University of Newcastle Workplace Violence Policy

Policy on Bullying and Workplace Violence







The Policy on Bullying and Workplace Violence recognises that bullying and workplace violence are unacceptable behaviours. The University of Newcastle is committed to providing a harmonious work and study environment as confirmed in the University's Code of Conduct for Staff and the Code of Practice for Teaching and Learning.










It is against the NSW Anti-Discrimination Act for any employee or employer to harass or discriminate against another employee, member of the public or students. The NSW Anti-Discrimination Act defines harassment as any form of behaviour that:

  • the other person does not want and does not return, and
  • offends, humiliates or intimidates them, and
  • targets them because of their race, sex, pregnancy, marital status, transgender (actual or presumed), homosexuality (actual or presumed), disability (actual or presumed), age, carer's responsibilities (actual or presumed).



Sexual harassment is defined as any form of sexually related behaviour that:

  • the other person does not want and does not return, and
  • offends, humiliates or intimidates them, and
  • in the circumstances, a reasonable person should have expected would offend, humiliate or intimidate them.



Bullying can be regarded as a form of harassment.






The Occupational Health and Safety Act regards workplace harassment and bullying as a risk to health. The Occupational Health and Safety Act 2000 states that all organisations will provide employees, students and visitors with a safe workplace without risks to health, and safe systems of work. The University of Newcastle is committed to providing an environment where staff and students are able to work and study free from bullying, harassment and discrimination.










Bullying and workplace violence, implicit in some forms of workplace harassment, may be defined as any on-going anti-social behaviour that offends, degrades or humiliates a person, and has the potential to create a risk to health, safety and wellbeing. Bullying and workplace violence refer to coercive, unethical activities that create an environment of fear through acts such as:

  • cruelty,
  • belittlement/degradation,
  • public reprimand,
  • behaviour intended to punish, such as isolation,
  • exclusion from workplace activities,
  • ridicule,
  • insult,
  • sarcasm,
  • devaluation of a person's work efforts,
  • trivialisation of views and opinions, or unsubstantiated allegations of misconduct.





Roles and Responsibilities





Managers, team leaders and academic supervisors are particularly responsible for ensuring that the work and study environment is free from bullying and workplace violence by:

  • ensuring that staff, supervisors and students understand that these types of actions and behaviours will not be tolerated in the University, and
  • directing that any behaviour that could be considered workplace violence and bullying cease immediately.



Staff and students have a role to play in eliminating workplace violence, bullying, and victimisation of work or study colleagues. This can be achieved by:

  • refusing to join in with these types of actions and behaviours;
  • supporting the person to say 'no' to these behaviours; and
  • acting as a witness if the person being harassed decides to lodge a grievance in accordance with the University Grievance Procedures.



All staff will ensure their behaviour is appropriate, and in accordance with relevant University policies and procedures.






The University has established Grievance Procedures for staff and students. Where it is determined that bullying or workplace violence has occurred, the University will act promptly to eliminate the behaviour, and will deal with the matter in accordance with the Misconduct/Serious Misconduct provisions within the Academic Staff Enterprise Agreement 2000 and General Staff Enterprise Agreement 2000, or Student Discipline Rules.





What Do I Do? - Follow the Grievance Procedure for Staff




For further information contact:

  • Human Resource Services - Health and Safety Unit;
  • Equity and Diversity Unit;
  • a Union Representative;
  • a University Grievance Adviser.

Related Policies and Procedures:

This Policy operates in conjunction with University Policies and Procedures, including (but not limited to):

  • Code of Conduct
  • Code of Practice for Teaching and Learning
  • Policy on Harassment
  • Policy on Racism
  • Policy on Inclusive Language
  • Grievance Procedure for Staff
  • Grievance Procedure for Students
  • Misconduct/Serious Misconduct within the Academic Staff and General Staff Enterprise Agreements 2000
  • Student Discipline Rules

Source: University of Newcastle