73. Managing misconduct, serious misconduct and suspension

73.1. Misconduct means conduct which is not serious misconduct but which is nonetheless wilful conduct which is unsatisfactory, which a breach of the Code of Conduct or failure to follow reasonable direction.

73.2. Serious misconduct means: 

    1. recurrence or continuation of conduct by the same staff member which has been previously found to be misconduct; or
    2. serious misbehaviour, which may be a single occurrence, that is:
    1. a serious impediment to the carrying out of a staff member’s duties, or to other staff carrying out their duties;
    2. a serious risk to the safety of staff, students or visitors to the University;
    3. a serious risk to the University’s property;
    4. a serious dereliction of the staff member’s duties; or
    5. a conviction by a court of an offence which is inconsistent with the continuation of the staff member’s employment.

    Behaviour that constitutes serious misconduct can take many forms but could include serious and/or persistent harassment or bullying, or a criminal offence such as theft, fraud or assault.

    73.3. Disciplinary action means:

      1. formal counselling by an appropriate supervisor;
      2. a written warning (including, where appropriate, a final warning);
      3. withholding an increment;
      4. demotion from an increment point within a classification;
      5. demotion; or
      6. termination of a staff member’s employment (in the case of un-remediated unsatisfactory performance or serious misconduct).


      73.4. Suspension with pay:  The University may suspend a staff member with pay at any time during a process for managing misconduct or serious misconduct.

      73.5Suspension without pay: The University may suspend without pay a staff member who is the subject of serious misconduct if the alleged misconduct is an imminent and/or serious risk to the health or safety of any person or a serious risk to the University.

      73.6. A staff member who is suspended without pay may use their accrued annual leave or long service leave entitlements.

      73.7. Salary withheld and other entitlements used during a period of suspension will be reimbursed if it is ultimately determined that the allegation is dismissed.

      73.8. A staff member who is suspended must not attend the grounds of the University without prior approval from the Chief People Officer. The Chief People Officer may, on application by the staff member, permit the staff member to attend or have access to specific University property or systems for specified purposes.

        Disciplinary procedures

        73.9. Notwithstanding with clause 58.4 of the Agreement, a staff member may seek assistance from, or be represented by a union or staff representative and may seek procedural advice from Human Resources staff at any time during the processes set out below.

        73.10. All decisions to discipline a staff member or terminate their employment must be in accordance with this Agreement and before any decision is made to discipline a staff member the University must ensure that the steps in the clauses below have been complied with.

        73.11. Procedural fairness will apply to all disciplinary and grievance resolution processes.


          73.12. Where a staff member’s supervisor is concerned about the staff member’s conduct, the supervisor will meet with the staff member as soon as is reasonably practicable to discuss these concerns and establish a reasonable review period. This will, where necessary, include:

            1. the specific deficiencies in the staff member’s conduct;
            2. appropriate development assistance required to address the issue/s;
            3. the specific corrective action required;
            4. the conduct standards required; and
            5. a reasonable timeframe in which to address the issue/s.

            73.13. Where the staff member has addressed the conduct concerns within the identified timeframe, the informal action will cease.

            73.14. Following the completion of a reasonable review period as outlined in clause 73.12, if there is little or no improvement in the staff member’s conduct, the supervisor will meet with the staff member to identify the deficiencies in the required conduct standards. The supervisor and the staff member will develop an agreed conduct improvement plan. The plan will specify in writing the specific improvements required, the improvement period, and, if necessary, the additional guidance, assistance and training which would reasonably enable the staff member to achieve the appropriate conduct standards.

            73.15. At the end of the period outlined within the conduct improvement plan, the supervisor will notify the staff member in writing that either:

              1. the issues are resolved, and that no further action is required; 
              2. a further improvement period is required, specifying the new period and the reasons for this decision; or
              3. that the staff member’s conduct constitutes misconduct and that proportionate disciplinary action is warranted, in which case the supervisor must make a report to the Chief People Officer which will include the details of the unsatisfactory conduct, the record of attempts to remedy the problem, and any mitigating or explanatory factors of which they are aware.

              73.16. The University will provide the staff member with a copy of the supervisor’s report to the Chief People Officer. The staff member will be afforded a reasonable opportunity of no less than five working days, to submit a written response to the Chief People Officer.

              73.17. After considering the staff member’s response, the Chief People Officer will then decide to:

                1. take no further action;
                2. if the Chief People Officer considers that any part of the conduct improvement process was procedurally unsound, refer the matter back to the supervisor with a written direction to revisit any of the steps or processes involved; or
                3. take proportionate disciplinary action, in which case the Chief People Officer will provide the staff member with written reasons for the decision which will set out what material was considered; what acts, omissions or failings by the staff member constitute the misconduct, and any relevant conclusions upon which the findings are based.

                73.18. Where a decision is made to take any of the disciplinary actions outlined in clause 73.3 (b) to 73.3 (f), the staff member may seek a review of this decision in accordance with clause 75.

                  Serious misconduct

                  73.19. Where there are reasonable grounds for any allegation(s) of serious misconduct against a staff member, the staff member’s supervisor will provide a written report to the delegate of the area in which the staff member works. The delegate will firstly satisfy themselves that there are sufficient grounds for considering that serious misconduct may have occurred. If so satisfied the delegate will forward a report to the Chief People Officer.

                  73.20. Where the Chief People Officer is not satisfied that the conduct alleged is sufficient to meet the test for serious misconduct, but is satisfied that the conduct alleged may be more appropriately dealt with as misconduct, the Chief People Officer will refer the matter back to the supervisor for action in accordance with the misconduct provisions from 73.12.

                  73.21. Where the Chief People Officer is satisfied that serious misconduct may have occurred, the Chief People Officer will inform the staff member of the allegations of serious misconduct in writing. The staff member will have five working days from the receipt of the allegations to submit a written response.

                  73.22. The Chief People Officer may appoint an Investigation Officer to investigate the allegations at any point following the report of the allegations.

                  73.23. After considering the staff member’s response and any other relevant report or material, the Chief People Officer will:

                    1. decide that there is no case to answer and inform the staff member, their supervisor and the delegate in writing that the matter is closed and there will be no further action; or
                    2. decide that there is a case of unsatisfactory performance requiring a formal performance review process to commence under clause 72;
                    3. decide that there is a case of misconduct requiring a formal misconduct review process to commence under clause 73.12; or
                    4. decide that there is a case of serious misconduct and proportionately take any of the disciplinary actions listed under clause 73.3.

                    Termination of employment

                    73.24. If a decision is made to terminate the staff member’s employment the staff member will be suspended without pay for five working days, in which time the staff member may lodge an application to have this decision reviewed in accordance with clause 75 (Review of decision). 

                    73.25. If the staff member does not apply for a review of this decision, the employment will cease at close of business on the fifth working day.

                    73.26. If the staff member lodges an application to review this decision, the staff member will remain suspended without pay until the review process is finalised.


                      Page owner: Human Resources