Developing an effective procedure

An effective complaint procedure helps organisations deal with complaints quickly, fairly and consistently and is an important part of an equal opportunity policy.

Employers may decide to:

  • develop a specific procedure to resolve complaints of discrimination and sexual harassment, or
  • adapt existing procedures that deal with other types of work-related grievances.

A complaint handling procedure should be based on the principles of natural justice. This means that the:

  • process is fair, timely and confidential 
  • outcomes are justified according to the facts.

Contact officers

Equal opportunity contact officers can be appointed by an employer to support employees who have questions, concerns or complaints of discrimination, bullying, sexual harassment and victimisation. Both large and small organisations can benefit from having contact officers.

A contact officer makes sure that employees have access to accurate and impartial information about options to resolve their complaint, both internal and external to the organisation. 

Checklist for a complaint handling procedure

An effective complaints handling procedure will:

  • use language that is easy to understand 
  • describe the types of issues and complaints to which the procedure applies 
  • outline the options available for employees to resolve complaints, including internal and external complaint procedures 
  • explain how formal complaints will be handled by the organisation and give examples of possible outcomes 
  • include assurances around confidentiality and record keeping 
  • provide an option to review a decision or recommendation 
  • state that no employee will be victimised or disadvantaged for making a complaint 
  • be regularly reviewed for effectiveness.

Need help?

If you need further assistance, contact the Commission for advice. Employer organisations or industry associations may also be able to provide support.

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