EQUAL OPPORTUNITY, DIGNITY AND RESPECT IN THE WORKPLACE POLICY

At CHE Proximity we are committed to the prevention of any form of discrimination, bullying, sexual harassment or victimisation in the workplace. We respect and value the diversity of our workforce and we believe all people have a right to be treated fairly.

Everyone who works at CHE Proximity is responsible for making sure our workplace is supportive, safe and fair.

CHE Proximity is committed to ensuring that factors relating to a person’s ability to perform his or her responsibilities, and to develop in his or her employment, are paramount in its decisions about an employee’s work.

This policy sets out the company’s attitude and approach to Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO), harassment and bullying in the workplace. The policy includes guidance on identifying and addressing behaviour that may constitute discrimination, harassment, bullying and victimisation. This policy applies to all people engaged by Clemenger Group Limited.

The objective of CHE Proximity Limited’s Equal Opportunity Policy is to improve business success by:

—             attracting and retaining the best possible employees,

—             providing a safe, respectful and flexible work environment, and

—             delivering our services in a safe, respectful and reasonably flexible way.

Equal Opportunities, Dignity and Respect in the Workplace Policy

What does equal employment opportunity mean?

Equal employment opportunity, or EEO means employment policies and practices are based on, and operate according to, the principle of merit.

CHE Proximity is therefore committed to ensuring its employment practices are free from any unlawful discrimination. To ensure that this occurs, it is necessary to identify, discourage and prevent any occurrence of discrimination, harassment, bullying or victimisation within the work environment. 

EEO principles apply to all aspects of the employment relationship including recruitment, access to jobs, promotions, and selection for training, transfers, secondments, terminations, performance reviews and remuneration.

If you are involved in making decisions on these matters you must not allow your judgement to be influenced negatively by the fact that a person may have one or more of the attributes or characteristics set out in this policy.

Mark the following statements as true or false.

  • EEO means that employment practices are free from any unlawful discrimination.
  • EEO principles only applies to external recruitment.
  • It is fine to apply personal judgement when making employment decisions.

What is discrimination?

There are two types of discrimination; direct and indirect.

Direct discrimination occurs when a person is treated less favourably than another simply because of a personal characteristic or status unrelated to job performance, such as race or marital status (as listed below). The characteristics referred to in anti- discrimination legislation may vary from state to state and federally, but may include:

—             Race/ethnicity

—             Gender

—             National origin

—             Marital status

—             Sexual preference/lawful sexual activity

—             Age

—             Disability/impairment, including infectious disease

—             Industrial activity

—             Physical features

—             Pregnancy

—             Family responsibilities

—             Religious beliefs

—             Political conviction

—             Breastfeeding

—             Gender identity

Indirect Discrimination

Occurs when a policy or requirement which at first glance seems fair, in fact, operates to the detriment of a particular group of people because of a characteristic of that group, such as age, political conviction or physical features (as listed above).


Mark the following statements as true or false.

  • Direct discrimination occurs when a person is treated less favourably than another simply because of a personal characteristic or status unrelated to job performance.
  • Indirect discrimination occurs when the discrimination takes place behind somebodies back or without their knowledge.
  • Indirect discrimination refers to a policy or requirement that operates to the detriment of particular group of people based on a characteristic of the group.

Haressment


CHE Proximity is committed to providing an environment that is free from harassment or victimisation on the discriminatory grounds listed above.

This policy deals with two specific types of harassment:

Sexual harassment; and

Discriminatory harassment, e.g.: disability harassment.


What is sexual harassment?


Sexual harassment is any unwanted, unwelcome or uninvited behaviour of a sexual nature which makes a person feel humiliated, intimidated or offended and in circumstances where the harasser should have reasonably anticipated that the other person would be offended, humiliated or intimidated.

Sexual harassment can take many different forms and may include physical contact, verbal comments, jokes, propositions, the display of offensive material or other behaviour which creates a sexually hostile working environment.

You don’t need to intend to offend, humiliate or intimidate, or even to know that this was the effect of your behaviour for this conduct to be against the law.

