1. Purpose and Scope
In all aspects of life, issues arise that may cause frustration, confusion, anger and/or a need to report an issue as a grievance or complaint.
This policy and its associated documents will:
- Work to ensure that grievances and complaints are addressed in a fair, equitable and transparent manner with the focus being on quick resolutions with a rapid re-establishment of good relations and positive outcomes
- Provide a framework to guide the actions of all MIGAS Apprentices & Trainees employees to manage and resolve grievances and complaints in a prompt, fair, confidential and effective manner
Where issues raised have not been resolved through normal day to day communication, an internal employee, apprentice, trainee or host employer may wish to seek resolution or improvement.
The purpose of this policy is to provide for the fair and prompt resolution and to provide a clear framework under which these matters can be resolved.
A grievance/complaint in the first instance should be referred to the employee’s respective Supervisor or Manager or the appropriate MIGAS contact (for a host employer grievance/complaint) and discuss the issue with a view to seeking a resolution of the grievance or concern. Confidentiality will be respected at all times within the constraints of the need to fully investigate the grievance or complaint.
This policy provides guidelines in relation to:
- A grievance or a complaint regarding an apprentice, trainee, employee or host employer
- A grievance, complaint or appeal in relation to the service provided by MIGAS or its representatives
MIGAS is open to receiving feedback and resolving any grievance or complaint raised with the emphasis on resolving grievances and complaints as close as possible to the source, and as quickly as possible using the most appropriate processes. The resolution process will focus on rapid re-establishment of good relations and positive outcomes.
MIGAS is committed to ensuring that those parties bringing grievances and complaints do not experience any victimisation during the process or as a consequence of the process. To achieve the best outcomes for grievance and complaints handling MIGAS will ensure to:
- Treat complaints and grievances expeditiously with privacy, confidentiality and take them seriously
- Provide a fair, without bias, hearing following the rules of procedural fairness and allowing for natural justice
- Provide avenues for recourse and further investigation, culminating in the CEO having final decision-making authority
- Resolve complaints, where possible, at a local level and involve a minimum number of people
Further, MIGAS will provide a framework for grievance and complaints handling and resolution including:
- A Code of Conduct outlining acceptable and unacceptable behaviour
- Promoting a culture free from discrimination and harassment
- Transparent policies and procedures
Employees are defined as apprentices, trainees, and corporate staff. They have responsibilities to:
- Be aware of their own health and safety and take reasonable care that they do not adversely affect the health and safety of others
- Not tolerate unacceptable behaviour and report misconduct
- Follow the grievance and complaints resolution process when an issue arises
4. Informal Complaints Process
In many cases, simply telling the person concerned that their behaviour is causing distress, explaining why it is unwelcome and asking for it to stop will be sufficient. Often, the person is not aware that their behaviour is causing distress, and they will stop immediately once told.
A MIGAS employee may decide to:
- Personally approach the person or people involved to resolve their concerns by notifying them that their behaviour is unwelcome or unacceptable and that it should stop immediately and not occur again
- Speak to their direct Supervisor/Manager or Human Resources
- If necessary, seek support and counselling via the MIGAS Employee Assistance Program on 0407 086 000
5. Formal Complaints Process
If a complaint cannot be resolved by direct discussion, or the MIGAS employee does not feel comfortable addressing the issue face to face, a formal complaint can be made in writing to the employee’s direct Supervisor/Manager or Human Resources.
Complaint by MIGAS employee against Host Employer’s employee or representative
Where the complaint is between a MIGAS employee (e.g. apprentice, trainee, field officer) and the Host Employer or their employee, the following process shall be followed:
- MIGAS HR representative (or Field Officer in consultation with MIGAS HR) meets with employee and takes a written statement. The statement should be as detailed as possible in terms of the incident(s), date/time of incident(s), and names or any witnesses, etc. It must be signed by the employee, as soon as possible during or after the meeting.
