Employee Grievances, Disciplinary Matters and Internal Investigations

How do employee grievances, disciplinary matters and internal investigations link?

An employee will generally have a grievance about another employee, which may result in disciplinary action and internal investigations.  Your policies will dictate how you respond to these issues.  If you do not have any policies then we encourage you to use the principles of natural justice.

What do I do if an employee has a grievance?

If an employee has a grievance you should stop and genuinely consider their grievance.  If it is about another employee, you may propose disciplinary action against that employee and commence internal investigations (if appropriate).  It is important to remain impartial and consider only the facts at hand when working through internal investigations to ensure a fair outcome is achieved for all parties.

What are your options?

Although not recommend, you could ignore the issue and hope that the employee who complained withdraws their complaint.  It is unlikely that this will occur though because by the time an employee has made a complaint the matter would have gone quite far.  It is a good idea to consider what is happening and who it is happening to, think about the sort of support you need to give and consider your responsibilities under current work health and safety legislation.

How do our employment lawyers help you?

We can assist you with handling employee grievances, disciplinary matters and investigations.  It may be difficult for you to remain impartial throughout the process so it may be prudent to engage external assistance.

Frequently Asked Questions

An employee has raised serious allegations of sexual assault in the workplace.  What we can do to protect this employee until a conclusion is reached?

All allegations are serious but some require you to protect the employee more than others.  We recommend that you consider your work health and safety responsibilities as well as your responsibilities to investigate.

An employee has falsely accused another employee.  Do I still need to go through the standard procedures of investigation and discipline, or can I just terminate this employee for lying?

If you have undertaken an investigation and found that the allegation was false you need to figure out what the motives of the employee making the false allegation were.  Once you have all the information you can make informed decisions as to what to do next.

An employee has raised a complaint about another employee bullying her.  Can I terminate that employee for making that complaint?  It just means more work for me and I do not believe that the person is bullying her?

Adversely treating an employee for exercising a workplace right is a breach of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth).  Consider the complaint in the usual way so that you can protect your business from exposing itself from liability.

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