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Unreasonable customer conduct when making a complaint

The Department for Education (the department) is committed to being accessible and responsive to individuals who wish to raise a complaint or provide feedback about our service delivery.

When an individual behaves unreasonably in their dealings with staff, it can compromise their ability to respond to a complaint.

The department will act to manage any conduct that negatively and unreasonably affects the ability of staff to perform their role in a safe environment. This includes all staff in schools, preschools, the Customer Feedback Unit (CFU) and the broader education department.

What is unreasonable conduct?

Unreasonable behaviour can be separated into 5 categories of conduct:

  1. Unreasonable persistence
    • an unwillingness or inability to accept reasonable and logical explanations including final decisions
    • bombarding staff with phone calls, visits, letters, and emails after being asked not to do so.
  2. Unreasonable demands
    • issuing instructions or making demands to staff on how the complaint should be managed, its priority or the outcome that should be achieved
    • demanding services that can't be provided, when this has already been explained. For example revenge or punishment.
  3. Unreasonable lack of cooperation
    • sending a constant stream of disorganised information without clearly defining the issues
    • providing little or no detail with a complaint
    • arguing frequently and with intensity that a particular solution is the correct one.
  4. Unreasonable arguments
    • failing to follow a logical sequence
    • not supported by any evidence or based on conspiracy theories
    • false, malicious or inflammatory comments.
  5. Unreasonable behaviours
    • swearing, yelling or derogatory, racist, sexist or defamatory remarks
    • harassment, intimidation, threats or violence
    • rude, confronting and threatening correspondence
    • emotional manipulation and stalking (online or in person).

Outcome of unreasonable conduct

Depending on the severity of the behaviour, unreasonable conduct can:

  • change or limit your access to staff, students, school or preschool sites and department offices
  • result in the issue of a warning or a prohibition on a school or preschool site
  • result in police involvement.

Help for making a complaint

Here are some tips on how to make a complaint.

If you need support to lodge a complaint, refer to accessibility and support to make a complaint or contact the Customer Feedback Unit on 1800 677 435.