WORKPLACE CONFLICT RESOLUTION AND GRIEVANCE HANDLING POLICY

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1 WORKPLACE CONFLICT RESOLUTION AND GRIEVANCE HANDLING POLICY TABLE OF CONTENTS S/No Page No. 1.0 Introduction Objectives of the policy Definitions Scope Application Responsibilities of managers/supervisor Responsibilities of employees Responsibility of HR department Rights and responsibilities of the complainant Rights and responsibilities of the respondent Third party complaints and anonymous allegations Procedure of conflict handling Mediation Investigations Substantiated complaint Unsubstantiated complaint Documentation False and malicious complaint Retaliation and reprisals Grievance handling procedure Outcomes of the grievance resolution process Appeal Supervisor/manager responsibility Rights of an aggrieved party Responsibilities of aggrieved staff 11 Conflict Resolution & Grievance Policy Page 1 of 11 Draft 0

2 1.0 INTRODUCTION The Authority is committed to providing a harmonious work environment where all individuals are treated with fairness, dignity and respect. In addition, the Authority is devoted to providing a work environment where there is respect amongst staff, and to the provision of a conflict resolution / grievance handling system that offers effective solutions to workplace conflicts/grievances. 2.0 OBJECTIVE 2.1 This policy aims to maintain effective working relations by ensuring that grievances/conflicts are handled quickly, with minimum distress and maximum protection to all parties, thereby preventing the escalation of minor problems. 2.2 To establish the principles by which work related grievances/conflicts will be handled. 2.3 To ensure employees problems or complaints are considered rapidly and fairly to enhance work relations. 2.4 To resolve workplace issues efficiently and effectively. 3.0 DEFINITIONS 3.1 Grievance A work- related grievance is any discontent or dissatisfaction whether expressed or not and whether valid or not, arising out of anything connected with work which an employee thinks, believes or even feels is unfair or unjust. It is an alleged violation of the rights of a worker It is a concern or complaint where an employee believes he/she has received unreasonable treatment from the Authority, other Conflict Resolution & Grievance Policy Page 2 of 11 Draft 0

3 staff, and wishes to bring the grievance to the attention of the Authority and requires an action or response. It may arise from the following; Terms of employment Pay and working conditions Discrimination Denial of statutory employment rights 3.2 Conflict A work place conflict is a divergence of expectations, opinions, goals and or values at the work place resulting in friction between two or more parties and which may interfere with their morale, performance or even health. Conflict itself is not a problem, the problem arises when the conflict is ignored or is not addressed effectively. Causes of workplace conflict include: Lack of Communication Disagreements with co-workers Leadership /management styles Poor interpersonal skills by managers and between managers Lack of effective problem solving Roles and responsibilities not understood Performance issues Lack of employee commitment etc. Conflict Resolution & Grievance Policy Page 3 of 11 Draft 0

4 4.0 SCOPE 4.1 The policy covers work related grievances/conflicts 4.2 The policy applies to all employees of the Authority 5.0 APPLICATION The SDC-HR shall be responsible for the interpretation and implementation of the policy 6.0 RESPONSIBILITIES OF MANAGERS/ SUPERVISORS 6.1 This policy reinforces the responsibility of managers and supervisors to foster a work environment in which employees under their supervision conduct themselves appropriately. The policy does not however remove the responsibility of managers and supervisors to address inappropriate conduct in the workplace, regardless of whether a complaint has been made. 6.2 Managers and supervisors to whom complaints have been made will advise the Complainant of the procedure for making complaints. 7.0 RESPONSIBILITIES OF EMPLOYEES Employees have a responsibility to comply with this policy by avoiding conduct that is offensive. 8.0 RESPONSIBILITIES OF HUMAN RESOURCES DEPARTMENT 8.1 Make the policy accessible and promote a harmonious work environment 8.2 Communicate / sensitize staff on the policy 8.3 Ensure timely resolution of complaints 8.4 Conduct investigations where necessary 8.5 Mediation Conflict Resolution & Grievance Policy Page 4 of 11 Draft 0

5 8.6 If necessary determine the appropriate remedial action and ensure implementation of a course of action 9.0 RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE COMPLAINANT 9.1 Rights The Complainant has the right to make a complaint with his/her supervisor, The complainant has a right to have his or her complaint treated seriously and to be informed of the findings The right to a fair treatment The right to provide witnesses to the incident(s) 9.2 Responsibilities To make his/her disapproval or unease known to the other party within a reasonable time To make a complaint To co-operate with those investigating the complaint To make a factual and honest complaint 10.0 RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE RESPONDENT 10.1 Rights The right to be fully informed of the complaint, have a copy of the complaint, and to be given an opportunity to respond to the complaint The right to fair treatment To provide witnesses to the incident(s) 10.2 Responsibilities Must not impede the efforts of the investigators Conflict Resolution & Grievance Policy Page 5 of 11 Draft 0

