Policy University Management Resolution of Grievances Procedure

Resolution of Grievances Procedure

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This procedure provides a fair and transparent process for the resolution of grievances raised by staff regarding employment related matters that meet the requirements of the James Cook University (JCU) Enterprise Agreement.


This procedure applies to grievances raised by staff covered by the JCU Enterprise Agreement regarding employment related matters that are not able to be dealt with under the dispute resolution provisions of the JCU Enterprise Agreement, the National Employment Standards, or other University policies.

Staff wishing to raise grievances covered by the dispute resolution provisions of the JCU Enterprise Agreement, the National Employment Standards, or other University policies should seek advice from their Human Resources representative, or may seek advice from their union.


Except as otherwise specified in this procedure, the meaning of terms used in this procedure are as per the Human Resources Policy Glossary or the JCU Enterprise Agreement.


1. First Level: Facilitation




Where a Staff Member/s wishes to raise a grievance with the University under this procedure, the Staff Member will initially attempt to resolve the grievance informally themselves at the workplace level, by raising their concern with the other party or parties involved in the grievance, if they feel able to do so.


If a Staff Member does not feel able to raise concerns with the other party or parties involved in the grievance, the Staff Member should raise their concerns with their Supervisor. Where the grievance involves the Staff Member’s Supervisor, the Staff Member should instead raise their concerns with their Supervisor’s Supervisor.


Within 10 University working days, the parties should (if possible) arrange a discussion to attempt to informally resolve the grievance. Where the Staff Member or Supervisor requests assistance with informal resolution and/or documentation of an agreed resolution, Human Resources is available to facilitate discussions and to record any agreed outcome.


If the matter is informally resolved, the resolution reached between the parties should be recorded in writing and will be adhered to by the parties, and provided to Human Resources for filing.

2. Second Level: Assisted Resolution




If the grievance is not resolved at the first level, the Staff Member or, where requested, their Representative, may notify the Director, Human Resources, of the unresolved grievance. This notification must be in writing and no later than 20 University working days after the discussion and/or failure to resolve the grievance at step 1.3. The notification will include the following information:

  • The details of the grievance and any supporting documentation;
  • The attempts made to resolve the grievance informally;
  • Any response that was provided during or following the attempts at informal resolution;
  • Any solutions or remedies discussed; and
  • The preferred remedy to   resolve the grievance, and any alternative remedies that may be acceptable.


Within 20 University working days, Human Resources will attempt to resolve the grievance. This may include but is not limited to:

  • making further inquiries into the grievance;
  • conducting a facilitated discussion; and/or
  • making suggestions for   resolution.

3.      Third Level: Formal Resolution (Alternative Dispute Resolution)




Where the Director, Human Resources considers it appropriate given the circumstances and nature of the grievance, the Director Human Resources may direct the parties to participate in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). Confidential ADR of the grievance will be provided by a mediator/conciliator/facilitator who is independent of the grievance. The ADR will occur within 10 working days where reasonably practicable.

The Director Human Resources will ensure that appropriate arrangements and processes are put in place for the ADR.


Any agreed resolution of the grievance shall be recorded in an ADR outcome agreement and adhered to by the parties.


Where the parties have already participated in ADR in the Second Level of the procedure (Assisted Resolution), ADR will not be considered at this level and the Staff Member may refer the matter to the Fair Work Commission under the Fourth Level of the procedure.

4. Fourth Level: Referral to the Fair Work Commission




Where the grievance remains unresolved following completion of any formal ADR process under the third level, the staff member who made the grievance may refer the matter to the Fair Work Commission (FWC).


The decision made by the FWC will be binding on the parties involved in the grievance and will constitute a settlement of the matter.

5. Confidentiality

5.1 All parties to the grievance must ensure confidentiality is maintained throughout the entire grievance process.

5.2 All parties to the grievance will be informed of:

  • the nature of the grievance;
  • the steps taken or to be taken to resolve the grievance; and
  • the outcome of the process.

6. Vexatious, Frivolous or Improper Grievances

6.1 Whilst the majority of staff grievances are motivated by genuine concern about perceived or actual inappropriate or unfair behaviour or actions, on some occasions a grievance may be vexatious, frivolous or improper, meaning it has the intent to harass or annoy, to cause delay or detriment, or is for any other improper purpose.

6.2 Any grievance that is found to be vexatious, frivolous or made for an improper purpose may constitute grounds for disciplinary action.

Related policy instruments

James Cook University Enterprise Agreement

Bullying, Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct Policy

Discrimination, Bullying and Harassment Complaint Procedure for Staff and Affiliates




NOTE: Printed copies of this procedure are uncontrolled, and currency can only be assured at the time of printing.

Approval Details

Policy DomainUniversity Management
Policy Sub-domainHuman Resources
Policy Custodian

Deputy Vice Chancellor, Services and Resources

Approval Authority

Vice Chancellor

Date for next Major Review


Revision History


Approval date

Implementation date



23-103/11/202330/11/2023Major review - updated to reflect changes in the Enterprise Agreement. Procedure renamed – formerly titled Resolving Workplace Grievances and Complaints ProcedureManager, Industrial Relations and Policy




Next Review date extended to align with Enterprise Agreement negotiations

Deputy Director, Human Resources




Minor administrative amendments: references to Director HRM amended to Director Human Resources; references to 'nominee' replaced with 'authorised officer'; approval authority amended to DVC Services and Resources, and administration details amended in accordance with the Policy and Delegations Framework.




Procedure Established

Belinda Pope



Grievance, Complaint

Contact personManager, Industrial Relations and Policy