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Bullying and Harassment Policy Staff

1. Policy Definition

To bully and/or harass is to use intimidating and/or inappropriate behaviour, or to persistently subject a person to unwanted attention.


2. Objective

The School encourages staff and students to work together to maintain an environment where all staff, students and visitors can feel safe and free from bullying and harassment.


3. Policy

Bullying and Harassment is any form of behaviour that is unsolicited, intimidating, unwelcome, uninvited and unreciprocated, which may cause offence or distress to a person. Harassment may occur between individuals such as staff members of any position, students, visitors or contractors at the workplace. This includes conduct which occurs in the workplace or in connection with work, for example at a School function during or outside of work hours.

Bullying and Harassment includes discrimination, sexual harassment or behaviours that are considered offensive, belittling or threatening by any person. It may be verbal, non-verbal or physical behaviour which repeatedly causes the person to feel offended, humiliated or intimidated and which will also create an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment.

Examples include difficulties between academic, religious and non-teaching staff, between senior staff and other staff, between male and female staff or between staff and students.

To assist staff members to maintain an environment that is safe and free from harassment, The School will provide information and support through various sources:
• Through various training courses (AISNSW Child protection PD)
• Links to other policies
• Regular monitoring and review of work practices in consultation with staff


4. Guidelines

Staff has a responsibility to promptly raise suspected incidents of harassment when it is witnessed or if they become aware of it. Staff members may use the Grievance Policy and Procedures to resolve harassment issues. The prompt raising of the issue helps to maintain a safe environment.

Allegations of harassment may result in an investigation being undertaken. Appropriate action will be taken based on the outcome of the investigation. This action may include coaching and/or counselling, an apology, an undertaking that the behaviour will not occur again, training, work adjustments or disciplinary action up to and including dismissal.

Depending upon the circumstances, a staff member may be suspended from duty whilst an investigation is being undertaken.

Information obtained as a result of a grievance being raised must be treated with sensitivity and confidentiality by all parties. The confidentiality of grievances is paramount to resolving any issues and must be respected by staff members. The School does not tolerate the raising of false or malicious claims of harassment. Such behaviour may result in disciplinary action up to and including dismissal.

4.1 What are some examples of harassment?
The following list of behaviours could be considered as intimidating and inappropriate. (This is a guide only and unacceptable behaviour is not limited to the following).

4.1.1 Threat to professional status
• Persistent attempts to belittle and undermine work
• Persistent criticism and lack of respect for judgments, skills or opinions of a person
• Persistent attempts to humiliate in front of colleagues (put downs and name calling)
• Intimidatory use of discipline or competence procedures (Note that this does not preclude supervisors using performance management processes in a legitimate way)

4.1.2 Threat to personal standing
• Undermining personal integrity
• Destructive innuendo and sarcasm (including rumours and gossip)
• Verbal and non-verbal threats, threat of complaints when people stand up for themselves; use of private information inappropriately
• Inappropriate or overly forceful language (including jokes, sarcasm insults and crude language)
• Intimidating behaviour (shouting, invasion of personal space, such as entering someone’s office without knocking, physically standing over another person, rifling through personal files and drawers; reading information on someone’s desk without permission; blocking someone’s exit, banging a desk)
• Physical violence
• Violence to property

4.1.3 Isolation
• Withholding necessary information or passive non-cooperation
• Freezing out, ignoring, excluding or cutting off in conversation

4.2 What should I do if I am being harassed by another staff member?
If you believe you are being harassed or bullied, you are encouraged to approach the person and tell them their behaviour is not acceptable and ask him or her to stop immediately. It is possible that by not voicing your concerns on an issue may give the perpetrator the impression their behaviour is acceptable.

If you do not feel comfortable with this approach, or if you feel resolving your concerns informally is not appropriate, you may need to resolve the issue in a more formal manner by using the Grievance Procedure.

Before you raise your grievance, there are a number of matters to consider:
• Ensure you have a full understanding of the facts of the situation and how you will communicate your grievance.
• Think about the way you feel the grievance should be resolved, and what outcome you are seeking.
• What are the consequences of the grievance being substantiated or not.

4.3 What if I am being harassed by a senior member of the staff?
If you have a concern involving a senior member of the school staff and you feel you cannot approach them directly, you should arrange a confidential meeting with the school Principal.

4.4 What should I do if I am being harassed by a student, visitor or contractor?
If you are being harassed by a student, visitor or contractor, you should notify your supervisor, the Principal.

4.5 What can I do if I have been accused of harassment?
If you are approached by another party informally accusing you of harassment, you may need to consider the following:

• Satisfactory resolution of the matter with the person directly and informally.
• Offer an apology if your actions were misunderstood.
• Do not worsen the situation by alienating, victimising or through the spread of malicious rumours.
• If you feel the informal accusation is unfounded, use the Grievance procedures to try to resolve the issue.
• If you are accused of harassment, you will be formally notified in writing and given an opportunity to respond to the allegation. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the situation, an investigation may take place.

4.6 Can I get assistance?
If you feel you need to talk to someone about harassment, you may contact a senior staff member or the Principal.

Witnesses, such as a union or staff representatives or other persons, may be present during meetings and interviews. The role of the witness is to provide support and advice to you but should not be directly involved in the meeting.

4.7 Can I make an informal complaint?
In all cases of harassment or bullying, action may be necessary to address the concerns and prevent the situation from escalating. Therefore, if you raise a concern, you should be aware that it will be handled as a formal complaint and the School will launch an investigation.

4.8 Staff responsibilities
• Maintain an environment where staff and students feel safe and free from harassment.
• Ensure behaviour does not offend, humiliate or intimidate others.
• Seek harassment information and support, if required.
• Use the Grievance Procedure to resolve harassment issues.
• Promptly raise harassment issues.

4.9 Management actions and responsibilities:
• Identify harassment
• Monitor your workplace to maintain a harassment-free environment
• Handle incidents of harassment in accordance with this policy