Complaints in the Workplace
The SA Work Health and Safety Act (2012), requires an employer to provide a safe workplace and to take care of their staff's physical and psychological well-being. If a member of staff makes a complaint against the employer, it is still the responsibility of the employer to address the issue in the first instance.
Complaints against employers are often because staff feel unfairly treated, although it may not be treatment that is unlawful. Some common issues include:
- the manner in which they have been spoken to by a colleague or supervisor;
- the way their performance has been managed;
- the way investigations have been done in the workplace.
Legitimate comment on staff performance or work-related behaviour is not unfair treatment. Employers can give full and frank feedback, including criticism, provided it is given with sensitivity. Often it is not what is said, but how it is said that can offend people.
An employer needs to be able to address staff complaints adequately and sensitively.
Complaints should be dealt with in a confidential matter.
Employees should not be treated unfavourably because they have lodged a complaint (victimisation).