Lodging a complaint
- The simplest way to lodge a complaint is via our online form.
- By using our online complaint form, a copy of your complaint will be sent to you by email along with confirmation of receipt.
- We review complaints in the order they are received, and we will contact you about your complaint as we assess it.
What happens next?
Your complaint is handled in two key stages, assessment and conciliation.
When your complaint is received, it will be assessed to see whether it is covered by the Equal Opportunity Act 1984 (SA) (‘the Act’):
- If it is, and it appears you have been treated unfairly, we will accept your complaint and allocate it to a Conciliation Officer.
- If it is not covered under the Act, then the complaint will be declined, and you will receive a letter explaining why this is the case.
Please note when assessing your complaint:
- We may seek information from you or the other party prior to accepting the complaint.
- We may decline the complaint at this stage or at any time; even after deciding to accept the complaint.
- A decision to decline is typically made when the complaint is considered frivolous, vexatious, misconceived, or lacking in substance by the Commissioner.
- Complaints must be lodged within 12 months of the most recent event. Extensions can only be approved in very limited circumstances.
If your complaint is accepted, the conciliation process will begin. Conciliation can be conducted in various and flexible ways, depending on the nature of the matter.
For some matters, conciliation will occur via email, letter and/or telephone correspondence.
For other matters, the Commissioner may also deem it appropriate to call a face-to-face conciliation conference.
Your complaint is firstly referred to a Conciliation Officer who will:
- Notify the person or organisation you are complaining about, called 'the Respondent' and request a written response from them.
- Ask you, what you would like to happen to resolve your complaint and provide that information to the Respondent.
- In some cases, investigate and gather additional information and documents about the complaint.
- Work with the parties to see if an agreed resolution to your complaint can be reached.
Additionally, a conciliation conference may also be convened to assist in resolving your complaint if the Commissioner deems it appropriate.
Conciliation conferences are chaired by a Commissioner’s delegate and typically involve:
- Placing all parties in a room together with a conciliator;
- Presenting all the facts and perspectives in a coherent way;
- Ensuring each party is heard in an impartial and confidential manner;
- Promoting frank, honest, and open discussion around solutions / outcomes; and
- Working together to reach mutually agreeable outcomes and to draft those outcomes into a signed agreement.
Learn more about conciliation.
Referral to a tribunal
Your complaint may be referred to a tribunal if:
- The Commissioner attempts to conciliate the matter and the conciliation process is not successful;
- The Commissioner is of the view that the matter cannot be resolved via conciliation or it is not suited to conciliation;
- The Commissioner declines the matter, and a request is made for referral to the tribunal, or
- The Commissioner otherwise deems it appropriate that the matter is to be heard by the tribunal.
In most cases, matters will be referred to the South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal. However, they may also be referred to the South Australian Employment Tribunal if the Commissioner deems this tribunal more appropriate.
Referrals to other agencies
South Australian public sector employees have a responsibility to report certain conduct in public administration. This includes corruption, misconduct and maladministration.
If we think a complaint includes corruption, we must report it to the Office for Public Integrity (OPI). This is because we have obligations under the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption Act 2012.
The ICAC Act prevents us from disclosing any information about this to any person (including a complainant) without the permission of the ICAC. Where appropriate, we will ask the ICAC’s permission to release this information to the complainant or other relevant parties.
We may also report misconduct and maladministration to either the OPI or the Ombudsman.