Under Australian law it is a requirement of every workplace to ensure it provides an environment free from all forms of harassment and discrimination, including victimisation and bullying. In doing so, all staff and students are treated fairly and have the opportunity to feel safe, valued and respected.
By definition, harassment includes any form of behaviour that is unwanted, unwelcome or unreciprocated by relevant persons. This may manifest as verbal or physical harassment, but includes any acts that may be perceived as humiliating, offensive, intimidating, threatening, discriminatory or otherwise contributing to an unpleasant workplace or experience for the persons.
At FiT, it is made known that in the event that a person considers that he or she has been or is being harassed, this person should be encouraged to inform the other party that their behaviour is objectionable and should not be continued, provided they are comfortable with confronting the offender. In instances where the person is not comfortable discussing the matter with the offending party, a trainer or other FiT staff member should be informed of the situation. In this case, it becomes the responsibility of the relevant staff to follow FiT policy and procedures to rectify the situation.
All students and staff working with FiT have the right to discuss matters of harassment with the relevant members of staff without making a formal complaint; all discussions are dealt with in confidentiality. The right to lodge a formal complaint of misconduct against the offending party is available and will be actioned according to FiT policy and procedures.
FiT ensures that all staff are adequately trained in dealing with harassment and discrimination in order to fulfil their roles and responsibilities in creating and contributing to a harassment and discrimination-free workplace. In addition to relevant training, FiT management provides opportunities for communication and mentoring amongst staff to ensure that all employees understand and correctly apply the processes and procedures involved in identifying and addressing of all forms of harassment and discrimination.
FiT staff and students should be aware of the following definitions:
Involves a person or persons being threatened, abused, insulted or taunted in relation to their race, descent, nationality, colour, language, ethnic origin or any other racial characteristic. It may include but is not limited to; derogatory remarks, innuendo or slur, gestures, intolerance, mockery, displays of material prejudice towards a race, racial jokes, discrimination, exclusion, allocation of least favourable jobs or positions, or unfair treatment.
Involves any verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, which is inappropriate, unwelcome or uninvited. It may include but is not limited to: sexually related physical contact such as kissing, embracing, pinching or other suggestive gestures, intimidation, coercion, requests for or promising of sexual favours, questions about a person’s private or sexual life, sexist or explicit jokes, unwelcome phone calls, emails or other forms of non-work-related communication, offensive noises, or displays of sexually graphic or suggestive material.
Involves any behaviour that suggests a real or perceived power over another party, or otherwise undermines a person or group, generally comprised of repeated, persistent acts over a period. It may include, but is not limited to; verbal abuse, physical assault, intimidation, humiliation, unjustified criticism, sarcasm, insults, false or malicious rumours, exclusion or isolation, inflicting unnecessary work stresses, or sabotage of a person’s work or their ability to work by withholding resources or information.
Relates to privacy of information, ensuring that the information is only accessible to those who have the authority to access it. Within an RTO this may refer to private verbal discussions, student assessments, managerial decisions and legal proceedings.
Involves the unfair or unequal treatment of another person based solely on class or category. Equal opportunity laws prohibit discrimination on the grounds of sex, marital status, pregnancy, family responsibility, family status, race, religious beliefs, political conviction, gender history, impairment, age or sexual orientation. All forms of victimisation are also treated as a type of discrimination.
Involves any behaviour intended to disturb, offend or upset. It may include any unwelcome or uninvited verbal or physical action that results in a person feeling intimidated, offended, humiliated or embarrassed. Equal opportunity laws prohibit harassment on the grounds of sex and race.
Refers to all employees and contractors of FiT.
Involves any process that results in the unfavourable treatment of a person on unjust terms. It may include, but is not limited to, unfair punishment, treating a person poorly for their involvement in a complaint, to swindle or defraud a person, adverse changes to another’s work environment, or denial of access to work-related resources.
- It is the right of all staff and students to work and study in an environment free of any form of harassment and discrimination.
- All reports of harassment and discrimination will be treated seriously, in an unbiased, respectful and sensitive manner. Any form of harassment and discrimination is considered unacceptable behaviour and will not be tolerated by FiT.
- When FiT management is informed of any event involving harassment or discrimination, it is their responsibility to take immediate and appropriate action to address it.
- In dealing with all complaints, the rights of all individuals involved should be respected and confidentiality should be maintained.
- It is the intention of FiT management that a process of discussion, cooperation and conciliation will resolve all complaints. The aim is to achieve an acceptable outcome for the involved parties while minimising any potential damage to the organisation.
- Both the person making the complaint and the person against whom the complaint has been made will receive information, support and assistance in resolving the issue from FiT management.
- Victimisation is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. No person making a complaint or assisting in the investigation of a complaint should be victimised.
- Harassment or discrimination should not be confused with legitimate comment and advice (including constructive feedback) given appropriately by management or trainers. Managers and trainers should be conscious of how they present their feedback to ensure the message is not misinterpreted.
- Staff and students should not make any frivolous or malicious complaints. All staff and students are expected to participate in the complaint resolution process in confidence that the procedures are designed to ensure fair resolution.