6 11.0 THIRD PARTY COMPLAINTS AND ANONYMOUS ALLEGATIONS External complaints which have a direct and personal impact in the workplace will be investigated. However, only those complaints in which the complainant s identity is disclosed may be investigated PROCEDURE OF CONFLICT HANDLING 12.1 Discussion between the complainant and the respondent Whenever possible, employees should attempt to discuss offensive behaviours with the other party when they occur, with the aim of finding a mutually agreeable solution before the situation becomes unworkable Employees are expected to discuss behaviour they find offensive with the other party if it is reasonable in the circumstances to do so In circumstances where discussions between individual employees are unsuccessful, the complainant may make a formal complaint in writing to his or her supervisor/manager or SDC-HR 12.2 Taking the complaint The person who receives the complaint may meet with the complainant and the complainant s representative and ensure that the problem is well understood During initial meetings Discuss areas of the complaint that are unclear or require elaboration Discuss possible resolutions available to the complainant Seek supporting evidence in relation to the complaint Conflict Resolution & Grievance Policy Page 6 of 11 Draft 0

7 which may include people who may have witnessed the event(s) Explain the process that shall be followed Discuss confidentiality The person handling the conflict should conduct an initial review of the matter with the complainant and the respondent 12.3 The complaint may not be pursued if: There is insufficient evidence or information An extensive or unreasonable delay (i.e. more than six months) has occurred The complaint is made anonymously A reasonable alternative remedy is available The allegations are not within the jurisdiction of the policy (not work related) MEDIATION 13.1 Where both parties concur, a mediated solution to the dispute shall be initiated 13.2 Mediators shall be the complainants supervisor/manager or SDC- HR 13.3 Mediation may be attempted at any point in the process of dealing with the conflict where appropriate and there is a reasonable chance of solving the conflict. Conflict Resolution & Grievance Policy Page 7 of 11 Draft 0

8 14.0 INVESTIGATIONS 14.1 Where it is not possible to resolve the complaint through discussion or mediation, investigations shall be conducted Those directly involved in supervision of either party shall not conduct such investigations The facts and summary of evidence gathered through investigations shall be submitted to SDC-HR 14.4 The investigations report shall not contain recommendations 14.5 The report and other relevant considerations shall form the basis for a decision The SDC-HR shall separately advise the complainant and the respondent of the decision reached SUBSTANTIATED COMPLAINT 15.1 Where after investigations a complaint is substantiated and a mediation solution is not possible, appropriate action shall be taken 15.2 Where an apology is made and accepted, the apology may be deemed as appropriate resolution 15.3 Once a resolution of the complaint is reached, the conflict shall be deemed resolved UNSUBSTANTIATED COMPLAINT If a complaint is not substantiated, the findings shall be explained separately to both parties DOCUMENTATION 17.1 Reports on the complaint should be maintained in the complainants and respondents confidential personnel files. Conflict Resolution & Grievance Policy Page 8 of 11 Draft 0

9 17.2 An investigations may be re-opened only where: New and relevant information is provided to the investigators or management which was not reasonably available during the initial investigations, or A reprisal is alleged to have occurred FALSE / MALICIOUS COMPLAINTS 18.1 All employees shall be aware that a complaint against another employee is a serious allegation with far-reaching repercussions Where a complaint is fabricated or malicious, or where false information is provided to support a complaint or a witness, the complainant or witness may be subject to disciplinary action RETALIATION AND REPRISAL 19.1 All employees who may have filed a complaint or been a witness and or investigated the complaint shall be free from retaliation or reprisal or threats Employees engaging in retaliation or reprisal shall be subject to disciplinary action GRIEVANCE HANDLING PROCEDURE 20.1 The grievance handling procedure is as provided in the Authority s Code of Conduct Resolution of grievances is encouraged at the point as close as possible to the source of the problem and at the lowest level of management Where a grievance is not resolved at the initial level or involves the immediate supervisor, it shall be raised with the SDC-HR in writing to facilitate a solution. Conflict Resolution & Grievance Policy Page 9 of 11 Draft 0

10 20.4 Where a grievance is of a serious nature or involves allegedly unlawful behaviour, it should be referred to SDC-HR for action Where an employee withdraws a grievance, no further action should be taken in relation to the grievance unless the grievance is related to possible physical danger, is criminal, may require disciplinary action or relates to employer liability OUTCOMES OF THE GRIEVANCE RESOLUTION PROCESS Staff shall be notified of the outcome of their grievance in writing. The outcome shall be dependent on the seriousness of the incident that formed the basis of the grievance APPEAL Staff unsatisfied with the outcome of a grievance may pursue the grievance further to the next level of management up to the Commissioner General level SUPERVISORS / MANAGERS RESPONSIBILITY 23.1 Appropriate and prompt response to grievances 23.2 Referring grievances which may result in disciplinary action to SDC-HR 24.0 RIGHTS OF AN AGGRIEVED PARTY 24.1 Employees have a right to raise their grievances with their immediate supervisor or a higher level manager including SDC-HR if they feel that their grievance has not been resolved satisfactorily Right to have their grievances addressed and be informed of the outcome. Conflict Resolution & Grievance Policy Page 10 of 11 Draft 0

11 25.0 STAFF RAISING A GRIEVANCE ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR: 25.1 Participating in the grievance resolution process 25.2 Co-operating in the investigative process 25.3 Raising grievances that are supported by facts 25.4 Following the laid down grievance procedure in raising a grievance Conflict Resolution & Grievance Policy Page 11 of 11 Draft 0

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