If you’ve received a complaint about discrimination or harassment you need to know that:
- the complaint can be dealt with through your organisation's internal complaint processes or lodged with an anti-discrimination agency – this decision rests with the person complaining;
- the person complaining can refer the matter to an anti-discrimination agency at any point during the complaint process;
- if an anti-discrimination agency handles the complaint, your club or state sporting organisation is responsible for managing the situation while the processes are underway – this means you need to protect everyone involved from victimisation;
- for serious complaints (e.g., sexual harassment) it may be necessary to move the person being complained about to another position or provide additional support until the outcome of an investigation is finalised. You should get advice before making this decision.
Similar processes are used for dealing with complaints about unlawful discrimination, harassment and other inappropriate behaviour or unfair decisions.
Each complaint is different and the action you take will depend on your clubs or state/national organisation's policies and the circumstances of the complaint, it is important you determine what the person complaining wants to do. You may start with one course of action but move to another process as more information about the complaint becomes available, for example what initially appears less serious may emerge as a more serious issue. Where possible you should try resolve complaints informally in the first instance.
As a rule of thumb less serious complaints (for example a coach who shows favouritism to their child in team selection) lend themselves to being resolved quickly and informally. Options include;
- Provide more information to the person complaining (e.g., to clarify club policies and procedures)
- Suggest the person complaining talks directly with the person being complained about
- Meet with the person being complained about
- Hold and informal meeting with those involved in the complaint.
Download the Informal Processes Information Sheet
Serious complaints, (for example if someone is not selected for a team because of their race or religion) may require more formal action. Options include;
- Management Committee or tribunal hearing & decision
- Escalation to your state sporting or recreation organisation (e.g., if the complaint requires formal investigation)
- Referral to an external agency (e.g., anti-discrimination agency)
Download the Formal Processes Information Sheet