Purpose & Scope
Hireup is committed to providing an environment in which all users are free from harassment, bullying and discrimination.
This policy is a framework for complying with our legal obligations to prevent harassment (including sexual harassment), bullying and discrimination.
It is designed to educate all users on what behaviour is expected of them and their colleagues in the course of their work, as well as behaviour that will not be tolerated.
This policy applies to all support workers, persons seeking support, account managers, contractors, and any others present in the workplace (such as family members). This policy applies anytime a user is participating in the Hireup community, whether that’s attending a support shift, attending a work related event or function, interacting with the Hireup team or any user of Hireup, or interacting with other members of the Hireup community between support shifts. For the purposes of this policy, each of these scenarios is considered to be the “workplace”.
This policy is to be read in conjunction with Hireup’s Code of Conduct and the NDIS Code of Conduct.
We hold strong beliefs about how people should be treated and supported in the workplace. This policy is an important instrument in supporting us to uphold these values by offering a set of guidelines about how to act, treat each other and conduct ourselves.
Hireup is an equal opportunity employer. We strive to create a safe, fair and enjoyable workplace for all.
All Hireup employees have a right to work in a safe and non-threatening environment. Hireup will not tolerate any unlawful harassment, bullying, discrimination or victimisation in the workplace, including during any Hireup booking or during any work-related functions or events.
Hireup values workplace respect and dignity and strives to achieve a workplace where everyone is treated fairly and with courtesy, and this policy relies upon these values.
Anyone who observes or is otherwise aware of behaviour which they believe to be in breach of this policy is encouraged to report this through Hireup’s reporting processes. More information on the reporting process can be found in our incident report process.
When establishing if harassment, sexual harassment or bullying has occured, it is based on how the behaviour was reasonably percieved by the person subject to it (and not the intent of the person behaving in that manner), keeping in mind that a ‘reasonable person’ must have anticipated that the conduct would cause a person to be offended, humiliated or intimidated.
Application of choice and control
It is important for Hireup to uphold the NDIS’s crucial tenet of choice and control, which allows persons with disabilities to remain in charge of how their supports are to be provided. This policy does not intend to infringe on those values. For example, a person seeking support may only feel comfortable working with a particular gender and this may be considered reasonable exercise of choice and control and not in breach of this policy.
Discrimination, bullying and any form of harassment is unacceptable at Hireup and is unlawful under the following legislation:
- Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth)
- Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 (Cth)
- Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth)
- Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth)
- Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth)
- Age Discrimination Act 2004 (Cth)
- Australian Human Rights Commission Act 1986 (Cth)
Table of Contents:
- Sexual harassment
- Complaint Resolution
- Disciplinary Action & Further Steps
Harassment is against the law and is not acceptable. Workplace harassment may be an ongoing pattern of behaviour, or it may be just a single act. Harassment is any form of behaviour that:
- Is unwanted
- offends, humiliates or intimidates someone
- creates a hostile environment.
Unlawful harassment at work occurs when a person is treated less favourably on the basis of certain personal characteristics. These characteristics may include race, sex, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, pregnancy, or marital status.
For example, a person seeking support telling insulting jokes about their support worker’s race, or sending sexually suggestive emails or texts about or to their support worker may constitute unlawful harassment.
Disability harassment occurs when someone is harassed based on their disability or the disability of someone that they know, such as a family member or friend. This includes past disabilities, possible future disabilities, or assumed disabilities.
Disability harassment includes a support worker making rude, abusive or insulting comments about the disability of a person seeking support which may insult or humiliate that person.
Sexual harassment is against the law. Hireup does not tolerate or accept sexual harassment and is committed to working towards eliminating all instances of sexual harassment in the workplace. We want to make our community feel safe and respected while using our platform and will take reports of this nature seriously.
The law defines sexual harassment as:
Sexual harassment occurs when a person makes an unwanted sexual advance or an unwelcome request for sexual favours to another person, or engages in other unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature towards another person. Circumstances may include sex, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, relationship status, religion, race, or disability.
(Source: Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth), section 28A; Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 (Cth) section 22A)
Sexual Harassment Examples
Some general examples of sexual harassment can include:
- unnecessary familiarity, such as deliberately brushing up against a person
- intrusive questions about a person's private life or body;
- suggestive comments or jokes;
- unwanted invitations to go out on dates;
- staring or leering;
- sexually explicit emails or SMS text messages.
- requests for sex or masturbation;
- unwelcome touching.
Examples of specific scenarios that can be considered sexual harassment include:
- a support worker inappropriately commenting on, alluding to, or asking about, the sex life of a person seeking support;
- a person seeking support making suggestive or sexual comments towards a support worker on social media;
- an account manager making suggestive or sexually explicit comments to a support worker about a person seeking support over email or text message; or
- a support worker making suggestive or sexual comments to a person seeking support about that person’s relative, friend or associate.
These examples may still be sexual harassment regardless of who commits the conduct.
All types of harassment may occur outside of shift times and are not limited to when a support worker is completing a support shift. It is important to note that behaviour that does not offend one person may offend another person. Just because someone does not object to sexual harassment, does not mean that behaviour is consensual or welcomed.
What is not sexual harassment
It is important to note that there may be circumstances where the behaviour of a person seeking support will not be catergorised as sexual harassment. Due to the nature of support work, support workers should remain aware that some disabilities will result in inadvertent sexualised behaviour, and in these circumstances such behaviour will not be considered sexual harassment.
