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Global code of practice


Harassment: code of practice Purpose Arup believes that all employees have a right to be treated with dignity and respect whilst at work and when representing the company outside of work. The following code of practice informs employees of the types of behaviour that are not acceptable and provides employees who are subjected to harassment with a means of redress without fear of reprisal.

CODE OF PRACTICE Arup identifies that employees have a right to be treated with dignity and respect. Harassment is harmful, unlawful and can reduce the effectiveness of the organisation by undermining the confidence of employees and creating a threatening environment. Employees have a right to work in an environment, which is free from harassment of any kind. The organisation will take positive action to prevent its occurrence. Any complaint will be taken seriously and the necessary resources deployed to investigate and resolve the matter.

Effective Date 1 May 2001

Applicability All employees of Arup.


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Harassment: Australasian procedure 1

Introduction Harassment may be characterised as unwanted conduct affecting the dignity and safety (psychological or physical) of people in the workplace. Breaches of this policy may result in disciplinary action, and in certain circumstances, summary dismissal. Harassment may be related to age, gender, race, disability, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, religion, nationality or any other personal characteristic of the individual, and may be persistent or an isolated incident. Harassment is any action or comment which is viewed as demeaning and unacceptable to the recipient whether or not this is intentional. Unintentional harassment may also give rise to liability. No actual harm need be suffered by the recipient of harassment before they are entitled in law to take action. Any complaint of harassment by an employee will be taken seriously and the necessary resources deployed to investigate and resolve the matter. Once the investigation is completed, the Manager who initiated the investigation will decide, on the strength of the findings, the appropriate and proportionate action to be taken. Conversely, any malicious complaint which, on investigation, is shown to be without foundation, will be treated as a matter no less serious than an act of harassment. Arup aims to:



create a working environment which is free from harassment and where all members of staff are treated with dignity, courtesy and respect;


implement training and awareness raising strategies to ensure that all employees know their rights and responsibilities;


provide an effective procedure for the handling of complaints;


treat all complaints in a sensitive, fair, timely and confidential manner;


protect employees from victimisation or reprisals following a complaint being made;


encourage the reporting of behaviour which breaches the discrimination and harassment policy;


promote appropriate standards of conduct at all times.

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Types of Harassment 2.1 Bullying Bullying may be characterised as offensive, intimidating, and malicious or insulting behaviour an abuse or misuse of power through means which undermine, humiliate, denigrate or injure the recipient. Research suggests that bullies are just as likely to be female as male and that bullying happens equally to men and women. Bullying behaviour may include: a) Setting of unachievable objectives and timescales; b) Insisting that the management way is the only correct way of doing things; c) Frequently “changing the goal posts”; d) Setting of “trick” problems; e) Public “dressing downs” whether justified or not; f)

Continual nit-picking about minor issues;

g) Asking individuals loaded questions about themselves; h) Continually making derogatory statements about an individual; i)

Calling individuals by offensive names;


Teasing or making someone the brunt of pranks or practical jokes;

k) Name calling and ridicule; l)

Leering and invasive questions;

m) Verbal abuse or belittling comments; n) Physical abuse; o) Physical contact/touching, indecent exposure and assault; p) Ignoring or isolating individuals; q) Treating staff in a demeaning, humiliating or offensive or aggressive manner.

2.2 Sexual Harassment Sexual harassment takes many forms, from relatively mild banter to actual physical violence. Employees may not always realise that their behaviour constitutes sexual harassment; they must recognise that what is acceptable to one person may not be acceptable to another. Sexual harassment is unwanted behaviour of a sexual nature by one employee towards another whether of the opposite sex or the same sex.


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Sexual harassment includes, but is not limited to the following: a) Insensitive jokes, innuendoes, teasing and pranks; b) Uninvited touching; c) Smutty jokes or comments; d) Sexual gestures; e) Requests for sex; f)

Sexually explicit conversation(s);

g) E-mails sent to another person involving jokes or any other material containing sexual, racial or other inappropriate references; h) Downloading offensive material from the Internet or other electronic media which may be seen, inadvertently or otherwise, by another person, whether willingly or not; i)

Lewd comments about appearance or dress;


Unnecessary body contact;

k) Displays of sexually offensive material, e.g. pin-ups; l)

Requests for sexual favours;

m) Speculation about a person’s private life and sexual activities; n) Threatening or actual sexual violence; o) Threat of dismissal, loss of promotion, etc for the refusal of sexual favours.

Criminal behaviour including: a)

Molestation or assault;


Indecent exposure;


Sexual assault;




Obscene communications (telephone calls, letters, etc).

Sexual harassment is not behaviour which is based on mutual attraction, friendship and respect. If the interaction is consensual, welcome and reciprocated it is not sexual harassment.

2.3 Racial Harassment Racial harassment can also take many forms, from relatively minor abuse to actual physical violence. It should also be borne in mind that everybody has an ethnic origin, for example an individual’s ethnic origin may be Anglo-Celtic even though they may categorise themselves as White European.


