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Workplace Bullying policy

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Section 1 - Preamble

(1) This Policy is effective from 20 October 2023.

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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; and
  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 about staff behaviour towards students via Student Complaints. 

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Section 4 - Policy

(4) The University is committed to providing a safe, healthy and inclusive learning and working environment and the prevention of workplace bullying. This Policy is underpinned by our Code of Conduct, which sets out the personal behaviours and obligations of University staff and associates and our Health, Wellbeing and Safety policy.

(5) The University will treat reports of workplace bullying seriously and will respond impartially and confidentially.

(6) 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; and
  3. found to have made a frivolous or vexatious complaint.

What is workplace bullying?

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

Examples of workplace bullying include, but are not limited to:

  1. verbal abuse. For example, being sworn at, threatened, insulted, continual inappropriate and/or invalid criticism, name calling, practical jokes, unjustified threats of punishment, belittling and humiliation, gossip and malicious rumours, inappropriate language, yelling;
  2. hostile behaviour toward a staff member or group. For example, excluding them from conversations or various activities;
  3. abusive or offensive e-mails or other correspondence;
  4. threatening body language;
  5. unreasonable demands, unnecessary pressure and impossible deadlines which are targeted at an individual or group of individuals;
  6. unfair allocation of tasks and/or working hours. For example, repeatedly requiring a particular person to stay back after hours or rostering them onto night duty;
  7. deliberately changing work rosters to inconvenience an employee;
  8. undermining a person's work performance, recognition or position, especially with their managers or co-workers;
  9. deliberately withholding necessary work-related information or resources or supplying incorrect information;
  10. inappropriate surveillance or monitoring;
  11. inappropriate interference with personal belongings or work equipment;
  12. unequal or unreasonable exclusion from or access to training;
  13. unequal application of work rules and benefits;
  14. unreasonably excluding  staff members from activities;
  15. unreasonably isolating a staff member from others; and
  16. setting tasks that are above or beyond a person’s skill level without access to training or support.  

(8) Workplace bullying may occur between workers, between leaders and workers or by workers towards a leader. Allegations of bullying by staff or associates towards students can be made to Student Complaints.  

What is not workplace bullying?

(9) Workplace bullying is not:

  1. reasonable management action, which includes, but is not limited to: 
    1. genuine and reasonable instructions;
    2. setting reasonable performance goals, standards and deadlines;
    3. rostering and allocating working hours, where the requirements are reasonable;
    4. transferring a worker for genuine operational reasons;
    5. informing a worker about inappropriate behaviour in an objective and confidential way;
    6. deciding not to select a worker for promotion where a reasonable process is followed and documented;
    7. making organisational changes or restructuring, with consultation;
    8. constructive comments which are objective and indicate observable deficiencies in performance or conduct;
    9. constructively delivered feedback or counselling intended to help employees to improve their work performance or the standard of their behaviour
    10. reasonable grievances; or
    11. justified termination of employment.
  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 Senior People and Culture Partner or any member of the Health, Wellbeing and Safety team or People Solutions (Workplace) team in People and Culture.

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 leaders

(12) Leaders 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 compliance with the Code of Conduct;
  3. intervene quickly and act fairly to resolve issues and enforce appropriate behaviour and the Code of Conduct;
  4. seek advice from their Senior People and Culture 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; and
  6. ensure, that in order to undertake the tasks described under clauses a-e above, that the required training provided by People and Culture 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 casual professional staff and sessional academic staff, 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.