Prevention of Bullying, Harassment and Discrimination Policy and Procedures


Background


The University is committed to protecting the rights and dignity of members of the University community

The University does not tolerate any form of harassment, bullying or discrimination

The University expects all members to abide by the laws that protect against bullying, harassment and discrimination and to treat each other with respect, courtesy and consideration at all times

Application


The University community

Purpose


To support a safe, inclusive and equitable environment in which all members of the University community are treated with dignity and respect

Policy


1.    All members of the University community have a responsibility to ensure that they:

  • do not bully, harass, discriminate against or victimise any person
  • discourage any form of harassment, bullying or discrimination by making it clear that such behaviour is unacceptable
  • support any member of the University that feels they have been subject to harassment, bullying or discrimination, including supporting them to make a formal complaint if appropriate

2.    In addition to the above obligations, all managers, supervisors, academic heads, and the senior management team are to take all reasonable steps to:

  • ensure that the environment is free from harassment, bullying and discrimination
  • ensure that all staff members reporting to them are familiar with, and understand their obligations under this policy
  • treat all complaints seriously and take prompt steps to resolve any complaints made under this policy
  • protect and support the right of all members of the University Community to use the resolution procedure in this policy and supporting guidelines

Good faith

3.    All complaints made under this policy must be made in good faith and not be of a frivolous or vexatious nature

4.    The University may take disciplinary action against the an individual who makes a complaint of a frivolous or vexatious nature

Confidentiality

5.    All information relating to alleged or proven breaches of this policy must be treated strictly in accordance with the requirements of the Privacy Act

6.    Information must not be disclosed without the complainants consent, unless the complaint is serious and an academic head, manager, proctor, or human resources representative believes that action needs to be taken. In such a situation it may not be possible to maintain absolute confidentiality even if a complainant does not wish the matter to be taken further, however the complainant is to be advised of the disclosure

7.    The obligation of confidentiality does not prevent the University from using or disclosing any material necessary to instigate or defend any legal proceedings, or make submissions in relation to any enquiry or complaint or to refer a matter to the police

8.    Information must only be disclosed to those people who the University believes need to know about the complaint

Records

9.    All individuals involved in any aspect of the support, complaints or discipline processes must familiarise themselves with and observe the principles of data protection as established by the Privacy Act

10. The Human Resources department (and the Proctor, if the complaint involves a student) are to be consulted about the correct filing and retention of all notes and documents related to complaints under this policy

Note - Notes taken at meetings will ideally be agreed by all present

Related procedures


Pathways for resolution

11. There are a number of different options for dealing with complaints of bullying, harassment and discrimination: For further information see the associated guidelines

Self-resolution and informal resolution

12.    An individual may consider approaching the person or people involved to resolve the concern, by means of direct discussion or by a written communication

13.    If a complaint cannot be resolved by direct discussion, or an individual does not feel comfortable addressing the issue face to face or in writing, they may discuss the matter with and seek guidance about making a formal complaint from an appropriate person, as listed in the guidelines

Formal complaint

14.    An individual making a complaint, should do so as soon as possible after the conduct they are concerned about occurs

15.    Complaints are to be directed to one of the appropriate individuals as outlined in the supporting guidelines 

16.    The recipient of a complaint is to examine the issue and determine the process – depending on the nature of the complaint and statute or policy under which the complaint is being made

17.     At this time the complainant must supply all relevant evidence supporting the complaint

18.    The recipient of the complaint is to ensure the complainant is aware that this evidence will be presented to the alleged  perpetrator

19.    Any conflict of interest must be identified and managed in accordance with the Conflict of Interest Policy

20.    Where the alleged perpetrator is a member of staff, any investigation into the complaint is to follow the appropriate disciplinary procedures as outlined in the applicable schedule in the Collective or Individual Employment Agreement and/or relevant policy (resolution flowchart)

21.     Where bullying, harassment or discrimination as defined in this policy is found to be carried out by a staff member it may be deemed to be serious misconduct

