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Discrimination Harassment and Bullying Policy

Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to ensure that Australian Institute of Workplace Learning Pty Ltd (AIWL) meets its responsibilities and obligations in employment and education under State and Federal anti-discrimination and equal opportunity laws; to provide information and clear guidelines for management, staff and students on expected standards of interpersonal interaction; and to provide mechanisms for dealing with breaches of standards, policies and laws.

It is desirable that concerns and complaints of bullying, discrimination or harassment within AIWL are resolved as early as possible, preferably by advice and conciliation undertaken by appropriately trained persons for that purpose. To this end AIWL has introduced procedures emphasising advice and conciliation for dealing with concerns and complaints.

 

Scope

Management, staff and students while on campus or engaged in any AIWL-related activity.

 

Definitions

Discrimination: Any practice that makes distinctions between individuals or groups so as to disadvantage some people and advantage others on the basis of an attribute (such as sex, race, religion), or on the basis of characteristics generally attributed to persons with that attribute (eg. being female, Aboriginal etc.).

Harassment: behaviour that causes concern or distress to the recipient, whether staff or student, and is believed by the recipient to be affecting work or progress. It may arise from an act, a decision, or an omission which is perceived by the person whom it affects as wrong, unjust, unfair or discriminatory. It may be a single incident or a series of incidents.

Bullying: One definition of workplace bullying is “the repeated less favourable treatment of a person by another or others in the workplace, which may be considered unreasonable and workplace practice. It includes behaviour that intimidates, offends, degrades or humiliates a worker.

Disciplinary action: is a process for dealing with behaviour that does not meet expected and communicated performance standards.

Principles of natural justice: Natural Justice is technical terminology for the rule against bias and the right to a fair hearing. This means that a person has the right to be heard and heard by a person who has no personal interest in the outcome.

Vicarious liability: The liability of a person for the wrongdoing of another. Under federal anti-discrimination law an employer, regardless of their size, may be legally responsible for discrimination and harassment which occurs in the workplace or in connection with a person’s employment unless it can be shown that ‘all reasonable steps’ have been taken to reduce this liability.

 

Policy

AIWL recognises its responsibilities and obligations in employment and education under State and Federal anti-discrimination and equal opportunity laws. As an educational institution and as an employer, AIWL is committed to providing an environment for effective work and study, free from unlawful and unacceptable discrimination and harassment.

Discrimination and harassment will not be tolerated under any circumstances and disciplinary action will be taken against any employee, contractor or student who beaches this policy.

All employees, contractors and students have the responsibility to behave in a respectful and equitable manner towards other staff, students, and members of the community.

The principles of natural justice apply at all stages of the complaint resolution process. Those involved in the complaint resolution process have a duty not to be affected by bias or conflict of interest and must act fairly and impartially. Each party must be given a fair opportunity to know the case against them and to be heard.

All staff and persons involved with the AIWL’s complaint procedures will be treated with respect and courtesy. Enquiries and complaints will be dealt with in a sensitive, equitable, fair and confidential manner. Matters will be dealt with expeditiously while ensuring that all parties are provided with sufficient time to prepare and/or respond.

Confidentiality will be maintained at all times.

Where appropriate, steps will be taken to ensure harmonious working relationships during and after conciliation and investigation. AIWL will endeavour to ensure that staff members and students using the complaint resolution procedures are not victimised.

 

What constitutes discrimination?

Discrimination occurs when someone, or a group of people, are treated less favourably than another person or group because of their race, colour, national or ethnic origin; sex, pregnancy or marital status; age; disability; religion; sexual preference; trade union activity; or some other characteristic specified under anti-discrimination or human rights legislation.

 

What constitutes harassment?

Harassment occurs when someone is made to feel intimidated, insulted or humiliated because of their race, colour, national or ethnic origin; sex; disability; sexual preference; or some other characteristic specified under anti-discrimination or human rights legislation. It can also happen if someone is working in a ‘hostile’ or intimidating – environment.

Harassment can include behaviour such as:

  • Telling insulting jokes about particular racial groups;
  • Sending explicit or sexually suggestive emails;
  • Displaying offensive or pornographic posters or screen savers;
  • Making derogatory comments or taunts about someone’s race or religion; or
  • Asking intrusive questions about someone’s personal life, including their sex life.

 

What is not harassment?

