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Grievances and Fair Treatment Appeals

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					                                                                                                         November 2009




    Grievances and Fair Treatment Appeals
This document is issued for general guidance only. It does not constitute professional advice. The issues with which it deals are complex and the document
necessarily deals only with general principles. No reader should rely on this document for the purpose of making a decision as to action but should seek the
appropriate advice from the Union on the particular circumstances of that reader. The Union accepts no responsibility for the consequences should any person
act in reliance on this document without obtaining the appropriate advice from the Union.


Grievances                                                                              the grounds on which the QTU member
                                                                                         believes he/she has been adversely affected
A QTU member, as a public servant, has access to                                         by an administrative decision or by the conduct
a departmental grievance process which aims to                                           or behaviour of another employee, agent or
resolve employee grievances. Members’ rights in                                          contractor;
relation to the grievance process are outlined in
the Grievance Resolution Directive 11/07, which                                         the grounds on which the employee believes
came into effect on 5 October 2007.                                                      the administrative decision, conduct or
                                                                                         behaviour is unfair or unreasonable;
A QTU member can lodge a grievance if he or she
has an honest belief, based on reasonable                                               the action which the QTU member believes
grounds, that:                                                                           would resolve the grievance; and
   an administrative decision made by the                                              the attempts the QTU member has made to
    Department which adversely affects him/her is                                        resolve the grievance at the school/workplace.
    unfair or unreasonable; or                                                      The QTU member must lodge the grievance within
   the conduct of a Departmental employee,                                         12 months of the administrative decision, alleged
    agent or contractor of the Department which                                     conduct or alleged behaviour occurring.
    adversely affects them is unfair or                                             Facilitated Discussions
    unreasonable; or
                                                                                    Where possible, within two working days of
   the behaviour of a Departmental employee,                                       receiving the grievance the Director General or
    whether by action or inaction, constitutes                                      their delegate may, with the agreement of the
    sexual harassment or workplace harassment.                                      parties involved in the grievance, initiate a
Stage One - Informal Grievance Resolution                                           facilitated discussion between the parties in an
                                                                                    attempt to resolve the grievance. Unless the
Prior to lodging a formal grievance, a QTU member                                   parties to the grievance agree otherwise, the
must attempt informal resolution of the grievance                                   facilitated discussion must be completed within
at the school/workplace. In most cases this                                         seven calendar days of the commencement of the
would involve requesting a school principal or                                      grievance process. If the facilitated discussion
another member of the administration team to                                        resolves the grievance, the Director General or
attempt informal resolution of the grievance. A                                     their delegate should ensure that a written record
QTU member may consult with or be represented                                       of the outcome is prepared, signed by all parties
by a Union representative during this stage.                                        and retained in a confidential grievance file.
QTU officer assistance to all members involved in                                   Where a grievance involves alleged sexual
the grievance process will be consistent with QTU                                   harassment or workplace harassment, or where
policy.                                                                             the Director General or his/her delegate deems it
Stage Two - Formal Grievance                                                        inappropriate for the parties to meet face to face,
                                                                                    consideration should be given to allowing the
When a grievance cannot be resolved at a                                            parties to meet with a facilitator separately
school/workplace, a QTU member may lodge a                                          throughout the grievance resolution process.
written grievance with the Director-General. In
most cases the grievance should be lodged with                                      Where one or all of the parties indicate an
the Regional Executive Director.                                                    unwillingness to participate in the facilitated
                                                                                    discussions, the Director General, or their
At this stage, the grievance must be in writing and                                 delegate, may require one or all of the parties to
should specify:                                                                     attend the preliminary meeting independently with

              Authorised by John Battams, General Secretary, Qld Teachers' Union, P O Box 1750, Milton BC Qld 4064
                     Web: www.qtu.asn.au Email: qtu@qtu.asn.au Phone: 07 3512 9000 Fax: 07 3512 9050
Grievances and Fair Treatment Appeals – November 2009                                                            Page 2 of 3

the facilitator to obtain information about the                 reasons why a decision could not be made within
proposed process. The purpose of this meeting is                the required timeframe. At any time before a
to enable the parties to make an informed                       decision is made, a party to the grievance may
decision about whether or not to participate in a               request information about the progress of the
process. The Director General or their delegate                 grievance. The Director General or their delegate
may decide to take no further action in relation to             must provide the information within seven
a grievance if the aggrieved QTU member refuses                 calendar days from receiving the request, unless
to participate in the preliminary meeting and the               the request is unreasonable or where the
refusal is unreasonable in the circumstances.                   provision of such information would prejudice a
                                                                satisfactory resolution of the grievance.
What happens if facilitated discussions fail?
Where the Director General or their delegate                    Fair Treatment Appeal
decides that the facilitated discussions have                   A QTU member who has lodged a grievance may
failed to resolve a grievance or such discussions               lodge a Fair Treatment Appeal (using the PSC
are not required or not appropriate, the Director               Appeal form) with the Public Service Commission
General or their delegate should initiate                       Chief Executive if the Director General or their
alternative action as soon as practicable to                    delegate has not demonstrated that reasonable
resolve the grievance. Such alternative action                  attempts have been made to progress the
may include, but is not limited to:                             grievance within the 21 day timeframe. If a Fair
   relevant training;                                          Treatment Appeal is lodged in relation to this
                                                                issue the appeal will deal with only the delay in
   other conflict       resolution   or   negotiation          resolving the grievance and not deal with the
    strategies;                                                 substantive issues relevant to the grievance. A
   review of the reasons for administrative                    QTU member who has lodged a grievance may
    action or decision;                                         also lodge a Fair Treatment Appeal to the
                                                                Commission Chief Executive in relation to the
   investigation; or                                           Director General or their delegate’s decision
   other such reasonable             action   in   the         regarding the grievance. A QTU member in this
    circumstances.                                              situation must lodge an appeal with the
                                                                Commission Chief Executive within 21 calendar
The Director General or their delegate is to retain             days of receiving the Director General or their
a written record of the outcome of any alternative              delegate’s decision in relation to the grievance.
action undertaken.                                              QTU members should seek Union advice prior to
Timelines                                                       lodging a Fair Treatment Appeal.