22.     Where the alleged perpetrator is a student, the investigation must be conducted in accordance with the Statute for Student Discipline (2013 link to clause 5) and taking into account the procedural guidelines in the Discipline Committee Procedures. The complaint, in the first instance, is to be directed to the academic head and/or Proctor or, where the alleged actions are within a University residence, the residential manager (resolution flowchart)

Note - Any complaint or concern about student behaviour should be discussed with the Proctor, who can undertake or advise about investigation

23.     Where bullying, harassment or discrimination as defined in this policy is found to be carried out by a student the penalties specified in the Student Discipline Statute may be applied

Note- This process may result in disciplinary action under the Statute for Student Discipline

Note- Where a crime has been committed, staff members and students are advised to make a complaint to the police

 

Definitions


The following definitions apply to this document:

Academic head covers heads of departments, schools and other teaching and research units at Level 3 in the University Organisation Structure

Bullying is any repeated unreasonable behaviour, in any environment, that is directed towards a person, or group of people, that creates a risk to their mental or physical health and safety. This includes cyberbullying

Cyberbullying is the use of electronic communication to bully, harass or frighten a person, typically by sending messages of an intimidating or threatening nature

Discrimination can occur directly or indirectly, and can be unlawful when relating to particular legislative requirements:

direct discrimination occurs when a person is treated less favourably than another person, in the same or similar circumstances, because of a prohibited ground such as their sex, colour, religious belief, race, marital status, ethnic or national origin, family status, ethical belief, sexual orientation, political opinion, age, employment status or disability.

indirect discrimination occurs when there is a requirement, rule, policy, practice or procedure that is the same for everyone, but has an unequal effect on particular groups. This type of requirement is likely to be indirect discrimination unless the requirement is reasonable in all the circumstances

unlawful discrimination occurs when one person is treated less favourably than someone else is treated, or would be treated, in the same or similar circumstances, because that person has a particular attribute, such as sex, colour, religious belief, race, marital status, ethnic or national origin, family status, ethical belief, sexual orientation, political opinion, age, employment status or disability that is specifically listed in Human Rights legislation

Environment means both physical environments at the University and online platforms including internet, intranet and social media. 

Harassment is unwelcome conduct that is offensive, humiliating or intimidating to any other person and is either repeated, or of such significant nature that it has a detrimental effect on the person, their performance or their work and study environment. It includes racial, and sexual harassment.

Members refers to all members of the University Community

Racial harassment is the use of language, or visual material or physical behaviour that expresses hostility against, or brings into contempt or ridicule, any other person on the ground of the colour, race, or ethnic or national origins of that person; is hurtful or offensive; and is either repeated or serious enough to have a detrimental effect on a person in one of the areas specified by the Human Rights Act 1993

Sexual harassment is unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature that is offensive, humiliating or intimidating to any other person and is either repeated, or of such a significant nature, that it has a detrimental effect on the person, their performance or their work and study environment. It is unlawful to sexually harass another person even if there was no intention to harass the person

Staff members refers to an individual employed by the University on a full time or part time basis

Stalking refers to pattern of repeated threatening or harassing behaviours that directly or indirectly communicate a threat, or place the victim in fear

University means the University of Auckland and includes all subsidiaries

University community includes all staff members (whether permanent, temporary or part time), honorary staff, students (whether full time or part time), contractors, subcontractors, consultants, alumni, associates, business partners or official visitors or guests of members of the University or UniServices

Unreasonable behaviour means actions that a reasonable person in the same circumstances would see as unreasonable.  It includes victimising, humiliating or threatening a person

Victimisation occurs if someone suffers detrimental treatment because they have made, or propose to make, in good faith, an allegation of harassment, or appear as a support, or a witness, or provide information about such an allegation

Document management and control


Owner: Director, Human Resources

Content manager: Associate Director, HR Advisory  

Approved by: Vice-Chancellor

Date approved: 4 February 2016

Review date: 4 February 2019