Human Resources

Code of Conduct: Equity and Justice

Equity and Justice

The University has adopted the following Equal Opportunity Policy Statement:

The University of Western Australia is committed to a policy of equal opportunity in employment and education. The University accepts that it has a responsibility to create an environment free from discrimination, and to ensure that the principle of merit operates unhindered by regard to irrelevant criteria. To this end the University will act to ensure that its structures are free from direct or indirect discrimination on the grounds of sex, marital status or pregnancy, race, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, religious or political beliefs, impairment, family responsibility or family status. (Senate 1993, amended 2002)

Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Policy Statement

Equity of access to employment and programs

The University is committed to providing an environment of equal opportunity, free from discrimination, for existing and prospective staff and students in the pursuit of their academic and professional goals and the realisation of their potential to contribute to the achievement of the University’s mission. This objective is supported by an employment philosophy of providing job security through ongoing employment where possible, and encouraging flexible work practices that accommodate a range of needs in a diverse workforce. The University seeks to remove any barriers that may impede full access to the benefits and conditions of employment and the delivery of University services.

University Policy on: Flexible Work and Leave Practices

The UWA Disability Access and Inclusion Action Plan 2011 – 2016

University Policy on: Mental Health

University Policy on: Diverse Sexualities and Genders

Achievement Relative to Opportunity

The University is committed to the fair assessment of employees and a workplace culture that values and supports life balance in order to attract, develop and retain the highest quality staff.

In employment related decisions, the assessment of merit will focus on relevant performance standards while considering the overall quality, talent, excellence and impact of an employee’s contributions. The University recognises that personal or workplace circumstances, constrained opportunities, or periods of time away from work, may result in lower quantifiable outputs than those expected of people who have been engaged in full-time ongoing work.

The University requires that decision making in competitive selection processes allows for a fair consideration of an employee’s capacity to meet the genuine requirements of the decision being made. The University recognises that the assessment of merit will maintain a focus on pertinent performance standards, while taking into weighted consideration the overall quality, talent, excellence and impact of contributions.

University Policy on: Achievement Relative to Opportunity


The University is committed to maintaining an environment where students and staff are valued, respected and able to realise their full potential. Harassment and discrimination of any form such as sexism, racism or bullying has no place in such a culture. All forms of harassment and discrimination are serious issues that undermine morale and can adversely affect the ability of staff and students to feel included within the University. Such behaviour is unacceptable and all complaints will be dealt with fairly and promptly. In particular, the University will not tolerate bullying or harassment including disability, racial, or sexual harassment. Disciplinary action will apply to any staff member or student who is found to have harassed another member of the University community.

Harassment and discrimination are contrary to the principles developed in the University’s Code of Conduct and Equal Opportunity policy. In addition to University policies, the University is bound by legislation which makes harassment and discrimination unlawful.

Established cases of harassment or discrimination will be addressed under the Misconduct provisions of the University’s Collective Workplace Agreements, or under Statute 17, Student Discipline and Regulations for Student Conduct and Discipline.


Under Equal Opportunity legislation, discrimination occurs when a person, or a group of people, are treated less favourably than another person or group, in the same or similar circumstances, because of irrelevant attributes such as their age; race (including colour, descent, national or ethnic origin); sex; marital status, pregnancy, or family responsibilities; disability; political or religious conviction; and sexual orientation or gender history.

Indirect discrimination occurs when an apparently neutral requirement, condition or rule unfairly impacts on people with a particular attribute or characteristic (e.g. disability, gender or race) compared to people without that attribute, and the rule or requirement is not reasonable in the circumstances. For example, providing a service on the first floor of a building where the only access is by stairs could, in some circumstances, be considered indirect discrimination against a person with impaired mobility.

It is the responsibility of all employees to take steps to prevent incidents of unlawful discrimination on campus.

Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Policy Statement

Prevention and Resolution of Campus Bullying

The University acknowledges that all employees and students have the right to work and study in an environment free from bullying. The University has a duty of care to all members of its community and violence, aggression and bullying are unacceptable.

