Purpose - Why do we have this policy?
We believe it is the right of every team member to be able to attend work and to perform their duties without being subjected to any form of sexual harassment.
Equally, it is the obligation and responsibility of every team member to ensure that our workplace is free from sexual harassment. We have outlined the definition of sexual harassment below so that you can better understand of your rights and responsibilities.
Sexual harassment is an unwelcome sexual advance, unwelcome request for sexual favours or other unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature which makes a person feel offended, humiliated and/or intimidated, where a reasonable person would anticipate that reaction in the circumstances.
The Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth) defines the nature and circumstances in which sexual harassment is unlawful. It is also unlawful for a person to be victimised for making, or proposing to make, a complaint of sexual harassment to the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission.
Examples of sexually harassing behaviour include:
staring or leering
suggestive comments or jokes
sexually explicit pictures or posters
unwanted invitations to go out on dates
requests for sex
intrusive questions about a person's private life or body
unnecessary familiarity, such as deliberately brushing up against a person
insults or taunts based on sex
sexually explicit physical contact
sexually explicit emails, SMS or other messages.
We will not tolerate sexual harassment under any circumstances. Responsibility lies with the CEO and all team members to ensure that sexual harassment does not occur in our workplace.
Both federal and state Equal Employment Opportunity legislation provide that sexual harassment is unlawful. Australian Street Aid Project considers that legislative obligations under the Act, establishes minimum standards of behaviour for all employees.
The principles set out In this policy are intended to apply to any work related context, including conferences, work functions, social events and business trips.
No team member at any level should subject any other team member, customer or visitor to any form of sexual harassment.
A breach of this policy will result in disciplinary action. Depending upon the severity of the case, consequences may include apology, counselling, dismissal or other forms of disciplinary action deemed appropriate.
We strongly encourage any team member who feels they have been sexually harassed to take immediate action, preferably by making it clear that such behaviour is unwelcome and offensive; alternatively, or in addition, they may follow the procedures for reporting the behaviour.
Any reports of sexual harassment will be treated seriously and promptly with sensitivity. Such reports will be treated as completely confidential up to the point where a formal or informal complaint is lodged against a particular person, at which point that person must be notified under the rules of natural justice.
If you make a complaint, you have the right to determine how to have your complaint treated, to have support of representation throughout the process and the option to discontinue your complaint at any stage of the process.
The alleged harasser also has the right to have support or representation during any investigation as well as the right to respond fully to any formal allegations made. There will be no presumptions of guilt and no determination made until a full investigation has been completed.
No team member will be treated unfairly because of rejecting unwanted advances. Disciplinary action may be taken against anyone who victimises or retaliates against a person who has complained of sexual harassment or against any team member who has been alleged to be a harasser.
All team members have the right to seek the help of the relevant tribunal or legislative body to assist them in the resolution of any concerns.
The CEO or Chair of the Board or delegated member who does not take appropriate corrective action when aware of harassment of a person will be subject to disciplinary action.
What this means for you
Sexual harassment is against the law, and you could lose your job or be subject to other disciplinary action if you sexually harass anyone involved with Australian Street Aid Project Ltd. at any time or anywhere.
If you think someone is sexually harassing you, tell them that you don’t like it and ask them to stop it.
You can also report it to your manager or another person.
If someone makes a complaint about you, you have the right to be treated fairly as the allegation is being investigated.
You have the right to be treated fairly if you reject someone’s unwanted advances or make a complaint about someone harassing you.
You have the right to seek help if a matter is dealt with under the law.
The CEO and the chair must take suitable action, under this policy and the law.
It is the responsibility of the CEO and/or Chair of the Board or delegated member to ensure that:
● They understand and are committed to the rights and entitlements of all employees to attend work and perform their duties without fear of being sexually harassed in any form.
● They understand what constitutes an act of sexual harassment.
● All reasonable steps are made to eliminate sexual harassment.
● All employees are regularly made aware of their obligations in relation to providing a workplace free from sexual harassment.
● They provide an environment which discourages harassment and victimisation and set an example by their own behaviour.
● They treat all complaints seriously and confidentially.
● They take immediate and appropriate corrective action if they become aware of any offensive action.
It is the responsibility of the CEO to ensure that:
● Guidance and education is provided, where requested and or appropriate to cases and subsequent decisions relating to sexual harassment.
● They are aware of their obligations and responsibilities in relation to sexual harassment and the rights and entitlements of their employees.
● Ongoing support and guidance is provided to all employees in relation to the prevention of sexual harassment.
Sexual harassment can occur at any level of the organisation, can be experienced by both women and men and may involve a co-worker, CEO or service user. Lack of intent is no defence in sexual harassment cases.
If you believe you are being sexually harassed, you should take firm, positive and prompt action.
You can request support by any of the following methods:
• Talking to the CEO about it.
• You can also find out more about your rights at www.fairwork.gov.au
You can talk to the person you believe is or has harassed you:
• Make the perceived harasser(s) aware that you find their behaviour offensive, unwelcome, unacceptable and that it needs to stop immediately.
