Agreement.

Additional Support

A staff member may be represented in these stages by a representative as defined in the Enterprise Agreement. Staff can also access the Employee Assistance Program, and the Manager Assist service is also available for managers.

Further details of the process regarding Staff Grievances can be found in clause 57 of the Enterprise Agreement.