A common definition of bullying is:

Repeated, unreasonable or inappropriate behaviour directed towards an employee or student, or a group of employees or students, that creates a risk to health and safety.

A workplace situation may be identified as bullying if an employee or employees are harmed, intimidated, threatened, victimised, undermined, offended, degraded, or humiliated, whether alone or in front of other employees, students or visitors to the University. In order to maintain objectivity for investigation and litigation purposes, the ‘reasonable person’ test applies – workplace bullying is predicated on a pattern of behaviour that a reasonable person in the circumstances would view as victimising, humiliating, undermining or threatening.

The general ‘duty of care’ provisions embedded in legislation apply to all staff, and every employee must be aware of their duty not to place the safety and health of others at risk by engaging in violence, aggression or bullying behaviour. Likewise, students have a right to expect, and responsibility to maintain, a safe and respectful environment. The University encourages all employees and students to report incidents of bullying that they witness.

Established cases of bullying will be considered as serious misconduct under the respective UWA Collective Workplace Agreements, and as misconduct under Statute 17, Student Discipline.

Bullying does not include the exercise of the University’s legal right (and the manager’s/supervisor’s responsibility) to direct and control how work is done, monitor workflow, and give feedback on performance so long as this is done respectfully and objectively.

University Policy on: Prevention and Resolution of Bullying on Campus

UWA Collective Workplace Agreements

Statute 17 Student Discipline and Regulations for Student Conduct and Discipline

Disability Harassment

Disability harassment is any verbal, physical or written act taken in relation to a person with a disability that is reasonably likely to humiliate, offend or distress the person, or an associate of the person with a disability, such as a relative or carer. The University is required to take reasonable steps to ensure staff members are aware of their obligations under the Disability Standards for Education 2005 and know what action to take if harassment occurs.

Disability Standards for Education 2005

The UWA Disability Access and Inclusion Action Plan 2011 – 2016

University Policy on: Mental Health

University Policy on: Disability and Medical Conditions

Racial Harassment

Racial harassment is any verbal, physical or written act which is based on a person’s colour, physical characteristics, descent, country of origin, ethnic background or nationality, and is unwanted, unacceptable and offensive to the person, or those related to, or closely associated with, that person. The WA Equal Opportunity Act and Commonwealth Racial Discrimination Act make racial harassment in employment and education unlawful. Racial harassment conflicts with the University’s Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Policy and with the rights of all staff and students to receive fair and equitable treatment.

University Statement on Racial Harassment

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is unwelcome, unsolicited and unreciprocated conduct with a sexual component which offends, intimidates, embarrasses or humiliates a person. It does not include mutual attraction, consensual romantic involvement or friendship. Inappropriate conduct can be in the form of words or actions, including circulating or displaying written or pictorial material that is sexually offensive or belittling in any form, including print, email, text messaging and, where specifically directed toward a person, on social networking websites.

Sexual harassment involving a physically violent and/or coercive component such as physical molestation or assault, persistent following or stalking, indecent exposure, and obscene communications in any media, may be considered sexual assault and possibly a criminal offence.

Established cases of sexual harassment will be considered as serious misconduct under the UWA Collective Workplace Agreements.

University Policy on: Sexual Harassment

Charter of Student Rights and Responsibilities

Academic Freedom

Academic freedom is recognised and protected by this University as essential to the proper conduct of teaching, research and scholarship. Freedom of intellectual thought and enquiry and the open exchange of ideas and evidence are a University core value. All academic and research staff should be guided by a commitment to freedom of inquiry and exercise their traditional rights to examine social values and to criticise and challenge the belief structures of society in the spirit of a responsible and honest search for knowledge and its dissemination. In this context students have the right to participate in political activities on campus. (See also 3.8 Public Comment)

Union Membership

University staff and students have the right to choose whether or not to join a trade union or association. Similarly, those who choose to join may also choose whether or not to participate in union activities.

Lawful Obedience

All members of the University must act lawfully, comply with all relevant legislative and industrial requirements, act within their delegations of authority, and comply with University policies. See the list of the relevant Acts at Appendix 1.

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