Harassment & Discrimination Procedure

PURPOSE

To provide an environment that is free of sexual, racial, bullying and other forms of harassment and discrimination, and is supportive of the dignity, self-esteem and fair treatment of everyone taking part in its activities. Waiariki Institute of Technology Whare Takiura (Waiariki) will neither tolerate nor condone harassment or discrimination of staff or students at the Institute or as part of any activities taking place under its auspices. This includes the victimisation of complainants or witnesses.

To ensure that the Harassment and Discrimination Policy and Procedure is promoted to all Waiariki staff and students by providing preventative education and procedures for complaints resolution.

SCOPE

This procedure applies to all staff members and students of Waiariki including temporary, part-time and casual staff as well as Te Mana Matauranga, Council and contractors.

DEFINITIONS

Harassment and discrimination: Harassment and discrimination is unlawful under both the Human Rights Act 1993 and the Employment Relations Act 2000. Harassment and discrimination is conduct or behaviour that is known, or ought reasonably to be known, to be unwelcome or offensive to the recipient, repeated or significant in nature, and which has a detrimental impact upon the recipient and his/her performance or work environment. Such conduct or behaviour acts to humiliate, intimidate or disparage someone, denying the dignity, safety and well-being of an individual.
Bullying:
is unwanted and unwarranted behaviour that a person finds offensive, intimidating or humiliating and is repeated so as to have a detrimental effect upon a person’s dignity, safety and well-being.
Prohibited grounds identified in the Human Rights Act 1993: prohibited discrimination refers to those personal attributes that are recognised as the most common targets of harassing and discriminatory actions. For offensive behaviour to be considered harassment, the focus of the comment or conduct must be directed toward one or more of these aspects of a person’s background.

  • Sexual harassment: A request for sexual activity which contains an implied or overt promise for preferential treatment or an implied or overt promise for detrimental treatment; physical behaviour, language or visual material of a sexual nature which is unwelcome or offensive.
  • Racial harassment: Physical behaviour, language or visual material which expresses hostility, brings into contempt or ridicule, or is hurtful or offensive to any other person on the grounds of the colour, race, ethnic (the lack of a religious belief) or national (including nationality and citizenship) origins of that person.
  • Religious belief: This ground is not limited to traditional or mainstream religions. Religious belief is given a broad meaning in New Zealand law.
  • Sex (gender): This includes pregnancy and childbirth.
  • Marital status: This means being single, married, in a civil union or de facto relationship, separated, divorced, widowed or the dissolution of a marriage/ relationship.
  • Disability: Physical disability or impairment; physical illness; psychiatric illness; intellectual or psychological disability or impairment; loss or abnormality of psychological, physiological or anatomical structure or function; reliance on a guide dog, wheelchair or other remedial means; or the presence in the body of organisms capable of causing illness (eg. HIV or hepatitis).
  • Sexual orientation: This means a heterosexual, homosexual, lesbian or bisexual orientation.
  • Age: People are protected from discrimination based on their age if they are 16 or over. Although people 15 years and under are protected from other grounds of discrimination, they are not protected from discrimination of the ground of age.
  • Family status: This means having or not having responsibility for the care of children or other dependants (part-time or full-time); being married to, or being in a civil union or de facto relationship with, a particular person; or being a relative of a particular person.
  • Political opinion: This includes any political opinion or the lack of a political opinion.
  • Employment status: This means being unemployed, or being a recipient of a benefit or entitlement.
  • Personal harassment: excessive, unwelcome behaviour, including teasing, bullying, text and/or internet communication directed at an individual that is not specifically linked to the prohibited grounds but which is known, or ought reasonably to be known, to be unwelcome/unwanted, unwarranted, offensive, intimidating, hostile or inappropriate. Some examples of personal harassment include:
    • physically intimidating behaviour or threats;
    • use of profanity (swearing), vulgarity;
    • ridiculing, taunting, belittling or humiliating another person (publicly or privately);
    • derogatory name-calling;
    • text and/or internet bullying.
Personal harassment includes workplace bullying whereby an individual may be treated differently to others in the same or similar circumstances within the workplace. The following are examples of workplace bullying:
  • the abuse of a person’s position within an organisational hierarchy or structure (whether at a higher level, the same level or a lower level);
  • exclusion from meetings without reasonable cause;
  • deliberate non-communication;
  • withholding information from an individual.

Complainant: the person(s) who believes that he/she has been the subject of harassment or discrimination.
Respondent:
the person(s) who has been accused of the harassment or discrimination of another person or group.
Co-ordinator:
the Co-ordinator (Director, Student & Staff Support Services), in conjunction with the appropriate counsellors, will oversee the appointment, training and support of contact people. In cases where there is a conflict of interest or commitment, the Chief Executive will appoint someone else to the role of Co-ordinator.
Contact People:
appropriate contact people will be appointed to support and assist complainants regarding options available. The composition of the group of contact people should include people with a diversity of characteristics. Human Resources staff shall also be appointed as contact people.
Mediation:
a constructive process where an impartial person (the mediator) attempts to reach a point of agreement, understanding and resolution between the parties.

PROCEDURE

  1. Waiariki shall take all reasonable steps to deal with complaints of harassment and discrimination quickly and fairly.
  2. Contact people will be appointed for a period of one year and shall receive suitable training that will enable them to handle such matters and provide pertinent information to a complainant. The period of appointment may be extended. A contact person can be removed from his/her appointed position at any time by the Chief Executive.
  3. The names of contact people and how to reach them shall be displayed in key public places such as the library, Health and Counselling Centre, cafeterias, WITSA, main staff rooms and Connect Safety and Wellbeing page. This information shall also be available from Human Resources.
  4. Initially, the complainant can choose to discuss potential issues with his/her line manager or Head of Department. Otherwise, contact people are available to meet with the complainant to discuss the issue, and outline the resolution process and the options available to the complainant. At all stages, the process is guided by the wishes of the complainant and proceeds with his/her permission. It is also every person’s right to seek independent advice from the Human Rights Commission (free phone 0800 496 877).
    1. take no action;
    2. move away from the situation;
    3. see a counsellor;
    4. raise the issue with or write a letter to the respondent;
    5. discuss possible procedures to resolve or alleviate the situation.
  5. Informal options available:
    1. a formal resolution process such as mediation;
    2. a written complaint to the Co-ordinator;
    3. seek assistance from another body (eg. TIASA, TEU, WITSA);
    4. Code of Conduct;
    5. Complaints and Concerns Procedure - Student/Public;
    6. contact the Human Rights Commission;
    7. lay a complaint with the Police.
  6. Formal options available:
  7. Any discussion with a contact person shall remain confidential. Decisions about which of the options to use shall remain with the complainant. The aim of the process is to resolve issues as quickly as possible and in an appropriate manner. Complainants are encouraged to use the appropriate informal options first, and formal options only where informal options have been unsuccessful.
  8. If the issue is unable to be resolved at the contact person level and the complainant wishes to take the matter further, the complainant can contact the Co-ordinator.
  9. Students and staff may choose to go directly to the Co-ordinator rather than to a contact person.
  10. The Co-ordinator shall provide a list of mediators from which the complainant can choose a preferred mediator to hear his/her case. The Co-ordinator shall liaise with the mediator and make the necessary arrangements for mediation.
  11. If an issue is not resolved through mediation, the complainant may choose to pursue other formal options.
Policy last modified: 09-Oct-2012

Page last updated: 02 May 2017