- MIGAS HR determines whether the employee is safe, and if required will immediately remove the employee from the work site to ensure their safety.
- MIGAS HR notifies Host Employer HR (Host HR) representative of the complaint.
- MIGAS HR and Host HR to agree of respective roles during any investigation.
- Host HR has prime responsibility to interview their direct employee, and any host company employees who are witnesses to the incident(s).
- MIGAS HR has prime responsibility to interview the complainant and any witnesses who are MIGAS employees.
- In each case, written statements should be taken, and signed off by the witness.
- Where Host HR wishes to interview the MIGAS employee directly, a MIGAS HR representative shall be present at all times.
- MIGAS HR should encourage the Host HR to provide the subject of the complaint the right of response. Where such a response includes the names of other employees to corroborate facts, any subsequent interviews should follow the process as in points 5 through 8 above.
- MIGAS HR reviews the findings of the Host HR investigation and asks any further questions or may request further evidence as is considered appropriate.
- MIGAS HR notifies the MIGAS CEO of the findings of the investigation (in writing or verbally), noting any areas of disagreement or difference with the Host HR’s report.
- The MIGAS CEO will determine whether the employee will now be safe within the respective work environment, and either return, maintain or remove the employee as necessary.
- MIGAS HR and/or Field Officer advises the employee of the outcome of the investigation, and any disciplinary action that may result, within 21 working days of the complaint. The employee is advised that any reprisal in any form by the host company employee will not be tolerated, and should be notified to the MIGAS HR representative as soon as possible.
Complaint by MIGAS employee against another MIGAS employee
Where the complaint is between a MIGAS employee (e.g. apprentice, trainee, field officer) and another MIGAS employee, the following process shall be followed:
1. When appraised of the complaint, the MIGAS HR representative and MIGAS CEO (as decision-maker) should each consider whether there are any facts which may result in them being impartial to the investigation or decision. If so, they should remove themselves from the investigation. In the case of the CEO, he or she should appraise the Chairman of the Board, who should appoint an alternate decision maker.
2. MIGAS HR meets with employee (complainant) and takes a written statement. The statement should be as detailed as possible in terms of the incident(s), date/time of incident(s), and names or any witnesses, etc. It must be signed by the employee, as soon as possible during or after the meeting.
3. MIGAS HR determines whether the employee is safe, and if required will immediately remove the employee from the workplace to ensure their safety.
4. MIGAS HR interviews any witnesses to the incident(s), advising them to maintain confidentiality.
5. MIGAS HR gathers any other evidence that may exist, such as documentation.
6. If the matter is of high severity, MIGAS HR may make recommendation to the MIGAS CEO that the subject of the complaint should be:
- Relocated to another work site if practical
- Suspended on full pay whilst the investigation is carried out, or
- Suspended on full pay, and issued with a “show cause” as to why disciplinary action should not be taken
7. MIGAS HR advises subject of the complaint (respondent) of the nature of the complaint and any immediate action in terms of point 6. Such advice should be given:
- At a face-to-face meeting. The Subject is to be afforded the right to have a support person present. The Subject should be advised that the meeting relates to a complaint, but no further details are to be provided to avoid potential confusion and to allow time for MIGAS to gather further detail on the alleged actions.
- At the conclusion of the meeting a written respondent’s letter detailing the complaint and next steps should be prepared and given to the Subject.
- The Subject should be reminded of confidentiality obligations and the contact details of the Employee Assistance Program.
8. Where the Subject does not attend the initial meeting, for whatever reason, an alternative meeting date/time should be scheduled, but within no more than two working days.
9. The Subject is provided seven days to respond to the complaint (either in writing or verbally via a face-to-face interview in the case of a formal investigation) from the date of meeting or date the written complaint is served. If via face-to-face interview the Subject is entitled to a support person.
10. MIGAS HR will review the Subject’s response, and determine whether any further information should be sought form any other person or source.
11. MIGAS HR will provide a report on the investigation together with any recommended disciplinary action to the decision maker (usually the MIGAS CEO).