 Workplace discrimination or harassment must not be confused with legitimate comment and advice (including relevant negative comment or feedback) from supervisors, trainers and assessors on the work performance or skills and knowledge development of an individual or group.

 The process of providing feedback to staff during a formal performance appraisal, or counselling staff regarding their work performance, will not always be free of stress. Similarly, providing a student with feedback following an assessment also has the potential to be stressful. Supervisors, trainers and assessors should manage these processes with sensitivity, but they should not avoid their responsibility to provide full and frank feedback.

 

What constitutes bullying?

Bullies usually utilise power attributed to their status, skills or position in the workplace, and both men and women can be the targets and/or the perpetrators. Workplace bullying can occur between a worker and supervisor, or between trainers/assessors and students.

Bullying behaviour can range from very obvious verbal or physical assault to very subtle psychological abuse. This behaviour may include:

  • Physical or verbal abuse;
  • Yelling, screaming or offensive language;
  • Excluding or isolating employees;
  • Psychological harassment;
  • Intimidation;
  • Assigning meaningless tasks unrelated to the job;
  • Giving employees impossible jobs;
  • Deliberately changed work rosters to inconvenience particular employees; or
  • Undermining work performance by deliberately withholding information vital for effective work performance.

Hostile working environment

Employers also need to be aware of their responsibilities to ensure that the working environment or workplace culture is not sexually or racially ‘hostile’. Examples of a potentially hostile working environment are where pornographic materials are displayed and where crude conversations, innuendo or offensive jokes are part of the accepted culture.

A person has the right to complain about the effects of a sexually or racially hostile working environment, even if the conduct in question was not specifically targeted at them.

 

Responsibility

It is important to note that everybody is responsible for maintaining a workplace that is free from discrimination and harassment. The following outlines the responsibilities of the management and employees (including contractors) of AIWL.

Management has a responsibility to:

  • Ensure the Discrimination, Harassment and Bullying Policy and associated procedures are introduced to all new employees during their induction period;
  • Ensure the Discrimination, Harassment and Bullying Policy and associated procedures are made available to all employees and students and is actively communicated within AIWL;
  • Set expectations of supervisors, trainers and assessors to demonstrate appropriate conduct and to monitor the conduct of employees and students within the operations of AIWL;
  • Encourage and provide avenues for employees and students who feel they have been harassed or discriminated against to come forward and report their experience in a non-judgemental and confidential environment;
  • Monitor the AIWL operating environment to ensure it is free from material (posters, notice board items, electronic media) that is sexually related, is racist or is likely to offend;
  • Ensure training and assessment services are developed and delivered to students to encourage their participation in an inclusive environment that is free from discrimination harassment and bullying;
  • Facilitate training and awareness sessions that educates AIWL employees about anti-discrimination and harassment measures;
  • Ensure that selection criteria for supervisor, trainer and assessor positions includes the requirement that they have a demonstrated understanding of and ability to deal with discrimination, harassment and bullying issues as part of their overall responsibility;
  • Facilitate the display of posters on notice boards in common work areas and the distribution of relevant brochures to promote an environment that is free from discrimination, harassment and bullying;
  • Include accountability mechanisms in position descriptions for supervisors, trainers and assessors; and
  • Periodically review the policy to ensure it is operating effectively and contains up to date information;
  • Facilitate training and awareness sessions that educates AIWL employees about anti-discrimination harassment and bullying measures;
  • Ensure that selection criteria for supervisor, trainer and assessor positions includes the requirement that they have a demonstrated understanding of and ability to deal with discrimination, harassment and bullying issues as part of their overall responsibility;
  • Facilitate the display of posters on notice boards in common work areas and the distribution of relevant brochures to promote an environment that is free from discrimination, harassment and bullying;
  • Include accountability mechanisms in position descriptions for supervisors, trainers and assessors; and
  • Periodically review the policy to ensure it is operating effectively and contains up to date information.