Sexual assault and rape are criminal offences and are not examples of harassment. If they occur, matters will be placed in the hands of the Police.

Workplace harassment does not mean the incident has to have taken place in the office. Even when you are away from work with clients, at firm sponsored events or at other functions away from the firm’s premises, bothering someone with letters, phone calls or other forms of contact may be considered sexual harassment.


What is discriminatory harassment?


Discriminatory harassment is a recognised form of discrimination which occurs when a person is harassed because of characteristics such as disability, gender, race and age (or any of the grounds outlined in this policy).

For example, harassment of people with disabilities or impairments is unlawful. Harassment on the grounds of disability includes making comments about a person’s disability, isolating a person because they are disabled, or not including them in office functions because they are disabled. The words “disability” and “impairment” have a wide meaning and include past, present, future and imputed disabilities or impairments. They do not relate only to persons who might have an obvious disability such as blindness.


Examples of sexual and discriminatory harassment


Some examples of behaviour, which can be sexual harassment or discriminatory harassment include:

  • Verbal abuse or comments that put down or stereotype people because of their sex, appearance or sexual preference. These gestures may not need to be obviously crude for the behaviour to be deemed sexual harassment.
  • Jokes or cartoons about someone’s appearance, body shape, or any of the personal matter that may cause embarrassment and make people feel uncomfortable. Distribution or display of material (including through email) which may be offensive, such as racist jokes or cartoons pertaining to someone’s sexual orientation.
  • Persistent questions about a person’s private life.
  • Personal comments about appearance, size, clothing.
  • Demands for sexual favours, either directly or by implication.
  • Sexual or physical contact such as putting your arm around someone, slapping them, kissing, touching or patting them.
  • Repeated sexual invitations when the person invited has refused similar invitations before.


Mark the following statements as true or false.

  • Sexual Harassment only includes physical contact.
  • Sexual Harassment only occurs if the intention to offend, humiliate or intimidate was there.
  • Sexual harassment can take many different forms and may include physical contact, verbal comments, jokes, propositions, the display of offensive material or other behaviour which creates a sexually hostile working environment.

Mark the following statements as true or false.

  • Discriminatory harassment occurs when a person is harassed because of characteristics such as disability, gender, race and age.
  • Not including an individual in office functions because somebody is gay is not harassment.

Mark the following statements as true or false.

  • Personal comments about appearance and size are harassment.
  • Asking persistent questions about a person's private life is not harassment.

What is victimisation?


Victimisation occurs when a person is treated unfairly or less favourably because of making, or intending to make, a complaint of sexual harassment or discrimination, or because a person supported the EEO complaint of another. As with discrimination generally, motive is irrelevant.

It is unacceptable and against the law for any person to be treated differently for the reason that he or she decided to exercise his or her legal rights under EEO laws or to help someone else to do the same.


What is bullying?


Workplace bullying is unreasonable behaviour directed towards an employee, or group of employees, which creates a risk to an employee’s mental or physical health and safety. Generally, bullying involves repeated unreasonable behaviour. However, bullying may also occur on a one off basis, depending on what has transpired.

Unreasonable behaviour is defined as behaviour that a reasonable person in the circumstances would see it as unreasonable – it may be victimising, humiliating, intimidating or threatening. The alleged bullying behaviour must be a substantial cause of the risk of harm. It is not necessary to have proof of actual harm to health and safety, only that there is a risk of such. It includes both psychological and physical health; for example, depression, anxiety, sleep disturbance, nausea or muscle tension.

Bullying can be either direct or indirect. Direct bullying is the more obvious form and is characterised by face-to-face contact such as punching or insulting a person. Indirect bullying is no less serious and is generally conducted out of sight and may be less obvious to others, for example, excluding a staff member from work social functions.


Mark the following statements as true or false.

  • It is against the law for anybody to be treated differently because they decided to exercise his or her legal rights under EEO laws.
  • Colleagues should avoid making complaints under EEO laws to avoid possible difficult situations arising in the workplace.

