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Our aim is to ensure that relationships in the workplace are effectively managed and your workplace concerns and conflicts are resolved as early as possible in order to achieve a positive workplace culture.

You should make all reasonable attempts to resolve your workplace conflict or concerns informally, either directly with the person concerned or with the assistance of your supervisor. However, where this does not result in satisfactory resolution or your concern is of a serious nature, you may pursue the matter through a more formal complaint process.

Please note: if you feel you have been subjected to harassment, discrimination, bullying, or unfair treatment, please contact the Office of People and Capability immediately for guidance.

The University has a responsibility under Territory and Federal legislation to ensure that staff members are not subjected to behaviour that may constitute unlawful discrimination, harassment or victimisation. For more information on these types of complaints, access our specific information section.

What is a staff complaint?

A complaint is any type of problem, concern or grievance about your work or your work environment. Your complaint must relate to University matters, which includes work-related activities and functions. Common complaints include:

  • the conduct of another staff member or student (including interpersonal conflict) discrimination, harassment or bullying
  • workplace safety or environment issues
  • the application of University policies and procedures.

You can make a complaint against another staff member, including peers, subordinates or manager, students or another person you are dealing within the course of your work. If the person you want to complain about is not a staff member, the University may refer the matter to that person’s employer or another relevant body/agency.

Your responsibility

You are expected to participate in all processes honestly, openly and in good faith, and follow any reasonable recommendations for self-supported early resolution or local assisted resolution for any issue, concern or grievance. This includes providing requested documentation and all relevant information otherwise available, remaining open to suggested options for resolution and engaging respectfully with those concerned.

The complaint process is not to be used for revenge, retribution or mischief. If you make a complaint which is frivolous, vexatious or in bad faith, disciplinary action may be taken against you in accordance with the Charles Darwin University and Union Enterprise Agreement.

Examples of frivolous, vexatious and bad faith complaints include fabricating a complaint, making trivial or petty complaints, or seeking to re-agitate issues that have already been addressed or determined.

Avenues to resolution


If you have a workplace conflict or concern, you are encouraged to speak with your immediate supervisor in the first instance, and if you feel comfortable doing so, you should speak directly with the other person/people involved as soon as possible.  This can be an effective way to resolve your concern. Often others are unaware of the impact of their conduct.

A constructive conversation between you and your colleague should:

  • describe the specific behaviour or circumstances that are causing concern  
  • describe the effect the behaviour or circumstance is having on you or your work give your colleague the opportunity to ask questions and respond
  • state your desired outcome.

You may want to ask your supervisor, manager, or a member of your Client Services Unit from the Office of People and Capability to be present at the conversation. If you do not wish to speak with your supervisor about your issue or if your concern is about your supervisor, you are encouraged to speak with your Client Services Unit for advice on the conflict resolution process.

Informal concern

If you do not feel comfortable having a conversation directly with your colleague or if the conversation has been unsuccessful, you can consult with your supervisor or Client Services Unit for advice and a possible strategy to help resolve your issue or concern.

Your supervisor together with your Client Services Unit will be able to help you resolve your issue or concern locally or will assist with identifying other pathways which may be available to help resolve your matter.

Formal complaint

A formal complaint may be made if you are not able to resolve your issue by any other means, are concerned about how a process or procedure of the University has been applied or the concern is of a serious nature.

In order to make a formal complaint, please refer to your consultant within the Client Services Unit.

Please note: the University may still take action without a written complaint if it considers a staff member’s health, safety or wellbeing is in jeopardy or if the University considers that misconduct or serious misconduct may have occurred.

Office of People and Capability, Client Services Unit

The role of the Office of People and Capability, Client Services Unit is to listen to your complaint, provide advice and explain options for resolving your complaint. The Client Services Unit can't take action to address your complaint, however, with your permission they can refer the matter to the relevant person for action.

All communications with the Client Services Unit are confidential, however, if any potential criminal conduct is disclosed, they may be obliged to refer the matter to the police. Further, if they are concerned for a person’s health, safety or wellbeing, they external authority. The Client Services Unit may seek advice from internal experts prior to taking these steps.