Workplace Harassment and Bullying Policy

Overview

St John Ambulance Australia (ACT) Inc. (“Company”) seeks to provide a work environment that is safe for workers to work in.
Workplace harassment, bullying or occupational violence decreases productivity, increases absenteeism, and is also against the law. For these reasons, harassment, bullying and occupational violence will not be tolerated by the Company.

The Company recognises that workplace harassment and bullying may involve comments and behaviours that offend some people and not others. The Company accepts that individuals may react differently to comments and behaviour. That is why a minimum standard of behaviour is required of workers. This standard is, as far as is possible, respectful of all workers.

The Company recognises that workplace harassment and bullying can take place though a number of different methods of communication including face to face, email, text messaging and social media platforms. As such, all methods of communication through which workplace harassment and bullying can take place will fall within the scope of this policy.

This policy applies to behaviours that occur:

  • in connection with work, even if it occurs outside normal working hours;
  • during work activities, for example, when dealing with clients;
  • at work related events, for example, at Christmas parties; and
  • on social media platforms where workers interact.

WHAT IS WORKPLACE HARASSMENT?

Generally, workplace harassment is considered to be any form of behaviour that is:

  • unwanted;
  • offends, humiliates or intimidates; or
  • creates a hostile environment.

There are a number of grounds on which it is unlawful to harass a person including on the basis of sex, pregnancy, age, race, disability and marital status. One specific category of harassment is sexual harassment, which is generally considered to be:

  • unwanted sexual advances, or unwelcome requests for sexual favours; or
  • other unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature; and
  • in circumstances where a reasonable person would have expected that the person would be offended, humiliated or intimidated by the behaviour.

Examples of unlawful harassment include:

  • suggestive comments about a person’s body or appearance;
  • leering or staring at a person or parts of their body;
  • initiation ceremonies that involve unwelcome behaviour;
  • tales of sexual performance;
  • persistent, unwelcome proposals of marriage;
  • gender based insults or taunting;
  • sexist or racist jokes;
  • making jokes at the expense of a person with a disability;
  • verbal abuse or derogatory comments based on race; and
  • abuse based on a person’s age.

This is not an exhaustive list.

Workplace harassment usually consists of a pattern of unwelcome behaviour. However, it can also consist of a sole act of a serious harassing nature. In some instances, the harassment might take place outside the workplace: for example, at a work-related social function, or when a worker makes unwelcome phone calls to another worker at their home or follows them home from work.

If you go to another workplace to do your work there, it is also against the law and a breach of this policy to harass someone who is working there.

WHAT IS WORKPLACE BULLYING?

Workplace bullying occurs when an individual, or a group of individuals, repeatedly behaves unreasonably towards a worker, or a group of workers, at work and the behaviour creates a risk to health and safety.
Examples of workplace bullying include:

  • verbal abuse;
  • excluding or isolating workers;
  • psychological harassment;
  • assigning meaningless tasks unrelated to the job;
  • giving workers impossible assignments;
  • deliberately changing work rosters to inconvenience particular workers;
  • deliberately withholding information that is vital for effective work performance; and
  • backbiting.

Reasonable management action does not constitute bullying. Examples of reasonable management action include:

  • setting reasonable performance goals;
  • allocating working hours where the requirements are reasonable;
  • transferring a worker for operational reasons;
  • deciding not to promote a worker in circumstances where a reasonable
  • process is followed and documented;
  • discussing a worker’s unsatisfactory performance with the worker;
  • discussing a worker’s inappropriate behaviour in an objective and confidential manner;
  • implementing organisational change or restructuring; or
  • termination of employment or engagement of a worker.

WHAT IS OCCUPATIONAL VIOLENCE?

Occupational violence is considered to be any incident where a person is physically attacked or threatened in the workplace, whether by a co-worker, subcontractor or client.
It includes (but is not limited to):

  • striking, kicking, scratching, biting, spitting or any other type of direct
  • physical contact;
  • throwing objects;
  • attacking with knives, guns, or any other type of weapon;
  • pushing, shoving, tripping, grabbing; and
  • any form of indecent physical contact.

MANAGERS’ AND SUPERVISORS’ ROLE

Managers and supervisors have an important role to play in terms of fostering a culture that does not tolerate or encourage harassment, bullying and occupational violence and, as workers of the Employer, should ensure that they do not engage in any conduct of this nature.

Managers and supervisors should also ensure that workers understand this policy and consequences of non-compliance. When managers and supervisors observe harassment, bullying or occupational violence occurring, they should take steps to stop this conduct and warn the person of the consequences if the behaviour continues (including disciplinary measures up to and including termination of employment).

Managers and supervisors must also treat all grievances raised by workers in accordance with the Employer’s Grievance Handling Policy.

EMPLOYEE’S ROLE

The Employer expects employees to:

  • not to engage in harassment, bullying or occupational violence;
  • not to aid, abet or encourage others to engage in harassment, bullying or occupational violence;
  • behave in a responsible and professional manner;
  • treat others in the workplace with courtesy and respect;
  • listen and respond appropriately to the views and concerns of others; and
  • be fair and honest in their dealings with others.

ARE YOU EXPERIENCING HARASSMENT, BULLYING OR BEING SUBJECT TO VIOLENCE?

Complaints of harassment, bullying, and occupational violence will be taken seriously and will be handled in accordance with the Employer’s Grievance Handling Policy.

If you make a complaint of workplace harassment, bullying or occupational violence it will be taken very seriously and will be dealt with sympathetically and in a confidential manner.

You will not be victimised or treated unfairly for making a complaint.

If the claim is found to be substantiated, the Employer will act in accordingly. Please note that any worker found to have fabricated a complaint will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.

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