To promote the right of all students, staff and affiliates to work, research and study in an environment free from discrimination, bullying, harassment, hazing, sexual assault, sexual harassment and vilification (henceforth simply discrimination, bullying, and harassment) and to ensure that students, staff and affiliates understand the University’s accountabilities and complaint handling principles. This policy affirms the University’s commitment to:
This policy applies to all members of Council, Staff, Students, and Affiliates of James Cook University, Australia (JCU or the University) while engaged in activities undertaken as part of their study, research and work, or other association with JCU.
Except as otherwise specified in this policy, the meaning of terms used in this policy are as per the Policy Glossary (https://www.jcu.edu.au/policy/learning-and-teaching/glossary-of-terms-for-policies-in-the-Student-and-teaching-and-course-management-chapters-of-the-policy-library):
Is a person (other than a Staff member or Student) who is affiliated with JCU by letter of appointment or invitation to work, research or study at the University for a particular activity and for a prescribed timeframe and who is bound to comply with the University’s policies during that period.
Bullying is repeated and unreasonable behaviour directed towards a person or group of people that creates a risk to health and safety:
What is not bullying
The following behaviours do not constitute bullying:
Is a Complainant’s expression of dissatisfaction that their rights, existing interests and/or reasonable expectations under this policy have been adversely and unjustifiably affected because of an action, decision or omission within the control or responsibility of JCU.
A person(s) who makes a complaint under this policy.
Consent means the free and voluntary agreement to participate in an activity which may include an intimate or sexual relationship. Circumstances where the ability to give free and voluntary consent may be impaired, or subsequently withdrawn, include:
Has the same meaning as contained in the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 (Qld), Age Discrimination Act 2004 (Cth), Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth), Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth), Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth). Discrimination, including direct and indirect discrimination, occurs when a person is treated less favourably or harassed in certain areas of public life including their employment because of a personal characteristic or attribute, whether real or imputed, including the setting of a requirement, condition or practice that is unreasonable and that people with a particular characteristic cannot meet. The grounds for which a complaint may be made under this policy include discrimination, and harassment based on one or more of the following characteristics:
Discrimination can be on the basis of Direct or Indirect Discrimination:
What is not unlawful discrimination:
The following conduct does not constitute unlawful discrimination:
Equity Contact Officer(s)
A person who has been trained by or on behalf of JCU to act as an Equity Contact Officer.
A first responder in this context is a member of staff approached by a Complainant with a report or complaint involving discrimination, bullying, harassment, hazing, or sexual assault (as differentiated from an emergency services first responder such as police or ambulance personnel).
Harassment occurs when a person, or a group of people, is intimidated, insulted or humiliated because of one or more characteristics, or from working in a hostile or intimidating environment that makes a person feel offended, humiliated or intimidated, and where that reaction is reasonable in the circumstances. Harassment can arise as the result of a single incident as well as repeated incidents (e.g. hazing).
Hazing is any action or situation, with or without the consent of the participants, which recklessly, intentionally, or unintentionally endangers the mental, physical, or academic health or safety of a Student and can include the practice of rituals, challenges, and other activities as a way of initiating a person into a group including a new residential college, team, or club.
Natural justice, also known as procedural fairness, is concerned with the procedures used to arrive at a decision, rather than the decision reached. It requires a fair and transparent process. The Complainant and Respondent must both be afforded natural justice, which includes the Respondent being sufficiently informed of the allegation to allow for a meaningful response. Natural justice requires:
These rules involve Complainants and Respondents having a reasonable opportunity to prepare and present a case and to have their cases considered justly.
A person(s) against whom a complaint is made.
Sexual assault is any unwanted or forced sexual activity without consent. It covers a broad range of sexual activity. Both women and men can be sexually assaulted. Sexual assault includes:
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 or intimidated, and where that reaction is reasonable in the circumstances. Examples of sexual harassment include, but are not limited to:
Sexual harassment is prohibited by theAnti-Discrimination Act 1991 (Qld).
Has the same meaning as contained in the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 (Qld). Specifically, a person must not, by a public act, incite hatred towards, serious contempt for, or severe ridicule of, a person or group of persons on the ground of the race, religion, sexuality or gender identity of the person or members of the group.
The University confirms that:
1. Making a complaint
1.1 On receipt of a complaint, JCU will sensitively facilitate timely and appropriate action through appropriate avenues. These avenues include alternative dispute resolution as well as procedures for making formal complaints under the Student Complaint Management Policy and Procedures in the case of student complainants; and the Discrimination, Bullying and Harassment Complaint Procedure for Staff and Affiliates and Staff Code of Conduct in the case of staff/affiliate complainants.
1.2 Natural justice principles shall apply to the handling of complaints under this policy.
1.3 Except to the extent that disclosure is required or authorised by legislation, confidentiality will be maintained to the greatest possible extent, with communication limited to persons to whom disclosure is consistent with official position and responsibility, or with specific responsibility to assist in the resolution of the complaint.
2. Accountabilities and responsibilities
2.1 Managers and Supervisors. Members of the University community in management or supervisory positions have responsibility to ensure that, when an instance of bullying, harassment or discrimination is brought to their attention, they take appropriate action to remedy the situation expeditiously.
2.2 Director Human Resources (HR). In addition to the accountabilities and responsibilities which the Director HR has under other JCU policies and procedures, and the JCU Enterprise Agreement. The Director HR will facilitate the provision of education and information to discourage discrimination, bullying and harassment for staff; monitoring the effectiveness of this policy; and providing a report to the Vice Chancellor’s Advisory Committee and the University’s Joint Consultative Committee annually.
2.3 Director Student Services. The Director Student Services has accountabilities and responsibilities under the Student Misconduct Procedures where the respondent to a complaint of bullying, discrimination or harassment is a student.
2.4 Dean Learning, Teaching and Student Engagement (LTSE). The Dean LTSE will facilitate the provision of education and information to discourage discrimination, bullying and harassment for students including supporting Residential Assistant training within the Residential Colleges and the JCUSA Advocates; and monitor the effectiveness of this policy including through counselling services provided by Student Equity and Wellbeing.
2.5 Equity Contact Officers. Equity Contact Officers (ECO) are identified members of the University community who have received training in these roles as required by the Director HR. Support provided by ECOs may include, but is not limited to:
An ECO must not:
2.6. Other support available. In addition, the ECOs may refer staff, students or affiliates to other support and advocacy services such as the Employee Assistance Program provided through HR, advocate services with the JCU Student Association, Student Complaints and/or Student Equity and Wellbeing Counselling services.
3. Consequences of Breach
3.1 Breaches of this Policy will be addressed through the disciplinary procedures prescribed for Staff (including the University’s Code of Conduct and the Enterprise Agreement as amended or replaced from time to time), Students (including the Student Conduct Policy), and Affiliates. Depending upon the severity and implications of the breach, sanctions may include legal action, a formal warning, retraining, and/or other disciplinary action (such as suspension or termination of employment, or suspension or exclusion from the University).
Queensland State Laws
Date for next review:
Minor amendment to clause 1.1, changed ‘respondent’ to ‘complainant’
Chief of Staff
Changes to definition of Sexual Harassment as approved by Council 07/09/2017
Chief of Staff
Major review, changes made to Discrimination and Harassment Policy including name change and change of policy domain.
Vanessa Cannon, Chief of Staff