12. The decision-maker shall determine whether he or she requires any further information, agrees or otherwise with the decision.
13. The decision together with any instruction as to discipline shall be issued in writing to the Subject within 21 working days of the complaint. This shall usually involve a face-to-face meeting where the Subject has the right to bring a support person, and is provided with a written copy.
In the event there has been an alleged breach of this policy, confidentiality is important to protect all people concerned. If a MIGAS employee is involved in an investigation, either as a witness or as an investigator, then they must keep it confidential and not discuss it with anyone. Disclosing information about the investigation could result in disciplinary action being taken against the employee.
MIGAS will endeavour to keep a complaint and the details of any investigation as confidential as is reasonably possible, having regard to the rights of all involved in the investigation. However, there may be circumstances where full confidentiality cannot be maintained if the complaint is to be fully investigated in a fair respectful manner according to company procedure, or if disciplinary or corrective action is required.
7. External Complaint Options
If a MIGAS employee is not satisfied with the resolution of a complaint under this Policy, they can make a complaint to the relevant State Training Authority (if an apprentice or trainee), or to the following organisations:
The Fair Work Commission is the national workplace relations tribunal. It is an independent body with power to carry out a range of functions such as dealing with complaints of unfair dismissal, resolving individual workplace disputes and ensuring compliance with workplace laws about pregnancy and work.
The Australian Human Rights Commission is an independent statutory body which can investigate and resolve complaints of discrimination, harassment and bullying based on but not limited to a person’s sex, gender identity, intersex status, sexual orientation, disability, race and age.
8. Withdrawing a Complaint
Complaints can be withdrawn at any time. In most cases, if a MIGAS employee withdraws a complaint then no further action will be taken. Where, however, we suspect that a breach of this policy has occurred, MIGAS reserves the right to investigate any such breach.
9. False Accusations, Vexatious Compaints and Defamation
If a MIGAS employee intentionally makes false allegations that another person has engaged in conduct in contravention of this policy, then that person may be defaming the other person. It is therefore very important that all complaints of unacceptable conduct are based on truth and fact.
Intentionally false accusations, or allegations that are found to be unsubstantiated because they are of a frivolous or vexatious nature will be viewed seriously and, where found to be intentional or malicious, may result in MIGAS taking disciplinary action.
10. Appeals Policy
MIGAS will make every effort to ensure that investigations of complaints are handled impartially. Where an Investigator or the Decision Maker believes they cannot carry out their role impartially, they should declare this and stand aside. The CEO will determine who should more appropriately investigate the complaint. At this time, an external investigator and/or mediator may be appointed for either role.
Where an investigation has been completed, both the complainant and the Subject of the complaint have the right to have the decision reviewed, on the following grounds:
- They can prove that relevant fact(s) have not been taken into account, and can provide those facts or reference to the Decision Maker. They must be able to show that they had either noted the facts in their initial complaint or response to the complaint, or only became aware of the facts after their complaint or response had been submitted.
- They can show that either the Investigator or Decision Maker were biased in their findings either in favour of or against the Complainant or Subject.
An appeal shall be submitted to the CEO in the first instance in all cases.
Where an employee is dissatisfied with the process, or appeal process, they can appeal to the relevant external party such as the Fair Work Commission.
11. Breaches of This Policy
Breaches of this Policy will be viewed as misconduct or serious misconduct.
All grievances and complaints will be promptly, impartially and thoroughly managed. Appropriate disciplinary action will be taken against a person who is found to have breached this policy. These measures will depend on the nature and circumstance of each breach and could include:
- A verbal or written apology
- One or more parties agreeing to participate in mediation, counselling or training
- A verbal or written reprimand or warning
- Transfer, demotion or dismissal of the person engaging in the breach
If an investigation finds no breach of policy has not occurred or cannot be substantiated, MIGAS may still take appropriate action to address any workplace issues leading to the incident.
Last updated: April 2023