Contact & Grievance Officer Training

Contact & Grievance Officer Training – Is your organisations doing all it can to take all reasonable and proportionate steps to address and eliminate sexual harassment, bullying and discrimination in the workplace.

AWPTI Contact & Grievance Officer training

AWPTI has developed a Locally based Contact Officer training course to ensure that your Contact Officers are able to fulfil the initial response responsibilities when someone makes a complaint or if there are issues in an organisation.

This three to four hour course (dependant on the level of interaction/ questions etc) that is part of our Live by Request series can be provided in person or via Zoom or MS Teams to your organisation at time to suit your requirements.  We have an organisational rate that allows unlimited participants at a flat rate – please contact us for more details 

It is recommended for initial Contact or Grievance Officers to assist them to take initial complaint details, identify and understand grievances, workplace misconduct or interpersonal conflict and manage workplace issues that may require escalation.

Contact & Grievance Officer training Content of the course

  • What is the workplace in 2023
  • The role of the Contact Officer
  • Grievance and Complaint Resolution Policy
  • Initial Complaint/incident response and handling
  • Types of Complaints
  • Misconduct or interpersonal conflict
  • What is interpersonal conflict
  • Overcoming interpersonal conflict
  • What is workplace misconduct
  • Workplace Polices and Misconduct
  • What is workplace bullying & Harassment
  • Swearing in the workplace
  • What is sexual harassment in the workplace
  • Components of sexual harassment & the continuum
  • Respect@Work report and changes to laws
  • What is Discrimination in the workplace
  • Conducting initial enquiries
  • Taking reports & Incident report & Incident Complaint/Incident response forms
  • Complaint ownership theory
  • Victim centered approach & Duty of Care
  • Advice – What can be done
  • Appendix 1 Busting the Myths & Legal responsibilities

Included in the course is:

  • A participant manual/workbook
  • Template Incident report & Incident Complaint/Incident response forms

This session consists of questions, discussion of real world case studies based on actual complaint investigations and dispute resolution interventions.

At the end of this course, participants should be able to:

  • Understand what is workplace interpersonal conflict & how it occurs
  • Understand what is bullying, harassment, discrimination and sexual harassment in the workplace
  • Understand and apply your responsibilities as a Contact Officer under the Anti-Discrimination Act, the Fair Work Act and the Work Health & Safety Act
  • Understand the strategies to allow you to effectively address workplace issues and deal with interpersonal conflict in a timely manner
  • Gain a practical insight into the types of complaints frequently occurring in the workplaces

A survey conducted by the Australian Human Rights Commission found while a high percentage of women had been sexually harassed in the workplace only a much smaller percentage actually reported incidents. We have all heard many stories or have experienced incidents where workplace bullying is not reported.

Does this mean that if  your organisation has not received many (or any) reports of sexual harassment bullying and discrimination it isn’t happening or is your reporting system failing? (I suspect that it may be the latter)

Why is it failing, it could be;
1 – No system in place
2 – Lack of trust in the system
3 – Victims not knowing how to report or who to report to
4 – Witnesses not stepping up due to point 1 – 3
5 – Lack of action by the people taking the reports, this could be due to lack of knowledge of what to do and how to do it

Reporting sexual harassment, bullying and discrimination as a victim or witness can be daunting if not terrifying and embarrassing.  Organisations must do all they can to make the process open and effective.

Issues for employers that can causes the process to fail.

1 – No system in place
2 – Small or understaffed HR departments (in many cases people turn to HR in there situations)
3 – HR professionals and managers not trained to take reports and take the required action
4 – Large or multi site organisations where HR may be not easily accessible at a particular site or region, State or even country.
5 – Victims or witnesses not actually knowing the person who they can make a report to thereby lacking trust

An answer – Contact & Grievance Officer Training

Create an effective and trusted reporting and response mechanism by putting in place locally based and suitably trained Contact Officers.  Just like Unions or employee associations who have onsite delegates, the local Contact Officer can be an effective first point of contact.

