Grievance/discipline issues

How do I file a Grievance?

Clause 35 Grievance Procedure provides a process and timeframe to require a Council to deal properly with an employee's grievance.

An employee is required - 35(iii)(a) - to advise of the grievance or dispute in writing and the remedy being sought. This is a good opportunity for the employee to propose a solution to the problem and depa members are encouraged to prepare a draft to be forwarded to our office for feedback before it is submitted.

There is an accelerating level of referral to more senior levels of the Council but, at the first step - 35(iii)(b) - a meeting is required "within two working days of notification".

This clause also allows the involvement of the union at any time at the employee's request and also the filing of a dispute with the Industrial Relations Commission at any time.


What rights do I have in any disciplinary procedure?

Clause 36 Disciplinary Procedures is a broad clause which includes any process which may result in discipline of an employee. This can mean reviews of performance as well as misbehaviour or misconduct.

The clause is divided into five sections and employees’ rights are found in clause 36A and provide the right to:

(i)         Have access to their personal files and may take notes and/or obtain copies of the contents of the file.

(ii)        Be entitled to sight, note and/or respond to any information placed on their personal file which may be regarded as adverse.

(iii)        Be entitled to make application to delete or amend any disciplinary or other record mentioned on their personal file which the employee believes is incorrect, out-of-date, incomplete or misleading.

(iv)       Be entitled to request the presence of a union representative and/or the involvement of their union at any stage.

(v)        Be entitled to make application for accrued leave for whole or part of any suspension during the investigation process.

Councils have rights under this clause but significantly at B(vi) are obliged to "properly conduct and speedily conclude investigations concerning possible unsatisfactory work performance or conduct."

This is a useful provision, much used in disputes, to stop councils dragging their feet or dawdling through an investigation where it is in everyone's interests to have the matter concluded sooner rather than later.

Keep in mind, if there is a disciplinary process and you are involved, it's better to let us know sooner rather than later. Nag, nag, nag.

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