Mark the following statements as true or false.

  • Bullying creates a risk to an employee's mental and/or physical health and safety.
  • Bullying comprises of only physical abuse.

What happen if I need to make a complaint?

What penalties are there for discrimination, harassment, victimisation and / or bullying?

Discrimination, harassment, bullying and victimisation are unlawful. A person found to have harassed, discriminated against, bullied or victimised colleagues, clients or other individuals can be:

  • Issued a warning.
  • Demoted.
  • Dismissed.
  • Prosecuted in court or a tribunal, or
  • Required to pay damages out of their own pockets.

 

What are my responsibilities?

All people engaged by CHE Proximity are required to report all incidents that they believe may be in breach of this policy.  CHE Proximity expects everyone to actively identify and discourage any behaviour, which may embarrass others or make them feel uncomfortable or unfairly treated or put their mental or physical health at risk.  All employees have the responsibility to support and promote the achievement of equal opportunities.

What can I do if I’m bullied, harassed or victimised?

If you think you are being discriminated against, bullied, victimised, harassed or made to feel uncomfortable at work by an employee, colleague, client or other individual, you have the legal right to speak out to try to stop it happening.  CHE Proximity strongly encourages staff to report incidents of workplace bullying or occupational violence, even though reporting is voluntary and not mandatory.

1.   Tell the other person to stop

If you feel comfortable doing so, you should advise the other person, verbally or in writing, in a direct or firm manner that their behaviour is unacceptable. This may be enough to stop the unwelcome behaviour.

2.   Report your complaint

If you have told the person to stop the behaviour and they have not, or if you are not comfortable raising the matter directly with the alleged perpetrator, you should make a report to your Department Head or Chris Howatson, Managing Partner. They will then quickly and discretely investigate.

3.   Investigation of complaint

If a complaint is to be investigated, both the alleged victim and the alleged perpetrator will be afforded natural justice.  This means that:

Complaints will be investigated promptly;

The allegations will be put to the alleged perpetrator; and

Each party will be given a fair opportunity to express their version of events.

4.   No victimisation of a complainant

You will not be criticised for making an allegation or a complaint (see above).

5.   Outcome of reporting process

Any person who has been found to have bullied, harassed or victimised may be disciplined.  Such a finding will only be made after an investigation has been carried out under this policy.  The discipline will be appropriate to the severity of the offence, but may involve a warning or either dismissal from employment.

In some cases, the unwelcome behaviour may be unfair, but not against the law.  In some cases it may not be possible to substantiate the complaint.  In all cases your complaint will be treated seriously and will be thoroughly investigated and the outcome explained to you.

6.   General

All file notes relating to the complaint will be kept confidential. Only staff involved in particular processes under this policy will have access to the files.  Any person who has been found to have made a complaint that is vexatious or based on facts that the person ought reasonably to believe to be untrue will also be subject to disciplinary sanction.

These guidelines may not be practical for every case and the person you have reported the complaint to, or you, may suggest more applicable resolution procedures.


Mark the following statements as true or false.

  • There can be financial penalties liable from your own pocket for harassment, discrimination, bullying or victimisation.
  • You cannot be prosecuted for harassment, discrimination, bullying or victimisation in the workplace.

Mark the following statements as true or false.

  • You should report all incidents which occur which you believe to be in breach of this policy.
  • You should ignore people who breach this policy as others will have already taken action to stop their behaviour.

Mark the following statements as true or false.

  • After a complaint has been made, an investigation will take place and the outcome explained to you.
  • The investigation will be open so all staff can witness the outcome and be involved.

Conclusion


CHE Proximity strives to have a workplace which is free from discrimination, harassment, bullying or victimisation. In order to achieve this, we all need to play a part.

Consider your own behaviour, make sure your words, actions and the way you behave does not offend, embarrass, intimidate or upset the people around you.  Basically it is about respecting your fellow workmates. 

If you would like to know more about this policy and/or the EEO program, or you wish to make any comments on this policy, please contact any Director of CHE Proximity.