The Advantages

* The locally based Contact Officers are onsite and accessible, access can be immediate
* Employees are aware that the locally based Contact Officer are there and are available
* They are chosen because they are people who are known to be trusted

Contact & Grievance Officer Training

To make a system of locally based Contact Officers effective, the Contact Officers must be trained.  Training should include;

How to
1 – Recognise and understand sexual harassment, bullying and discrimination in the workplace
2 – Take an initial complaint and assess the best options for dealing with the complaint
3 – Conduct initial enquiries to ascertain if the complaint warrants further action including a disciplinary investigation
4 – Create and keep records pertaining to Contact Officers part in the process

It is not suggested that the Locally based Contact Officers are fully trained investigators, they are the initial point of contact.

Taking action to prevent and address sexual harassment in the workplace is good for business.  It can minimise legal, reputational and financial risk; improve productivity and worker well-being; it is also necessary to comply with legal obligations such as the employers duty of care.

Organisations, business and employers MUST take note that On 25 November 2022, the Anti-Discrimination and Human Rights Legislation Amendment (Respect at Work) Act 2022 was passed into Law. The Act to implements recommendations from the AHRC 2020 Respect@Work report. It will significantly strengthen Australia’s regulatory framework in respect of sex discrimination, and in particular, sexual harassment.

The new positive duty

The centrepiece of the Act is the introduction of a positive duty to prevent sex discrimination and sexual harassment.

The Act amends the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth) by introducing a new positive duty for all employers to take ‘reasonable and proportionate measures’ to eliminate, as far as possible, unlawful sex discrimination, including sexual harassment, sex-based harassment, hostile work environments and victimisation. This duty will coexist with existing duties under work health and safety laws, including the duty of employers to provide a safe working environment for workers, so far as reasonably practicable.

The Australian Human Rights Commission  concluded in the Respect@Work report that a positive duty shifts the burden from individuals making complaints to employers taking proactive and preventative action. As the positive duty is an ongoing duty, it shifts the emphasis from a complaints-based model to one where employers must continuously assess and evaluate whether they are meeting the requirements of the duty.

Under this new duty, it will be imperative that all employers and organisations adopt preventative measures to address sex discrimination and sexual harassment in the workplace, one of the most important preventative measures is training your employees to understand what sexual harassment is and that it is unlawful.

In anticipation of these changes, employers should move towards a preventative model, and prepare to operate as though they have a positive duty to ensure that their workplace is free of all forms of discrimination, harassment and victimisation. Employers should look to review their internal practices by:

  • Ensuring all staff including managers and human resources understand what constitutes discrimination, harassment and victimisation;
  • Developing and implementing updated policies and procedures that include a prevention plan;
  • Conducting training and education which communicate updated policies and procedures including awareness around the new inclusion of not subjecting someone to a hostile work environment
  • Conducting regular risk assessments to identify the likelihood of discrimination and harassment occurring and taking necessary steps to eliminate or control any risk factors;
  • Developing a complaints procedure that ensures complaints are dealt with promptly and efficiently; and
  • Frequently reviewing the workplace culture, policies and procedures and making proactive changes where required.

It was estimated that in 2018 sexual harassment alone cost the Australian economy approximately $3.8 billion, how much could sexual harassment bullying and discrimination cost your business?

AWPTI can also provide understating misconduct in the workplace training for all your employees to help them understand what is and what is not sexual harassment bullying and discrimination and what to do if they experience or witness incidents – Employee training

AWPTI can also provide a number of misconduct investigation training programs for HR professional, managers and business owners, click the links for more details;

Workplace Investigation Training (2 day course, Highly recommended) and most popular

Conducting Workplace Investigations (Basic- 1 day course options)

Conducting Workplace Investigations (extended 3 day course)

Sexual Harassment Investigation Training

Workplace Investigation interviewing

All of the programs are part of our Live by Request series can be provided via Zoom or MS Teams to your organisation at time to suit your requirements.  We have an organisational rate that allow unlimited participants at a flat rate – please contact us for more details

Training is available via Zoom or MS Teams worldwide.