• If the behaviour continues, or if you feel unable to speak to the person(s) directly, you should contact the CEO, and/or Chair of the Board or delegated member.
• Alternatively, a team member may contact the CEO or Chair of the Board or delegated member. Email email@example.com. The chairperson’s name and contact phone number can be obtained from the CEO.
The CEO and/or Chair of the Board or delegated member will provide support and ascertain the nature of the complaint and the wishes of the complainant.
You don’t have to request a full formal investigation if you would prefer a less formal treatment of the issue.
The CEO and/or Chair of the Board or delegated member will explain your rights and responsibilities under our policy, procedures and Equal Employment Opportunity or Anti-Discrimination legislation.
Informal intervention may be undertaken through a process of mediation or conciliation. During informal intervention the alleged harasser will be made aware of the allegations being made against them and given the right to respond.
This procedure will be complete when you and the person you have complained about, come to an agreement on the actions to be followed. If this occurs, no record will be made of the complaint and outcome and any subsequent complaint will begin over again. If this does not occur, the formal procedure should be followed.
Formal Complaints Procedure
Proceeding with a formal complaint requires the consent of the person complaining, particularly as witnesses or other staff may become involved.
The formal procedure will be coordinated by the CEO and/or Chair of the Board or delegated member.
The CEO and/or Chair of the Board or delegated member should clarify the complaint and obtain a step-by-step account of the incident. More than one interview may be necessary.
The CEO and/or Chair of the Board or delegated member will document all such interviews accurately and avoid irrelevant information. Relevant information will include parties involved, timing, location and nature of conduct complained against.
Records are to be kept and filed in a confidential and secure place. These records should be kept for a period of seven years. Under no circumstances will records be placed on the complainant’s personnel file.
The CEO and/or Chair of the Board or delegated member will organise an investigation, which in most cases may involve, but is not limited to:
● A private interview to ascertain the facts and what the complainant expects to happen because of making the complaint.
● An interview with the alleged harasser (s) to ascertain their defence.
● Interviews with other employees, volunteers or individuals who may be able to assist.
● Interviews with CEO and/or Chair of the Board or delegated member.
● Examination of any relevant documents.
● Determination of previous behaviours or issues.
The CEO and/or Chair of the Board or delegated member should collate evidence. Such evidence may include:
● Supporting evidence provided by a medical practitioner, counsellor, family member, friend or co-worker.
● CEO reports and personnel records (e.g., unexplained request for shift changes, sudden increase in sick leave).
● Complaints or information provided by other team members about the behaviour of the alleged harasser.
● Records kept by the person claiming to have been harassed.
● Information on whether the evidence was presented by the parties in a credible and consistent manner.
● Information on the absence of evidence where it should logically exist.
On completion of the investigation, the complainant and the CEO and/or Chair of the Board or delegated member will determine a course of action to be taken.
Possible course of actions may include, but not be limited to any combination of the following:
● Disciplinary action against the harasser (e.g., suspension, probation or dismissal)
● Official warnings that are noted in the respondent’s personnel file
● Disciplinary action against the person who complained if there is strong evidence that the complaint was vexatious or malicious
● Formal apologies and undertaking that the behaviour will cease
● Conciliation/mediation conducted by an impartial third party where the parties to the complaint agree to a mutually acceptable resolution
Outcomes will depend upon factors such as:
● The severity and frequency of the harassment
● The weight of evidence
● The wishes of the person who was harassed
● Whether the harasser could have been expected to know that such behaviour was a breach of policy
● The level of contrition
● Whether there have been any prior incidents or warnings.
The CEO and/or Chair of the Board or delegated member will advise all relevant parties of the outcome.
If the investigation determines that sexual harassment has occurred, a summary of the complaint and the action taken should be placed in the respondent’s personnel file.
If there is insufficient proof to decide whether the harassment occurred, the CEO and/or Chair of the Board or delegated member will:
● Remind those involved of expected standards of conduct
● Conduct further training and awareness raising sessions for staff
● Monitor the situation carefully.
The CEO and/or Chair of the Board or delegated member will monitor the outcome to ensure that the offensive behaviour has ceased and neither party has been victimised. This may involve follow up interviews.
If there has been any substantiated victimisation, disciplinary procedures will be followed.
Procedures for dealing with Criminal Content
Some forms of severe sexual harassment (e.g., sexual assault, stalking, indecent exposure, physical molestation, obscene phone calls) may constitute criminal conduct.
While Australian Street Aid Project Ltd. is committed to treat most sexual harassment complaints at a company level as far as possible, this type of conduct is not suited to internal resolution. Such complaints should be treated by the criminal system.
In relation to alleged criminal offences such as rape or sexual assault, the matter must be immediately referred to the Chair of the Board or delegated member. Team Members should be advised of the option of police support of the complainant.
In the event of any conflict or inconsistency of information, the policy statement and details prevail over the “what this means for you” statement.