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Workplace Bullying policy

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Section 1 - Preamble

(1) This Policy was approved by Vice-Chancellor on 23 December 2013 and came into effect on 1 January 2014 and incorporates all amendments to 7 March 2017.

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Section 2 - Purpose

(2) This Policy confirms the University's commitment to:

  1. providing a working environment which is free from workplace bullying
  2. preventing workplace bullying
  3. responding to workplace bullying.
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Section 3 - Scope

(3) This Policy applies to all staff and associates of the University. This policy does not apply to students of the University. Students may raise any concern with Student Complaints and Appeals. This policy may be used by the University to respond to complaints raised by students about University staff and associates.

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Section 4 - Policy

(4) The University is committed to the prevention of workplace bullying. The Code of Conduct and the Health, Wellbeing and Safety policy underpin this policy.

(5) Disciplinary action may be taken in accordance with the Staff Discipline procedure against a staff member:

  1. found to have engaged in workplace bullying
  2. who victimises a person making a complaint or a witness to a complaint
  3. found to have made a frivolous or vexatious complaint.

What is workplace bullying?

(6) Workplace bullying is repeated and unreasonable behaviour directed towards a person or group of people that creates a risk to health and safety.

(7) The University regards the following behaviours as workplace bullying:

  1. Insulting or offensive language or comments.
  2. Unreasonable behaviours, including aggressive or intimidating body language.
  3. Unjustified criticism or complaints or the threat of complaints.
  4. Deliberately excluding someone from workplace activities without reasonable cause.
  5. Setting unreasonable or constantly changing deadlines.
  6. Setting tasks that are unreasonably beyond a person's skill level.
  7. Denying or withholding access to information, supervision or resources which causes detriment to the worker.
  8. Spreading misinformation or rumours.
  9. Changing work arrangements, such as rosters and leave, to deliberately inconvenience a particular worker or workers.
  10. Excessive scrutiny at work.

(8) Workplace bullying may occur between workers, between supervisors and workers or by workers towards a supervisor. Staff and associates may engage in bullying behaviours towards students.

What is not workplace bullying?

(9) The University does not regard the following behaviours as workplace bullying:

  1. Reasonable management action, taken in a reasonable way, including:
    1. undertaking performance review processes
    2. rostering and allocating working hours where the requirements are reasonable
    3. deciding not to select a staff member for promotion
    4. informing a worker about unsatisfactory work performance or about inappropriate workplace behaviours
    5. implementing organisational changes
    6. terminating employment or a contract of engagement.
  2. Low level disagreement or differences of opinion.

(10) A single incident of bullying-type behaviour does not constitute bullying but does have the potential to escalate into bullying behaviour and become a health and safety risk. Where a worker or supervisor has concerns in relation to any such behaviour they should contact their HR Client Partner or any member of the Health, Wellbeing and Safety team or Workplace Relations team in Human Resources Division (HRD).

Responsibilities of workers

(11) Workers must:

  1. not engage in workplace bullying; and
  2. identify and report workplace bullying in accordance with the Workplace Bullying procedure.

Responsibilities of supervisors

(12) Supervisors must:

  1. model appropriate behaviour themselves and promote the Workplace Bullying Policy and Procedure within their work area
  2. monitor the working environment to ensure that acceptable standards of conduct are observed
  3. intervene quickly and act fairly to resolve issues and enforce workplace behavioural standards
  4. seek advice from their HR Client Partner on responding effectively and attempting to resolve the matter in accordance with the Workplace Bullying procedure
  5. respond promptly and sensitively to situations in which workplace bullying is observed or reported, even in circumstances where the worker has chosen not to take action themselves
  6. ensure, that in order to undertake the tasks described under clauses a-e above, that the required training provided by the Human Resources Division has been undertaken and is kept current.
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Section 5 - Procedure

(13) The Workplace Bullying procedure documents how to comply with this Policy.

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Section 6 - Definitions

(14) For the purpose of this Policy:

  1. Associates: contractors, consultants, volunteers, visiting appointees and visitors to the University.
  2. Repeated behaviour: persistent nature of the behaviour and can involve a range of behaviours over time.
  3. Staff: a member of the academic or professional staff, including casuals, executive or honorary staff member.
  4. Unreasonable behaviour: behaviour that a reasonable person, having regard for the circumstances, would see as unreasonable, including behaviour that is victimising, humiliating, intimidating or threatening.
  5. Victimisation: any form of detriment directed at a person for alleging, making, participating in, supporting or resolving a complaint of workplace bullying.
  6. Worker: staff and associates.
  7. Workplace bullying: repeated, unreasonable behaviour directed towards a worker or a group of workers that creates a risk to health and safety.