Information for staff on handling grievances

Grievance policy and procedures

The University has approved Policy and Procedures for handling grievances.

Grievances are broadly defined as a behaviour or action which has or is likely to have an unreasonable negative impact on staff or students to undertake their duties or studies. Separate procedures exist for staff and students, although both are based on similar models. To view the Staff Grievance Policy and Procedure, or the Student Grievance Policy and Procedure visit the Policy website.

Staff should be familiar with these Policies and Procedures:

  • so that any grievances they receive from staff or students are handled correctly
  • to inform students and other staff of the correct process for handling a grievance
  • in the event they have a grievance personally which requires resolution.

All staff should be aware of the policy statement embodied within both the Staff Grievance Policy and the Student Grievance Policy which states:

As part of the approach by the University to providing a fair, safe and productive work/study environment, consideration of grievances will be dealt with fairly, consistently, promptly, with sensitivity to all parties and in accordance with the principles of natural justice.

Whistle Blowers Protection Act

The University of Ballarat is committed to the aims and objectives of the Whistle Blowers Protection Act 2001 (the Act). It does not tolerate improper conduct by its employees, officers or members, nor the taking of reprisals against those who come forward to disclose such conduct.

If you believe an officer of the University has acted criminally or illegally please refer to the “University’s Procedure for investigating disclosures under the Whistle-blower’s Protection Act”.

The Victorian Ombudsman

The role of the Ombudsman in reviewing Universities’ decisions can be found in the Ombudsman section of the Legal website.

The Ombudsman is an independent officer of the Victorian Parliament who investigates complaints about administrative actions taken by the University (as well as other public bodies and authorities). Administrative actions is defined as “any action taken relating to a matter of administration including decisions to act, failure to act, formulation of proposals or the making of recommendations”.

Staff should be aware that decisions they may regularly make in the course of their employment (such as applications for credit for prior learning, assessments, fee related decisions) can potentially become the subject of a complaint to the Ombudsman’s office.

Consequently, decision making needs to be fair and transparent for students. Any decision made of a significant matter (for instance, that may adversely affect a student’s final grade, relate to their finances or enrolment) should be communicated in writing (and orally if appropriate) with the reasons for the decision. If there is an internal right of appeal, the student should be informed of that right. If not, the student should be informed of the role of the Ombudsman in reviewing administrative decisions. In addition, the Legal Office has published a paper “Fair and Transparent Decision Making” which can provide assistance in decision making within the University.

Any correspondence received from the Ombudsman’s office should be forwarded immediately to the University’s legal office to respond.