There are no formal timelines attached to the first             The Commission Chief Executive or his/her
stage of the grievance process i.e. informal                    delegate will arrange a hearing for the appeal.
resolution at the school/workplace level.                       The QTU member will be able to speak on his/her
                                                                own behalf, or be represented by an agent, i.e. a
After a formal grievance has been lodged and                    friend, colleague or Union representative. Parties
where the facilitated discussions have failed to                involved in an appeal may not be represented by
resolve the grievance or such discussions were                  a lawyer.
deemed not to be appropriate, the Director
General or their delegate, must make a                          The Commission Chief Executive may attempt to
determination on the grievance within 21                        conciliate, but in the event that agreement cannot
calendar days of receiving the written grievance                be reached, the Commission Chief Executive will
and issue the parties to the grievance with a                   arbitrate on the matter.
written copy of the determination including the                 The Fair Treatment Appeal is a review of the
reasons for the determination. The 21 day                       agency’s decision not a fresh assessment of the
timeframe may be extended by agreement                          matter, hence additional information will not be
between the parties. A party to the grievance                   considered unless exceptional circumstances
should not unreasonably withhold agreement.                     apply.
Agreement of all the parties is not required for an             In order to keep proceedings as informal as
extension of the 21 day timeframe where the                     possible, the Commission Chief Executive will
Director General or their delegate can                          accept witness statements rather than hear oral
demonstrate that reasonable attempts have been                  testimony from witnesses.
made to progress the grievance. Where an
extension to the 21 day timeframe occurs, the                   The Commission Chief Executive can:
parties must be informed of the status of the                      confirm the agency’s decision;
grievance, the likely date of a decision and the

          Authorised by John Battams, General Secretary, Qld Teachers' Union, P O Box 1750, Milton BC Qld 4064
                 Web: www.qtu.asn.au Email: qtu@qtu.asn.au Phone: 07 3512 9000 Fax: 07 3512 9050
Grievances and Fair Treatment Appeals – November 2009                                                            Page 3 of 3

   set aside the agency’s decision and substitute              Stage Two
    another decision, i.e. allow the appeal; or
                                                                If the grievance remains unresolved the QTU
   set aside the agency’s decision and return the              member may refer the matter to the Regional
    issue to the decision maker with any directions             Executive Director of the relevant Regional Office.
    the Commission Chief Executive considers                    The QTU member may consult with or be
    appropriate.                                                represented by a Union representative during the
                                                                course of Stage Two.
Public Service Commission
                                                                Stage Three
Level 13
53 Albert Street                                                If the grievance is still unresolved the QTU
BRISBANE QLD 4002                                               member may refer the matter to the Director-
                                                                General. The QTU member may consult with or be
PO Box 15190                                                    represented by a Union representative during the
CITY EAST QLD 4002                                              course of Stage Three.

Telephone:        (07) 3224 6600
                                                                Timelines
Facsimile:        (07) 3224 6635                                Stage One
                                                                Discussion should take place between the
Judicial Review                                                 employee and such employee’s supervisor within
If a QTU member is still aggrieved following the                24 hours and the procedure shall not extend
decision of the Commission Chief Executive, the                 beyond seven days.
matter can go to the Supreme Court for Judicial                 Stage Two
Review. Legal assistance for such a course of
action may be provided by the Union, i.e. for cases             Not to exceed seven days
where there is a strong likelihood of success and               Stage Three
where a useful precedent is likely to be set.
                                                                Not to exceed 14 days.
Teachers’ Award State 2003 Grievance                            Where the grievance involves allegations of sexual
Process                                                         harassment, the QTU member may commence the
Stage One                                                       procedure at Stage Three.

The QTU member           should inform the                      If the grievance is not resolved the matter may be
Principal/supervisor of the existence of a                      referred to the Public Service Commission Chief
grievance. The QTU member may consult with a                    Executive (Fair Treatment Appeal) or to the
Union representative during the course of Stage                 Industrial Relations Commission.
One.




          Authorised by John Battams, General Secretary, Qld Teachers' Union, P O Box 1750, Milton BC Qld 4064
                 Web: www.qtu.asn.au Email: qtu@qtu.asn.au Phone: 07 3512 9000 Fax: 07 3512 9050

				
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