1. Purpose of policy
The University of the Sunshine Coast has a legal and moral responsibility to ensure that staff, students and visitors are not subjected to behaviours or practices that may constitute discrimination or harassment.
2. Policy scope and application
This policy applies to all University staff, officers, students and visitors.
Please refer to the University’s Glossary of Terms for policies and procedures. Terms and definitions identified below are specific to these procedures and are critical to its effectiveness:
Discrimination means to treat an individual less favourably because of an attribute or to impose unreasonable terms or conditions for which individuals with a particular attribute are unable to comply. Attributes include:
• parental status
• religious belief or activity
• political belief or activity
• relationship status
• lawful sexual activity
• gender identity
• race, nationality or ethnic origin
• disability or impairment
• trade union activity
• family responsibilities
• physical appearance (body shape and size)
• association with, or relation to, a person identified on the basis of any of the above attributes.
Discrimination can be either direct or indirect. Direct discrimination takes place when an individual is disadvantaged or treated less favourably than another person. Indirect discrimination happens when a practice or policy appears to be fair because it treats everyone the same way but actually disadvantages people from a particular group.
Vilification on the grounds of religion, sexuality or gender identity is also unlawful.
Harassment is any form of behaviour that is unwelcome, unsolicited, unreciprocated and usually (but not always) repeated. It is behaviour that is likely to offend, humiliate or intimidate. Harassment can be based on any of the attributes listed under the definition of discrimination and for example can include sexual, disability, racial, sexuality or gender based harassment.
Sexual harassment means any unsolicited, unwelcome and unreciprocated behaviour act or conduct of a sexual nature that embarrasses, humiliates or offends other persons. It can be a single incident or a persistent pattern and can range from subtle behaviour to explicit demands for sexual activity or even criminal assault and including but not limited to the following examples:
• inappropriate jokes or comments with sexual connotations
• the display of offensive material
• stares and leers or offensive hand or body gestures
• comments and questions about another person’s sexual conduct and/or private relationships
• persistent unwelcome invitations
• requests for sexual favours
• offensive written, telephone or electronic mail or other computer system communications
• unnecessary close physical proximity including persistently following a person
• unwelcome physical contact such as brushing against or touching a person
• denigrating comments regarding a person’s gender or sexual preference
• negative behaviours, e.g., intimidation or exclusions related to the sex of the recipient
Victimisation means treating someone unfairly because they have made, or intend to make, a discrimination or harassment complaint. This also includes those who have supported another person in making a complaint. Victimisation of any person involved in a complaint is unacceptable and may constitute an infringement of the Staff Code of Conduct – Governing Policy or Student Conduct – Governing Policy.
Workplace bullying is defined as repeated and unreasonable behaviour directed towards a worker or a group of workers that creates a risk to health and safety. For further information, refer to the University’s Preventing and Responding to Workplace Bullying – Governing Policy. It is possible for a person to be bullied, harassed and discriminated against at the same time.
4. Policy Statement
The University is committed to fostering the right of individuals to be free from discrimination and harassment while engaged in activities undertaken as part of their study, employment, or other forms of association with the University of the Sunshine Coast.
All members of the University community are to be treated with courtesy and respect in accordance with the Staff Code of Conduct – Governing Policy and the Student Conduct – Governing Policy. Discrimination and harassment will not be tolerated under any circumstances and the University will take all reasonable steps to eliminate discrimination and harassment of or by staff, students, visitors and other members of the University community.
The University will use educative approaches for the prevention of discrimination and harassment, ensuring staff and students know their rights and responsibilities, and to encourage the reporting of behaviour that breaches this policy.
Should a complaint of alleged harassment or discrimination arise, the University will take timely and appropriate action through the following procedures:
- In the case of a student making an allegation, the Student Grievance Resolution – Governing Policy and associated Procedures.
- In the case of staff members or University visitors making an allegation, the Staff Discrimination and Harassment Complaint - Procedures.
The following authorities are delegated under this policy:
|Ensuring the maintenance of a work and study environment which is free from discrimination and harassment||All staff, students and visitors|
|Ensuring that, when an allegation of discrimination or harassment is brought to their attention, that appropriate action to remedy the situation is expeditiously taken.||Managers and supervisors|
|Monitoring and reporting regularly to the Vice-Chancellor and President on the operation of this policy||Director, Human Resources Director, Student Services and Engagement|