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Disputes and Grievances

A dispute is a disagreement, or a difference of opinion or interpretation between Suitsme and an employee regarding the terms of application of an employment award or agreement.

A grievance is a work-related problem which an employee feels to be unfair, harsh, inequitable, discriminatory or a hindrance to their effective operation.

Disputes and grievances can be handled informally or formally. If it is being handled formally, this can be done internally or externally. Suitsme encourages disputes and grievances to be handled informally and internally wherever possible. Regardless of how a grievance or dispute is handled, Suitsme will respect the staff member’s privacy throughout the process.

Informal Resolution

  • Employees are encouraged to seek guidance from their manager, where appropriate, when looking to resolve a grievance. Options for resolving an issue informally may include:
    • Holding a private and informal discussion.
    • Seeking advice from Suitsme management.
  • It is recognised that this approach does not necessarily resolve every issue, and an employee has the right to lodge a dispute or a grievance and seek a formal resolution.

Formal Resolution – Internal Process

  • Employees must submit a formal grievance or dispute in writing to Suitsme management. If the issue relates to a Suitsme manager, then it should be submitted to a different Manager or a Director. It must:
    • Contain a concise statement of the facts;
    • Include copies of any relevant documents; and
    • Indicate the desired outcome.
  • The issue will be investigated by a manager. If the issue cannot be resolved through the investigation process, then the employee can appeal the decision and it will be reviewed by a different investigating manager.
  • The investigation, which may include relevant meetings and document collation, should be carried out within 14 days.
  • The response should be delivered to the employee in writing within 14 days of the investigation phase concluding. This will indicate whether or not the grievance is being upheld.
  • These timelines can be extended by the investigating manager as long as they inform all parties.
  • If the grievance or dispute is not upheld and the employee wishes to appeal the decision they must do so within 7 days. An appeal investigation manager will be appointed and this process restarts.
  • An appeal outcome cannot be appealed.

Formal resolution – External Process

  • If the issue cannot be resolved internally, the parties may refer to mediation by an independent mediator agreed by the parties.
  • If the parties do not agree to mediation, or mediation is unsuccessful, then:
    • A dispute will be formally referred to the Fair Work Commission (FWC)/The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) for arbitration.
    • A grievance cannot be formally referred to FWC for arbitration, and the aggrieved party will need to take action in the appropriate court or tribunal.
  • All parties should make every effort to ensure the dispute or grievance is handled without undue delay, in a conciliatory and effective manner.
  • At any stage, the parties may agree to revert to resolving the issue informally.