 Employees (including contractors) have the responsibility to:

  •  Seek out and become familiar with the Discrimination, Harassment and Bullying Policy and associated procedures during their induction period;
  • Remain informed of changes to the Discrimination, Harassment and Bullying Policy and associated procedures that may occur from time to time;
  • Set the example of appropriate behaviour and conduct for other AIWL employees and monitor the conduct of employees and students within the operations of AIWL
  • Provide support to individuals that may confide in them about occurrences of discrimination, harassment or bullying in a non-judgemental and confidential manner;
  • Respect individual differences and encourage others to maintain an inclusive environment that is productive and supports learning;
  • Monitor the AIWL operating environment to ensure it is free from material (posters, notice board items, electronic media) that is sexually related, is racist or is likely to offend;
  • Participate in training and awareness sessions that educates employees about anti-discrimination, harassment and bullying measures; and
  • Respond immediately to claims of inappropriate behaviour and review own behaviour to identify opportunities for improvement.

 

 What can happen if you discriminate, harass or bully?

Incidents of discrimination, harassment or bullying that are identified will be handled by applying the principles of natural justice. Criminal or unlawful behaviour will be reported to police authorities immediately and will result in immediate dismissal.

Other behaviour which discriminates against or harasses another person will result in management actions which reflect the seriousness of the individual circumstances.

These may include one or a combination of the following:

  • Retraining (likely to occur in all circumstances);
  • Counselling;
  • Apology;
  • Conciliation / mediation;
  • Demotion;
  • Transfer;
  • Suspension with pay;
  • Suspension without pay;
  • Warning for dismissal with a probationary period;      or
  • Dismissal.

In the case of contractors who discriminate against harass or bully another person, this will result in a withdrawal of the service contract immediately.

Failure to comply with any of the policies and procedures herein may cause the CEO or management vicariously liable should a complaint be received.

 

Legislation

Under law both staff and students will be liable if their actions constitute harassment or bullying.

Discrimination harassment and bullying in covered under the following legislation:

  • Racial Discrimination Act 1975;
  • Sex Discrimination Act 1984;
  • Disability Discrimination Act 1992;
  • Age Discrimination Act 2004; or
  • Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Act 1986.

Relates to:

Part 3 - Essential standards for continuing registration

SNR 16: The NVR registered training organisation adheres to principles of access and equity and maximises outcome for its clients, as follows:

16.7     The NVR registered training organisation provides appropriate mechanisms and services for learners to have complaints and appeals addressed efficiently and effectively.

SNR 20:  Compliance with legislation

20.1      The NVR registered training organisation must comply with relevant Commonwealth, State or Territory legislation and regulatory requirements relevant to its operations and its scope of registration.

20.2      The NVR registered training organisation must ensure that its staff and clients are fully informed of legislative and regulatory requirements that affect their duties or participation in vocational education and training.

 

Where to get more information or help

The following agencies can provide additional information and support services to AIWL in maintaining a working environment which is free from discrimination, harassment and bullying:

 

Australian Human Rights Commission

General enquiries: (02) 9284 9600

Complaints Info line: 1300 656 419

General enquiries and publications: 1300 369 711

Website: www.humanrights.gov.au

 

ACT Human Rights Commission

Telephone: (02) 6205 2222

Website: http://www.hro.act.gov.au/

 

New South Wales Anti-Discrimination Board

Telephone: (02) 9268 5555

Toll free: 1800 670 812 (within NSW only)

Website: www.lawlink.nsw.gov.au/adb

 

Northern Territory Anti-Discrimination Commission

Telephone: (08) 8999 1444

Toll free: 1800 813 846

Website: www.adc.nt.gov.au

 

Queensland Anti-Discrimination Commission

Telephone: (07) 3247 0900

Toll free: 1300 130 670

Website: www.adcq.qld.gov.au

Email: adcq@justice.qld.gov.au

 

South Australia Equal Opportunity Commission

Telephone: (08) 8207 1977

Toll free: 1800 188 163

Website: www.eoc.sa.gov.au

Email: eoc@agd.sa.gov.au

 

Tasmania Anti-Discrimination Commission

Telephone: (03) 6165 7515

Toll free: 1300 305 062

Website: www.antidiscrimination.tas.gov.au

Email: Antidiscrimination@justice.tas.gov.au

 

Victoria Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission

Telephone: (03) 9281 7111

Toll free: 1800 134 142

Website: www.eoc.vic.gov.au

Email: eoc@vicnet.net.au

 

Western Australia Equal Opportunity Commission

Telephone: (08) 9216 3900

Toll free: 1800 198 149

Website: www.eoc.wa.gov.au

Email: eoc@eoc.wa.gov.au