Conduct in the Workplace Policy

Purpose

All workers should have due respect for all other staff members, customers and the public. The Business values their workers and provides a work environment that is comfortable and acceptable to all people.

All workers are treated on their merit, without regard to race, age, sex, marital status or any other factor not applicable to the position. Workers are valued according to how well they perform their duties, and their ability and enthusiasm to maintain our standards of service.

Scope

This Policy applies to all The Business workers.

Policy

The Business values the diversity of our workforce and respects the differences between workers, recognising that each person has individual talents and skills that they contribute to their work.

At The Business, we believe that all workers are entitled to work in an environment in which they can enjoy their work and their relationships with their colleagues, free from discrimination, harassment and victimisation of any kind.

It is The Business’ policy that:

  • Discrimination and harassment will not be tolerated under any circumstances;
  • All discrimination and harassment complaints will be investigated fairly and impartially, treated seriously, and resolved as promptly as possible in a confidential manner;
  • Action will be taken to ensure that discrimination and harassment ceases within the organisation; and
  • Workers and witnesses making a complaint/s or anyone handling a complaint will not be victimised in any way.

1.1 Discrimination

Discrimination is against the law and occurs when a worker is treated less favourably on the basis of one or more of the following attributes:

  • Sex;
  • Relationship status;
  • Pregnancy;
  • Parental status;
  • Breastfeeding;
  • Age;
  • Race;
  • Impairment;
  • Religious belief or religious activity;
  • Political belief or activity;
  • Trade union activity;
  • Lawful sexual activity;
  • Gender identity;
  • Sexuality;
  • Family responsibilities; and/or
  • Association with someone with an attribute above.

The Business is committed to promoting Equal Employment Opportunity in all employment related activities including:

  • Recruitment and selection;
  • Placement and job assignments;
  • Variations to terms of work;
  • Opportunities for promotion, transfer, training and other benefits;
  • Decision making and resource allocation;
  • Remuneration and rewards;
  • Counselling or discipline; or
  • Termination.

If you have any questions or concerns about discrimination or inequity in the workplace you should bring them to the attention of Management.
Managers and Workers in Charge must ensure that all workers are treated equitably and in accordance with the Equal Employment Opportunity principles. They must also ensure that people who make complaints or witnesses who may assist in investigations are not victimised in any way.

What is discrimination?

Some forms of discrimination may include, but are not limited to:-

  • Writing offensive graffiti;
  • Isolating or not including someone because of language difficulties;
  • Making offensive comments about a person’s race, age, disability etc.
  • Displaying pictures or posters which are offensive or derogatory;
  • Expressing negative stereotypes of particular groups, e.g. “married women shouldn’t be working”;
  • Judging someone on their political or religious beliefs rather than their work performance;
  • Using stereotypes or assumptions to guide decision-making about a person’s career;
  • Undermining a person’s authority or work performance because you dislike one of their personal characteristics.

1.2 Bullying

A person is subjected to ‘workplace bullying’ if the person is subjected to repeated behaviour, other than behaviour amounting to sexual harassment, by a person, including the person’s employer or a co-worker or group of co-workers of the person that:

  1. is unwelcome and unsolicited,
  2. the person considers to be offensive, intimidating, humiliating or threatening,
  3. a reasonable person would consider to be offensive, humiliating, intimidating or threatening.

Bullying is against the law. It makes the workplace uncomfortable, unpleasant and unproductive. In some instances, conduct may begin ‘in fun’ but this kind of behaviour can easily escalate and end up targeting individuals or particular groups of people, and can leave them feeling undermined, hurt emotionally or physically injured.

The fact that harassment is not intended doesn’t mean that it is not unlawful. Differences in perceptions, particularly those of the inflicted person(s) must be respected and acknowledged.

What is Bullying?

There are many types of bullying. These can range from direct forms, such as abuse, threats and name-calling, to less direct forms such as where a hostile work environment is created, but no direct attacks are made on an individual.
Detailed below are examples of behaviours that may be regarded as workplace bullying, if the behaviour is repeated or occurs as part of a pattern of behaviour. This is not an exhaustive list – however, it does outline some of the more common types of bullying behaviours. Examples include:

  • Abusing a person loudly, usually when others are present
  • Repeated threats of dismissal or other severe punishment for no reason
  • Constant ridicule and being put down
  • Leaving offensive messages on email or the telephone
  • Sabotaging a person’s work, for example, by deliberately withholding or supplying incorrect information, hiding documents or equipment, not passing on messages and getting a person into trouble in other ways
  • Maliciously excluding and isolating a person from workplace activities
  • Persistent and unjustified criticisms, often about petty, irrelevant or insignificant matters
  • Humiliating a person through gestures, innuendo, sarcasm, criticism and insults, often in front of customers, management or other workers
  • Spreading gossip or false, malicious rumours about a person with an intent to cause the person harm
  • Deliberate isolation from workplace activities

What is not Bullying?

