Staff Code of Conduct

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Staff Code of Conduct

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The University’s Code of Conduct reaffirms the University’s commitment to the ethical principles detailed in the Queensland Public Sector Ethics Act 1994, by making clear that all staff are required to abide by this code, behaving professionally and with respect and consideration of others.

University staff must abide by the laws of the State and Commonwealth, local government regulations and be aware of and work in accordance with the University of the Sunshine Coast Act 1998, University statutes, policies and procedures. Staff will not engage in criminal or illegal behaviour.

The Code of Conduct and having respect for the law and system of government, does not detract from the academic freedom of staff. Staff can assume the right to pursue and open inquiry and engage in constructive criticism on matters of public concern within their area of expertise.

What is the Code of Conduct?

The University’s Code of Conduct provides guidance on acceptable standards of behaviour for staff at the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC).

USC staff must always conduct and present themselves in a professional and responsible manner and demonstrate respect for others. Staff members must treat all people equitably and fairly with a commitment to an inclusive workplace that is free from harassment.

Staff members are not to engage in behaviours which may be unwelcome or which may victimise, be offensive or humiliating to others regardless of whether this occurs face-to-face, in writing, via email or via social networking media. Such behaviour may amount to harassment and may be unlawful under anti-discrimination legislation.

Staff members are expected to act responsibly and not allow alcohol or drugs to affect performance whilst acting in an official capacity.

A staff member with supervisory responsibilities has an important role in creating a fair and just working environment and has a particular obligation to the staff they supervise to lead by example and maintain high standards of conduct.

Supervisors are required to:

  • act equitably and consistently in their dealings with all their staff
  • ensure their staff understand the performance standards expected of them
  • provide guidance and directions to staff in a reasonable way
  • provide equitable access to appropriate development and promotional opportunities
  • provide reasonable accommodations and flexibility for staff with a disability, illness, family responsibilities or to allow religious or cultural observance.

Who does the Code of Conduct apply to?

This Code of Conduct applies to all staff and people representing the University in any capacity including:

  • visiting, honorary and adjunct academics
  • members of University Council
  • external members of University committees, and
  • individuals acting in a voluntary capacity

What are the Ethical Principles and Standards of Conduct?

The Code of Conduct is shaped around four key ethics principles that are intended to guide ethical decision making and behaviour. Each principle is strengthened by the standards of conduct describing the kind of behaviour that demonstrates that principle. The principles and associated standards are equally important.

The ethics principles are:

  • integrity and impartiality
  • promoting the public good
  • commitment to the system of government
  • accountability and transparency

Commitment to the highest ethical standards

All staff are expected to:

  • be honest, impartial and conscientious when carrying out their duties
  • ensure the principles of natural justice are observed
  • ensure all decisions are made ethically
  • report genuinely suspected wrongdoing, fraud, corrupt conduct or maladministration to the appropriate University Officer or external authority (Public Interest Disclosure Act 2010 – refer to the University’s Public Interest Disclosure – Governing Policy)

Staff members using University resources for outside work must do so in compliance with the University’s Outside Work and Private Practice - Managerial Policy.

Staff members must not accept any gifts or benefits in connection with the performance of their duties and can only do so in accordance with USC’s Giving and Receipt of Gifts and Benefits in Relation to Staff of the University – Managerial Policy.

What does the Code of Conduct mean for USC staff?

Avoid improper use of position
All University staff must adhere to the highest standards of honesty in scholarship and professional practice. Improper use of a staff member’s position includes actions which may result in detriment to the University or in real, potential or apparent advantage to a staff member, or any other person or organisation.

Promoting public good
Staff are encouraged to promote public good by contributing to achieving USC’s values as outlined in the Strategic Plan.

Efficiently and economically manage University resources
Staff are expected to accept and value their duty to manage public resources effectively, efficiently and economically.

Natural justice
All staff should observe the principles of natural justice in their decision making. Natural justice requires an absence of bias, the presentation of substantial reliable evidence, and right of the person affected to hear all of the material evidence and be given adequate time and a fair and reasonable opportunity to respond.

Manage conflicts of interest
A staff member must not improperly use their official powers or position or allow these powers to be improperly used. Any conflict that may arise between personal interest and official duty must be resolved in favour of the public interest. The University is committed to demonstrating impartiality and integrity by requiring staff to declare conflicts of interest.

Accountability and transparency
The University requires staff to recognise they have a responsibility to perform their duties to the best of their ability and carry out their duties in a professional and conscientious manner. University staff must:

  • exercise proper diligence, care and attention
  • be transparent in business dealings
  • use all facilities appropriately, and
  • use and manage official information appropriately

Consequences of non-compliance
Where a staff member suspects a breach of the Code may have occurred they may seek advice from their Supervisor, Cost Centre Manager or Human Resources.

A staff member whose conduct falls below the standards outlined in the Code will be dealt with in accordance with the relevant University procedures. Other members of the University community who do no comply with this Code may have their association with the University terminated and rights of access to University services, facilities or infrastructure revoked. Some breaches of the Code may also have consequences for staff members and other members of the University community under criminal or civil provisions of the general law.

An alleged breach of this Code by a staff member may be dealt with under the relevant sections of the University’s Enterprise Agreement (2014-2018).

Who to contact with questions?

If you have any questions about the Code of Conduct, please contact your Supervisor, Cost Centre Manager or Human Resources on 5430 2830.

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