Bullying and occupational violence policy

Intent and objectives

To provide a work environment that is free from bullying and occupational violence.

Objectives

The objectives of this policy are:

  • to convey clearly to all staff that behaviour which constitutes bullying or occupational violence will not be tolerated in any form at RMIT University
  • to encourage the University community to understand, and to have access to, the information and training needed to prevent bullying or occupational violence and to address any incidents
  • to encourage the early reporting of any allegations of bullying or occupational violence
  • to provide support for those staff who report bullying or occupational violence
  • to investigate and resolve complaints of alleged bullying or occupational violence received from persons covered by the scope of this policy
  • to ensure, as far as is practicable, that the persons covered by the scope of this policy are not victimised or penalised for reporting the alleged bullying or occupational violence to the University

Scope

This policy is applicable to all staff, contractors, service providers, clients, customers and visitors when they are engaged in University activities and is applicable to all RMIT locations whether in Australia or overseas.

Exclusions

Nil

Policy provisions

All persons covered by the scope of this policy are expected to behave in a manner that does not constitute bullying or occupational violence.

RMIT has a legal responsibility to prevent bullying and occupational violence otherwise it can be held liable for the behaviour of its employees. All persons covered by the scope of this policy are required to:

  • Comply with this policy
  • Behave appropriately
  • Promote a climate of mutual respect
  • Maintain confidentiality concerning any complaint or investigation

Managers and supervisors are accountable for the conduct of the people they manage at RMIT. Managers and supervisors will actively participate in complying with and promoting the policy by:

  • Maintaining an environment, that encourages communication between all members of their team
  • Assessing and monitoring the work environment to ensure that bullying risk factors (organisational change, negative leadership styles, poor work systems, poor workplace relationships and vulnerable workers), that may exist are appropriately managed and do not lead to bullying behaviours
  • Identifying, preventing and redressing problems expeditiously, without prejudice or victimisation
  • Recruiting, promoting, training, developing and transferring staff on the basis of merit and performance
  • Ensuring that all University people management practices, policies and procedures, are applied fairly and consistently
  • Practising behaviours that are not bullying in type
  • Responsibly acting upon any behaviour within the working environment that may be construed as bullying
  • Providing confidential advice and information to staff, including acting upon any complaints that staff may make, or lodge, in accordance to University policies or procedures

A manager or supervisor who does not take action to prevent or address workplace bullying or occupational violence will be at risk of both disciplinary action and being in breach of, and subject to sanctions under, the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004.

The Crimes Amendment (Bullying) Act 2011 extends existing criminal laws to make the offence of stalking apply to individuals in situations of serious bullying.

All staff members are encouraged to take measures to prevent, and to take action to address, bullying behaviour.

How to deal with breaches of this policy

Any complaints made by staff members under this policy will be dealt with via the Staff complaints procedure.

If a serious breach of this policy by a customer, contractor, service provider or visitor, while engaging with University staff is confirmed, appropriate action must be taken in accordance with the relevant Service Contract or Agreement with the University.

All reports of this type of behaviour will be treated seriously.

The consequences for breaching the Bullying and occupational violence policy will depend on the seriousness of the case. Outcomes may include, but are not restricted to the following:

  • Disciplinary action,
  • Dismissal or suspension, against the person found responsible for bullying where the behaviour is considered to be repeated and/or serious misconduct.
  • Disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal or suspension, against the person making a complaint of bullying if, after investigation, the complaint is found to have been malicious or vexatious.
  • Disciplinary action may be taken against anyone who retaliates against a person who has made a complaint.
  • In some circumstances it would be a recommendation that the matter be reported to the Victoria Police, particularly incidents which involve sexual or physical assault, ases of serious bullying and stalking.

[Next: Supporting documents and information ]