Harassment and Workplace Bullying Policy

The Australian Workers’ Union strives to be the best provider of employee representation in Australia. The Organisation recognises that the quality, motivation and performance of its people are the key factors in the achievement of its business objective. Ensuring a professional environment, free of Discrimination, Harassment and Workplace Bullying is critical to the achievement of the Organisational goal.

Harassment can occur as a result of a single incident or a pattern of behaviour where the purpose or outcome is a hostile, offensive or intimidating work environment. Conduct can amount to harassment regardless of whether or not that conduct was intended to cause offence, humiliation or to threaten another person.

Harassment encompasses a broad range of physical, written or verbal behaviour, which can include, but is not limited to the following:

  • Physical, verbal or emotional abuse
  • Ethnic or racist insults
  • Derogatory ethnic or racist jokes
  • Slurs or taunting, intended to provoke an employee
  • Offensive printed material
  • Offensive information transmitted electronically, e.g. Internet
  • Workplace pranks which have the effect of humiliating an employee
  • Sexual Harassment (Refer to Sexual harassment policy)

Workplace bullying is distinguished from occasional episodes of conflict because it involves the repeated and systematic targeting of employees. Workplace bullying is defined as repeated unreasonable behaviour directed toward an employee or group of employees that creates a risk. Such behaviour which can include, but is not limited to the following:

  • Humiliating putdowns
  • Unreasonable rudeness
  • Systematic targeting
  • Scapegoating of employees

The Australian Workers’ Union prohibits any form of harassment or workplace bullying by any individuals (i.e. employees and visitors) and views such actions in the most serious manner.

The Australian Workers’ Union will take disciplinary action against individuals who, after investigation of a formal complaint, have found to engage in actions or behaviour amounting to harassment or workplace bullying. The disciplinary measures adopted will depend on the circumstances but may range from a formal warning to termination of employment. Visitors who have been found to have committed acts of harassment or workplace bullying may be banned from the Organisations premises.

The Australian Workers’ Union will take all possible steps to ensure that an employee is not victimised and/or subjected to ridicule or embarrassment for voicing concerns on this issue or making a complaint.

Any individual, who feels he/she has been the subject of harassment or workplace bullying, should bring it to the attention of his/her Branch Secretary, the National Secretary or EEO contact officer. Every complaint will be investigated confidentially, thoroughly and in a timely manner.

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