Bullying and Harassment Policy and Procedure
TABLE OF CONTENTS
STANDARDS OF BEHAVIOUR
WHAT IS NOT BULLYING OR HARASSING BEHAVIOUR?
BREACH OF POLICY
COMPLAINT HANDLING PROCEDURE
This policy and procedure sets out the types of behaviours and conduct which will be taken to constitute bullying and harassment and establishes procedures for handling complaints in the workplace.
Test and Tag Sydney is committed to providing a workplace which is free from bullying, harassment and unlawful discrimination. The organisation aims to ensure all those participating in the workplace are treated with respect, dignity and fairness with an aim of creating an environment which promotes positive working relationships.
This policy and procedure is designed to ensure that all employees understand what will be regarded as bullying and harassment, how complaints can be made and how claims will be treated by Test and Tag Sydney.
This policy and procedure applies to employees, contractors (temporary or otherwise) and agents of Test and Tag Sydney.
This policy and procedure is not limited to the workplace or working hours, and will include all work related events which includes, but is not limited to; lunches, client functions, meetings and conferences as well as Christmas parties.
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 electronic communication including:
- Instant messaging services;
- Internal intranet;
- Social media and networking forums including; Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and other forms of social media; and Communications via text message.
Note: this list is not exhaustive.
Standards of behaviour
In line with Test and Tag Sydney’s commitment to creating a workplace which 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 behaviour, 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 or harassment behaviours) towards others in,
- or connected with the workplace which includes customer, clients, supervisors and other managers;
.Ensuring they do not assist, or encourage others in the workplace, or in connection with the workplace to engage in bullying or harassment behaviour(s) of any type;
Adhering to the complaint procedure in this policy if they experience any bullying or harassment behaviour(s) personally;
Reporting any bullying or harassment behaviour(s) they see happening to others in the workplace, or connected with the workplace in line with the complaint procedure in this policy; and
Keeping information confidential if involved in any investigation of bullying or harassment.
These standards of conduct are intended to operate in addition to, and in conjunction with the guidelines set out in Test and Tag Sydney’s Guiding Principles & Understandings handbook.
Bullying is repeated, unreasonable behaviour directed towards a worker or a group of workers that creates a risk to health and safety and is unlawful.
Repeated behaviour refers to the persistent nature of the behaviour and can involve a range of behaviours over time.
Unreasonable behaviour means behaviour that a reasonable person, having regard for the circumstances, would see as unreasonable, including behaviour that is victimising, humiliating intimidating or threatening.
Harassment is unwelcome or unreciprocated behaviour which makes an employee or customer feel intimidated, offended, or belittled in the workplace. It can take place between:
- an employee and a manager or supervisor;
- co-workers; or
- an employee and another person in the workplace, for example a customer or student.
Harassment can occur in any location where people are working including those where services are delivered outside the usual place of work, such as a customer’s home.
Harassment based on sex, race, or disability is unlawful under Commonwealth laws and harassment such as physical assault can be a criminal offence.
What is not bullying or harassing behaviour?
Fair and reasonable management action taken in order to counsel an employee for instances of underperformance, investigating complaints made against employees, discipline for misconduct and other work directions in line with business needs does not amount to bullying or harassment.
Breach of Policy
All those individuals covered by this policy are expected to adhere to the standards of behaviour contained herein at all times. Any employee who is found to have breached this policy will be disciplined accordingly, which may lead up to, and include termination of employment. If a contractor of Test and Tag Sydney is found to have breached this policy, their contract stands to be terminated, or may not be renewed in the future.
Complaint handling procedure
All individuals covered by this policy who believe that they have been subject to actions or words that may constitute bullying or harassment should act upon such conduct as soon as possible by following the procedure set out below. Those individuals who believe they have witnessed bullying or harassment behaviour by another individual in the workplace, are also able to make complaints following the procedure set out below.
In the first instance, the aggrieved employee should, wherever practicable and if they feel comfortable doing so, attempt to amicably resolve the matter with the employee/s or manager/s or otherwise who are alleged to have engaged in bullying or harassment. When confronting the issue, the individual should clearly state the offensive behaviour experienced, explain that the behaviour is unwelcome and offensive and ask that the behaviour does not continue. The person may not be aware that their behaviour or conduct was causing offense or was unwelcome.
This is not a compulsory part of the complaint procedure, and if an employee does not wish to confront the person directly, then this is not encouraged.
Where the alleged bullying or harassment involves the employee’s direct manager and it is not practical for them to directly resolve the matter, they shall notify their Senior Manager or HR Manager who, with the employee’s approval, will endeavour to investigate and resolve the matter
on an informal basis in accordance with the procedure set out below.
Reporting Bullying or Harassment
All those covered by this policy should report instances of bullying or harassment to their direct Manager or HR Manager, who will handle the complaint by using the procedure set out below.