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Racial harassment may include: a) Insensitive jokes or pranks related to race, colour, nationality or ethnic origin; b) Deliberate exclusion from conversation or activities; c) Abusive, threatening or insulting words and behaviour; d) Displaying abusive or offensive writing and pictures; e) Deliberate non co-operation.

2.4 Religious Discrimination Discriminatory behaviour which fails to acknowledge or ignores the rights or needs of people with different beliefs.

2.5 Disability Harassment, undignified treatment, ridicule or exclusion of people because of their disability, vulnerability or perceived reduced independence.

2.6 Age Ridiculing or demeaning behaviour focussed towards people because of their age.



Informal Procedure Employees who are harassed should keep a written record of all incidents, including the date, time, nature of incident, the names of those involved and the names of any witnesses. They should ask for colleagues who have witnessed the harassment to provide written statements of what they have seen or heard, so that they can be provided as evidence. The Human Resources Group is available to give confidential support and advice. If possible, the person who is carrying out the harassment should be told by the individual who is being harassed that the behaviour is offensive and unwanted and must stop. This can either be done by talking to the individual(s), or alternatively, writing a letter stating what happened, where and when. A colleague or a member of the Human Resources Group can act as an independent third party when this statement is made. Alternatively, an appropriate senior manager can speak to the alleged harasser. Whenever possible, any complaint of harassment by an individual should be made in the first instance to the person to whom they report or someone of a similar level.


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Formal Procedure Where informal methods fail, or where a more serious incident of harassment occurs, employees have the right to bring a formal complaint using the firm’s grievance procedure (please refer to the Grievance Code of Practice). The complaint should be made in writing, and where possible state: a) The name of the harasser; b) The nature of the harassment; c) Date(s) and time(s) when harassment has occurred; d) Names and witnesses to any incidents of harassment; e) Any action taken by the employee to stop the harassment. Employees may raise a complaint of harassment with a senior member of staff such as the Office Manager or a Principal, or directly with a member of the Human Resources Group. The senior staff member will arrange for a thorough investigation of the complaint. The steps taken will be those set out in the firm’s grievance procedure (refer to the Grievance Code of Practice and Procedure). As far as possible, confidentiality will be maintained throughout the investigation. Once the investigation is completed the senior staff member who initiated the investigation will decide, on the strength of the findings, the appropriate action to be taken. This may include disciplinary action, in which case the firm’s Conduct and Performance Code of Practice and Procedure will apply. Any malicious complaint which, on investigation, is shown to be without foundation, will be treated as a disciplinary matter, no less serious than an act of harassment. If the complainant or the alleged harasser is dissatisfied with the outcome of the procedure then he or she may appeal, (see Appeals Procedure in the Conduct and Performance Code of Practice).



Senior Managers Any senior manager (such as an Office Manager or a Principal) who receives a complaint of harassment must arrange for an investigation of the complaint or incident and ensure that the problem is resolved as quickly as possible. Also making sure that appropriate action is taken to ensure compliance with the policy. Failure to take corrective action may in itself be treated as a disciplinary offence. All senior managers have a duty to establish and maintain a working environment free from harassment and should be observant and alert to the kind of behaviour which might indicate that a problem exists. They should be prepared to deal with any inappropriate behaviour even if it has not been complained about. Senior managers are responsible for notifying the National Manager, Human Resources when a formal case is raised, and for keeping the National Manager, Human Resources informed and involved as necessary throughout the process.


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Senior managers are responsible for ensuring that employees for whom they are responsible have knowledge of and understanding of the firm’s Harassment Code of Practice.

Employees All employees must comply with this policy and take steps to ensure that harassment does not occur. Any employee who feels bullied should feel confident that complaints will be taken seriously and dealt with in confidence. Any employee who is made aware of harassment by a colleague must respect the confidence of the parties involved and should encourage the person being harassed to consider using the correct procedure. If an employee believes that a colleague is being harassed and that they have not complained about it, then it is the employee’s duty to report the harassment of the colleague to an appropriate senior manager or to a member of the Human Resources Group.

National Manager, Human Resources The National Manager, Human Resources has been appointed to take an active role in the investigation and resolution process. The National Manager may act as a conciliator where appropriate or may be responsible for conducting an investigation, making a finding on the substances of the complaint and recommending an appropriate course of action to the CEO or other senior manager. The National Manager, Human Resources is fully trained to undertake this role. Human Resources Group The Human Resources Group is responsible for assisting senior managers and employees with advice and guidance on the use of this Code of Practice. Members of the Group are available to:


listen to the complaint;

explain what constitutes discrimination and answer any questions;

provide information on the options that are available internally to deal with harassment complaints;

inform employees of their rights under anti-discrimination law (including the right to take their complaint directly to the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission or State/Territory anti-discrimination agency);

discuss possible strategies an individual can use to deal directly with the behaviour, but only if this is the individual’s preferred course of action (the contact officer can accompany them if requested);

remind the individual that counselling or other support services are available through the firm’s Employee Assistance Program.

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ARUP: Harassment: code of practice  
ARUP: Harassment: code of practice  

Harassment: code of practice