The City of Canning (the City) has a commitment to:
- Provide quality services to the City’s ratepayers;
- Prevent the diversion of an unreasonable portion of City’s resources away from its other functions;
- Protect City employee’s from unreasonable or abusive behaviour; and
- Maintain confidentiality and respect for the principles of natural justice.
The Chief Executive Officer has an overarching duty of care to provide a healthy and safe workplace in accordance with section 19 of the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984 (WA) and a moral obligation to protect staff from personal attacks and vilification.
The City will not tolerate unreasonable conduct against its staff, in particular abusive language; or defamatory comments to its staff; or threats to their personal safety; and may take legal action to protect its employees. The City may, at its discretion, report such behaviour to the Police.
The City endorses Ombudsman Western Australia: Managing Unreasonable Complainant Conduct: Practice Manual
and requires City employees to follow the principles and practices set out in the document.
Assessing Customer Conduct as Unreasonable
When a customer’s conduct clearly goes beyond the norm of situational stress, it may be classified as unreasonable conduct.
Managing Unreasonable Conduct
There is no ‘one for all’ strategy to assess customer conduct as being unreasonable. Each case will be assessed individually so that the case may be dealt with in a fair, effective and efficient way.
The following may be considered as part of the assessment:
- The specific nature of the conduct;
- The volume and frequency of contact with the City (including written correspondence, phone calls, and in person visits);
- The language used (whether there is any hostile, abusive or offensive language);
- The immediacy of any risks associated with the conduct;
- The negative impact of the conduct on the fairness of allocation and use of the City’s resources;
- Legislative obligations of the City;
- Any legal or official advice obtained externally; and
- Whether the process and strategy are reasonable and proportionate in the specific circumstances.
Unreasonable conduct may be managed by placing a reasonable and proportionate limitation on customer access, which may include one or more of the following:
- The subject matter of communications, such as where the City believes that a specific issue has been adequately addressed;
- The timing of communications, including time of day, and frequency and/or duration of contact with the City;
- Access to City property, such as restricting or prohibiting entry to City premises;
- The forms in which the customer may contact the City, such as contact may only be in writing, and all emails to be via the email@example.com email; and
- Any other limitation which is reasonable and appropriate and satisfies legislative requirements.