Amberley O.S.H.C.

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8.7 Workplace Harassment and Bullying

All Amberley OSHC employees have the basic right to work in a place where they are valued, respected and appreciated by their colleagues, supervisors and employers. Workplace harassment and bullying can be detrimental to the ongoing health, well being and sense of safety for employees.  The following guidelines shall be implemented by Amberley OSHC to ensure workplace bullying and harassment is not tolerated and that appropriate procedures for managing reports of bullying and harassment are in place.

Relevant Laws and other Provisions

The laws and other provisions affecting this policy include:

  • Education and Care Services National Law Act, 2010 and Regulations 2011
  • Duty of Care
  • Family and Child Commission Act 2014
  • Work Health and Safety Act 2011
  • Prevention of Workplace Harassment Advisory Standard 2004
  • Queensland Anti Discrimination Act
  • NQS Area: 4.2; 7.1.1, 7.1.2, 7.1.3; 7.3.1, 7.3.2, 7.3.4, 7.3.5.
  • Policies: 8.1 – Role and Expectations of Educators, 8.5 – Volunteers Policy, 8.9 – Employee Code of Conduct, 8.10 – Employee Orientation and Induction.

 Procedures

Definition

Workplace harassment/bullying is verbal, physical, social or psychological abuse by your employer (or manager), another person or group of people at work.   Workplace harassment and bullying occurs when a person is subjected to repeated behavior, other than behavior amounting to sexual harassment, that:

  • Is unwelcome and unsolicited; and
  • The person considers to be offensive, humiliating, intimidating or threatening; and
  • A reasonable person would consider to be offensive, humiliating, intimidating or threatening.

Workplace bullying and harassment shall not be tolerated or accepted by any employee or member of management within the service.  Therefore this policy and procedure is not limited to the workplace or working hours and will include all work related events including but not limited to:

  • Team meetings;
  • Family events organised by the service;
  • Celebratory functions;
  • Other events organised by the service in public or private locations.

This policy also relates to, but is not limited by the following types of communication:

  • Verbal communication, either over the telephone or in person in the workplace, and outside of it;
  • Written communication including letters, notes, minutes of meetings etc.;
  • Internal and external communication including emails, faxes and/or text messages.

In line with the service’s commitment to creating a workplace that is free from workplace health and safety risks and one which strives to create positive working relationships, all those covered by this policy and procedure are expected to observe the following minimum standards of behavior, including:

  • Being polite and courteous to others;
  • Being respectful of the differences between people and their circumstances;
  • Ensuring they do not engage in any bullying behavior towards others in, or connected with the workplace. This includes hurtful remarks or attacks and making fun of a person or their work (including references to family, sex, sexuality, gender identity, race or culture, education and economic background);
  • Ensuring they do not assist, or encourage others in the workplace, or in connection with the workplace to engage in bullying behavior of any type;
  • Adhering to the service’s grievance procedures, as listed further in this policy, if they experience any bullying behaviours personally;
  • Reporting any bullying behavoiurs they see happening to others in the workplace, or connected with the workplace in line with the grievance procedure in this policy;
  • Keeping information confidential if involved in any investigation of bullying.

It shall be acknowledged that the impacts of bullying and harassment can be traumatic and may result in employees suffering stress, feelings of isolation at work, anxiety, loss of self-esteem, loss of financial security, loss or deterioration of personal relationships, physical symptoms of stress such as headaches, backaches, stomach cramps, and depression.

Some types of workplace bullying are criminal offences therefore any instances of violence, physical assault and/or stalking must be reported to the Queensland Police Service immediately.

Grievance procedures shall be made available to employees and clearly articulated in the Educator Handbook.

Employees shall be advised of the relevant Union.

All reports of harassment and/or bullying behaviour shall be managed in accordance with the service’s grievance procedures and whilst all endeavours will be made to preserve the confidentiality of the complainant and the person accused, it may be necessary to speak with other workers or people involved to determine what happened and to maintain the integrity of the investigative process.  The service’s grievance process will include:

  • Reporting the grievance to management through appropriate channels;
  • Arranging for a meeting with the complainant  to discuss the nature of the alleged complaint and or grievance;
  • Documenting all conversations regarding the grievance and all alleged instances of harassment or bullying, when they occurred, who was involved, what actually happened and any witnesses or other relevant information;

Management may seek expert advice from their employer association in managing any alleged instances of harassment or bullying in the workplace with appropriate dispute resolution services accessed as required and upon professional advice.

References

Australian Human Rights Commission. (2011). Workplace bullying: Violence, Harrassment and Bullying Fact Sheet. Retrieved from Australian Human Rights Commission: http://www.humanrights.gov.au/workplace-bullying-violence-harassment-and-bullying-fact-sheet

Community Management Solutions. (2013). Workplace Bullying and Harrassment Toolkit guide. Workplace Bullying and Harrassment Policy. Queensland, Australia.

Policy updated May 2014, Reviewed 13 April 2015, Updated 12 May 2015


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