There are bound to be occasional differences of opinion, conflicts and problems in working relationships – these are part of working life.

‘Workplace bullying’ does not include reasonable management action taken in a reasonable way by the person’s employer in connection with the person’s employment.

1.3 Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature, which occurs in circumstances where a reasonable person would have anticipated the possibility that the other person would be offended, humiliated or intimidated by the conduct, and is against the law.

Sexual harassment can be a single incident, as some actions or remarks are so offensive that they may constitute sexual harassment in themselves. Other single incidents, such as unwelcome invitation to go out or unwelcome compliments, may not constitute sexual harassment if they are isolated incidents but could be deemed to be sexual harassment if the behaviour continues over a period of time.

Some forms of sexual harassment may include but are not limited to:

  • Sexual, suggestive or offensive remarks, references or jokes;
  • Unwelcome sexual advances or propositions;
  • Suggestive looks or leers;
  • Wolf whistling;
  • Demoting, failing to promote or transferring someone because they refuse requests for sexual favours;
  • Standing very close to someone or unnecessarily leaning over them;
  • Unwelcome physical contact (e.g. kissing, touching, hugging, patting, brushing against);
  • Displaying material of a sexual nature on noticeboards, computer screen savers, e-mail etc;
  • Spreading malicious rumours;
  • Indecent or sexual assault or attempted assault; and/or
  • Placing your arm around a person’s waist or shoulders.

1.4 Victimisation

Victimisation is against the law and occurs where a person is treated badly because they have made, intend to make, or have helped someone else make a complaint or because they have provided information about a complaint. It also includes someone who has agreed to be a witness. Victimisation must not occur against any person considering lodging a discrimination or harassment complaint or who acts as an official or witness in any investigation.

Actions which would amount to victimisation include:

  • Paybacks;
  • Giving the person the cold shoulder, ignoring them or failing to acknowledge them;
  • Punishments (e.g. no overtime, unfavourable shifts);
  • Threats; and/or
  • Intimidation

It is against the law for anyone to ‘victimise’ complainants. The Business takes complaints seriously; as such The Business will treat all parties with fairness and confidentiality in relation to any complaints and investigations.

2.1 What to do if you are Discriminated against, Sexually harassed, Bullied or

Victimised

If you feel sufficiently comfortable, you should talk directly to the person you feel is harassing, discriminating or victimising you, to raise your issues. Alternatively you could discuss these problems with your manager to try to resolve the situation. Workers may also contact the relevant external bodies for advice or support at any time.

It is useful to make a written note of any incidents that may constitute harassment, discrimination or victimisation, including dates, times, witnesses, what happened and what you said or felt.

When submitting a formal complaint, it should be kept simple and factual, and include all relevant details. There should be enough information to enable The Business to undertake an investigation of the allegations, where appropriate. As a guide, a formal complaint should include the following information:

  • What happened;
  • Where and when the event(s) took place;
  • Who was involved;
  • Any witnesses to the events and their details;
  • Any evidence (photos, written material);
  • Any action which you have already taken in relation to your complaint; and
  • What action you would like taken, or preferred outcomes, to resolve your complaint.

Your complaint will be taken seriously and dealt with in a fair and appropriate manner. Those helping you to resolve your complaint will maintain confidentiality and will only relate information with your consent.

3.1 Individual Responsibilities

3.1.1 Managers

Managers must:

Ensure all staff (including temporary / casual workers and contractors) are aware of and understand this policy and related procedures;

  • Ensure proper standards of conduct are maintained;
  • Set an appropriate example to staff;
  • Take appropriate action to stop any form of harassment, discrimination or victimisation of which they are aware;
  • Provide support to the person where it is deemed appropriate or applicable;
  • Ensure confidentiality as far as possible is maintained;
  • Maintain appropriate records.

3.1.2 Responsibilities of Staff

Staff (including temporary/casual workers and contractors) must:

  • Be aware of, understand and comply with the The Business Equity in the Workplace Policy;
  • Think carefully about his/her behaviour and how it may impact on others;
  • Respect the rights of others and never encourage harassment, discrimination and victimisation; and
  • Ensure confidentiality is maintained in relation to any incident or complaint.

If you become aware that someone you work with is being harassed, discriminated against or victimised, you should offer your support to the person by:

  • Offering to act as a witness (where relevant) if they wish to lodge a formal complaint;
  • Refusing to participate in any activity which constitutes harassment, discrimination or victimisation;
  • Encouraging them to use the options available to them in this policy to stop the behaviours/actions; and
  • Reporting improper behaviour to a manager/team leader or other authorised person.

4.1 Consequences

The Business views any complaint of harassment, discrimination and/or victimisation seriously. Managers and team leaders who tolerate such behaviour will be held accountable for their actions or omissions.

If a complaint of harassment, discrimination and/or victimisation is substantiated, The Business may take disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal.

The Business may also take appropriate disciplinary action against an individual who is found to have made a vexatious claim of harassment, discrimination and/or victimisation up to and including dismissal.