Informal complaint procedure
An informal complaint procedure includes a range of alternatives which can be applied in a flexible manner in order to address different complaints in consideration of the relevant circumstances. The informal complaint procedure is intended to be used for less serious allegations of bullying or harassment and instances which generally do not warrant disciplinary action being taken. An individual who is unsure of whether or not to make a formal or informal complaint, can always make an informal compliant first and decide if they want to escalate the complaint to a formal complaint after speaking with their direct Manager or HR Manager.
Different options for handling informal complaints may include, but are not limited to:.
Your direct Manager or HR Manager having a conversation with the alleged bully about the behaviour complained of; and.
Your direct Manager or HR Manager having a meeting with the individuals concerned in an attempt to reach a resolution.
Formal complaint procedure
(a) Written complaint lodged
Where an individual wishes to lodge a formal complaint, they will be required to do so by communicating this in writing to the HR Manager.
A written complaint shall include the names of individuals concerned, details of the incident(s) and the names of any witnesses present. Please see below for Test and Tag Sydney’s stance on maintaining individual’s confidentiality in the course of handling complaints.
(b) Formal investigation commenced
Where a written complaint has been lodged, a formal investigation procedure will commence immediately. Formal investigations may be conducted by the direct Manager and/or HR Manager, or an external person who is appointed by Test and Tag Sydney e.g. an independent mediator.
Regardless of whether the investigation is carried out by a Test and Tag Sydney employee, or by an independent body/person, the investigator will aim to follow the procedure set out below:
- Clarify details of what took place and ensure that all necessary information is obtained;
- Identify the outcome the complainant is seeking;
- Discuss with the complainant their legal rights, including lodging a formal complaint with the relevant state or federal tribunal;
- Discuss the complaint made with the person/s accused; and
- Making a determination as to whether the alleged behaviour occurred and if it constituted bullying or harassment.
- If Test and Tag Sydney feels it is appropriate in the interests of health and safety of employees concerned, and/or the efficiency of the investigation process, employees may be requested to refrain from attending work for a period of time whilst the investigation is underway. Alternatively, employees may be given different duties or work to perform while the investigation is being conducted.
Employees who are requested to do either of these will be paid at their normal rate of pay during this period.
Where it becomes apparent that the complaint made related to conduct which constitutes misconduct or otherwise warrants disciplinary action, the HR Manager will determine the appropriate course for further action and resolution, depending on the outcome of the investigation.
Whilst the person investigating the bullying or harassment case will endeavour to preserve the confidentiality of the complainant and the person complained of, it may be necessary to speak with other workers or people involved to determine what happened and to maintain the integrity of the investigation process.
Where potentially unlawful conduct has occurred, the investigator will need to alert the appropriate authorities.
Those people who are involved in the complaint (including the complainant, witnesses etc.) are also under a duty to maintain confidentiality and display a commitment to uphold the integrity of the investigation process. If the complainant chooses to bring a support person with them to any meetings, they too are bound by confidentiality. Gossiping and/or the spreading of rumours as a result of, or in connection with, a process followed under this policy will not be tolerated under any circumstances and may lead to further disciplinary action for those concerned.
The outcomes of a formal or informal complaint procedures, will depend on the nature of the complaint, its severity and what is deemed appropriate in the relevant circumstances.
Where the results of an investigation procedure suggest that an individual is guilty of bullying or harassment, appropriate disciplinary procedures will be followed. The disciplinary action will depend on the nature and severity of the behaviour and may include termination of employment, which may be instant dismissal where serious misconduct is deemed to have occurred.
Where the complaint involves a contractor or agent of Test and Tag Sydney and an investigation process reveals that a person has engaged in unlawful conduct or other behaviour which is prohibited by this policy, those concerned may face termination of their contracts immediately, or will not be renewed in the future.
Bullying and Harassment Policy and Procedure
Apart from any disciplinary action deemed appropriate by Test and Tag Sydney, other action may be deemed necessary to resolve or remedy the behaviour complained of, including but not limited to:
- Providing training to employees concerned regarding bullying and/or harassment;
- Requiring employees who have breached this policy to apologise to appropriate person(s);
- Adjusting working arrangements where appropriate;
- Providing counselling or mediation to employees (complainant and the person complained of);
- Placing employees on performance improvement plans to ensure improved behaviour; and/or
- Providing coaching and mentoring.
Appeals procedure (internal)
If any parties involved are unhappy with the outcome, or the way the complaint handling procedure was managed by Test and Tag Sydney, please contact your direct Manager or HR Manager to discuss your concerns
Once notified, the HR Manager will conduct a review of the procedure followed, the outcome issued and make a final determination on the issue. Once this determination is made, the person who has made the appeal will be notified of the outcome and this determination will be final.
Please sign this acknowledgement to declare that you have read, understood and agree to abide by this policy and procedure as an employee/agent/contractor of Test and Tag Sydney. Please return this acknowledgement to the HR & Payroll Manager as soon as you have signed it.