Hireup has investigated multitudes of instances where it has been necessary to distinguish between sexualised behaviour resulting from disability and sexual harassment. For example:
- a person seeking support made inappropriate verbal comments to a support worker, however was unaware of the inappropriate nature of the comments at the time. The support worker was not sure if this would be considered sexual harassment but still brought the matter to Hireup’s attention, which was the right thing to do. As a result, Hireup worked with the person seeking support to discuss inappropriate language and requested that he update his support plan to inform support workers of the possibility of such comments, as well as how to approach and react to them. This was considered sexualised behaviour resulting from the person seeking support’s disability, and was not determined to be sexual harassment.
For clarity, even if the conduct is not sexual harassment, or if you’re unsure if the conducut constitutes sexual harassment, we encourage you to follow Hireup’s general reporting policy so that we may assist in dealing with the conduct.
Workplace bullying occurs when a worker or group of workers experiences repeated unreasonable behaviour while at work, which poses a risk to their health and safety.
Bullying of any form or for any reason can have immediate, medium and long-term effects on those involved, including bystanders. Generally speaking, bullying is an ongoing and intentional misuse of power in any type of relationship through repeated verbal, physical and/or social behaviour over one or more persons who feel unable to stop it from happening. Bullying can be obvious (overt) or hidden (covert). It can happen in many ways including in person or online, via various digital platforms and devices.
Single incidents and conflict between equals, whether in person or online, are not defined as bullying.
Examples of workplace bullying include:
- a support worker making belittling or humiliating comments towards a person seeking support;
- a person seeking support expecting an unreasonable amount or standard of work from a support worker, such as too much work or work that is difficult for the support worker to carry out;
- a person seeking support spreading rumours about their support worker; or
- any intimidating or aggressive conduct between a support worker or person seeking support.
All of the above examples may be bullying, regardless of who commits the conduct.
These examples could also constitute a criminal offence.
What is not bullying
It is important to highlight that there may be circumstances where a certain behaviours do not constitute bullying including:
- reasonable management action carried out in a reasonable manner, such as disciplinary action or performance management
- mutual arguments and disagreements (where there is no power imbalance)
- not liking someone or a single act of social rejection
- one-off acts of meanness or spite
For clarity, even if the conduct is not bullying, we expect that you will follow Hireup’s general reporting policy so that we may assist in dealing with the conduct.
Discrimination occurs when a person is treated less favourably than someone in the same circumstances because of a certain personal characteristic. These include, but are not limited to, the person’s disability, race, age, sex, sexual orientation and religion. Discrimination can be classified as either direct discrimination or indirect discrimination, and both are illegal.
Direct discrimination occurs when a person discriminates against another person on the ground of the certain personal characteristic. For example, a support worker making racial comments towards a person seeking support based on their race would be direct discrimination.
Indirect discrimination occurs when a person is expected to meet an unreasonable requirement, condition or practice that they cannot meet due to a certain personal characteristic.
(See, for example, Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth), sections 5-6)
Inherent requirements commentary
It may not be unlawful to refuse to employ a person if, because of a particular reason such as religion or disability, they are unable to carry out the inherent requirements (or essential duties) of the job.
The inherent requirements of a job will vary depending on what the job is. They may include:
- the ability to perform tasks which are essential to perform a job productively and to the required quality
- the ability to work effectively in a team or other organisation
- the ability to work safely.
Victimisation is illegal and will not be tolerated by Hireup. Victimisation occurs when a person threatens or subjects another person to detrimental action because that person has made a complaint, helped someone else make a complaint, or otherwise been involved in the investigation or resolution of a complaint.
Hireup commits to taking complaints of harassment, bullying, discrimination and victimisation seriously and having them managed quickly, thoroughly and confidentially. Hireup will take all reasonable steps to ensure that complaints are resolved. Complaints will be handled privately and with confidentiality where possible.
Generally, the steps taken to resolve a complaint are:
- Confront the behaviour (where possible)
- Register a complaint to Hireup
- Action - which may include disciplinary action, or even termination of employment if necessary.
The outcome of any complaint will be discussed with a complainant at the end of the investigation process. If a complainant is unhappy with an outcome, the complainant may request a review by the Employee Relations Manager.
For a complete, in-depth explanation of Hireup’s complaint resolution process, please see our Statement on Complaints.
Disciplinary Action & Further Steps
Where a complaint is made and investigated and the allegations are found to be truthful, Hireup ensures to undertake and enforce the necessary disciplinary actions against any persons who have breached this policy. These consequences may include termination of employment or termination of the service agreement with Hireup. If appropriate, it may also include referring the matter to Police for potential criminal investigation.
At Hireup, we value our commitment to eliminating harassment, bullying and discrimination, and this commitment extends beyond any complaint investigation. Where appropriate, we will undertake routine check-ups (such as mediation) with any parties to a complaint within the first 12 months following the investigation as a means of maintaining normality and guaranteeing that any resolution mechanisms have been sufficiently and consistently implemented. Wider scale procedures may include routine culture surveys and reviews, updated policies or placing emphasis on company counselling services.
Revision date: Feb 2022
All previous versions are superseded
© Hireup Pty Ltd.
This document will be reviewed annually unless legislative or organisational changes require earlier review.