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Talking to staff making complaints

If a staff member complains of discrimination or harassment, meet with them as soon as possible. Talking to them straight away can stop the problem from getting worse.

When you talk to them:

  • be aware they may be feeling anger, fear, distress, discomfort, frustration, powerlessness
  • reassure them they have done the right thing in seeking help
  • listen, take them seriously, be sensitive
  • make no judgements
  • state your policy and procedures
  • let them know they have a right to complain and they won't be victimised
  • find out if they've tried to resolve the problem themselves and what happened
  • ask them how they want the situation handled
  • discuss options and outcomes
  • advise them of the need for confidentiality
  • make them aware that malicious or vexatious complaints could lead to disciplinary action
  • suggest they make their own notes of behaviours they think are discrimination or harassment
  • tell them they will be kept informed about their complaint.

Ask them what outcome they would like, for example:

  • the behaviour to stop
  • an apology
  • to be moved away from the person
  • the person to be punished in some way
  • a guarantee that the behaviour will not be tolerated or happen again
  • to meet with the person they are complaining about to resolve the problem.

Let them know that they can seek independant advice.

For more information on how to talk to your staff, see communication skills.

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