Appealing a transfer decision

When can a teacher appeal?

A teacher can appeal a transfer at any time. However for administrative convenience the Department puts in place an annual appeal cycle and publishes set dates for appeals to be heard.

The 2013 transfer cycle will commence after the release of transfers on 19 September.

If at this time you have requested a transfer which has not been granted or you have received an unwanted or unrequested transfer you may wish to explore appeal options.

Grounds for appeal

To win an appeal against transfer you must establish reasonable grounds for refusing the transfer.  There is no limitation on what constitutes reasonable grounds.  You can nominate any grounds which you believe are reasonable.  However your chances of success are likely to be higher if you can demonstrate that the transfer is likely to cause you some significant detriment or “exceptional hardship” as per the department’s policy guidelines.

If you are appealing against non-transfer, the policy makes explicit that you must establish “exceptional hardship” grounds.

In the past exceptional hardship has been accepted in some quite limited circumstances, for example in situations where:

  • A teacher or a family member suffers from a serious medical condition, disability or other significant health issue which could not be managed in the current location and which can only be managed in the requested location.
  • A teacher or teacher’s partner would be denied access to children because the non-transfer would cut across custody and access arrangements. 
  • A teacher is in an environment that is hostile to his/her sexual preference or ethnic origins and must be transferred for health and safety reasons.

Please note that in 2013 the Newman State Government repealed the Public Service Commission’s (PSC) Appeals Directive thereby preventing teachers pursuing an appeal against non-transfer beyond the internal review process within the Department.

If you do want to appeal a transfer decision, your objection should be based on the information already submitted on your transfer application and should include documentation in support such as:

  • Medical specialist letters/reports regarding a medical condition
  • Legal documents regarding family law matters (such as joint access arrangements)
  • Evidence of the relationship i.e. statutory declaration with documentaton attesting to shared domicile i.e. lease/mortgage documents/billing notices in both names etc.
  • Statutory declarations from a spouse or partner or their employer if their employment is affected
  • Any other relevant documentation that supports the application.

Local Transfers

For teachers transferred within the 50 minute travel time set out in the transfer policy, there is generally no basis upon which to appeal given that transfer is a condition of service.

While domestic circumstances can be cited in appealing against non transfer these matters are deemed “pressing and personal” under the transfer policy and as such require the teacher to compete on points for a preferred placement.

Appeal Process

Lodge your appeal against transfer on the “Request for Review of Teacher Transfer” pro-forma accessible on One-Portal. According to the Department’s 2013 Teacher Transfer Review Timelines below, the regional “Transfer Review Panel” has 21 days in which to respond.  

If you are not successful at the first level of appeal against transfer you can escalate your appeal to the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission (QIRC).  A “Notice of Appeal” pro-forma can be found at: http://www.psc.qld.gov.au/library/document/catalogue/appeals/notice-appeal.pdf

Before lodging the Union advises members to read the “Practice Direction” for transfer appeals

Please note that this appeal to the QIRC cannot be used for non-transfer cases. 

If you want to lodge an appeal against non-transfer, you should use the Department’s appeal pro-forma attached to the Department’s Request for Review of Requested Non-Transfer Information Statement. Please contact the Union or the Department if you want a copy of the appeal pro forma and/or a copy of Request for Review of Requested Non-Transfer Information Statement.

A word of caution

All appeals to the Public Service Commission  are now heard in the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission “on the papers” other than where the Commissioner accedes to a request for a hearing.

In practical effect this means that there is little or no opportunity for you to put your case in a face-to-face hearing.  Consequently it is extremely important for all relevant information to be included in your submission in the first instance as new information will not be considered

Documentation Required

If you are relying on specialist medical evidence you will need to have this material submitted with your notice of appeal so it is important if you have a medical condition to keep these reports up to date.  If you do not have the required specialist medical evidence at the time of lodging you need to flag that you are in the process of obtaining it and if possible you should provide the specialist medical advice that you do have even if it is not up to date, while awaiting the updated reports. 

(NB – There is no guarantee that late medical evidence will be considered in the appeal process).

2013 Teacher Transfer Review Timelines

Review against transfer

  • Thursday, 19 September 2013   -  Teacher transfers released
  • Monday, 14 October 2013  -  Deadline for receipt of required transfer review to regional office.
  • Friday, 25 October 2013  -  Letter advising outcome of review against required transfer, will be mailed to appellant’s home address and emailed/faxed to school (through the principal)
  • On or before Friday, 15 November 2013 - Deadline for notice of appeal lodgement – 21 days

Review against non-transfer

  • Thursday 19 Sep 2013Teacher transfers released
  • Friday,18 October 2013Deadline for receipt of non-transfer (requested) review to regional office
  • Friday,1 November 2013Letter advising outcome of review against requested non-transfer, will be mailed to appellant’s home address and emailed/faxed to school (through the principal).

Jeff Backen
Industrial/Services Officer

page updated 13 September 2013