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Procedure: Prevention of discrimination, harassment and bullying


To outline the University strategies and responsibilities of staff and students for preventing discrimination, harassment and bullying at the University.



  1. The University’s commitment to excellence is underpinned by values including integrity in all activities, respect in all relationships, collegiality to encourage staff and students to work together and commitment to the University community to meet the needs and nurture the talents of all staff and students.
  2. The University is committed to ensuring that staff and students are treated with respect, recognising all members of the University have the right to work and study in an environment free from discrimination, harassment and bullying. Discrimination, harassment and bullying behaviour will not be tolerated under any circumstances.
  3. The Discipline Rule prescribes behaviour that amounts to misconduct by students including harassment, victimisation or other discrimination. Nothing in this procedure overrides any actions that may be undertaken under the Discipline Rule.
  4. The University Code of Conduct prescribes duties and obligations of staff including ensuring fair treatment of people and avoiding harassing, bullying or discriminatory behaviour.

The University has an obligation under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 to ensure a safe working environment and prevent bullying or harassing behaviour by staff that may amount to a risk to health and safety. This obligation is reiterated in the University Enterprise Agreement.

ANU strategies

  1. The University strategies to eliminate discrimination, harassment and bullying include:
  • training and awareness-raising strategies to ensure that all staff and students are aware of both this policy and the University grievance policies for staff and students;
  • grievance management procedures which are based on the principles of procedural fairness;
  • treating all grievances in a sensitive, fair, timely and confidential manner;
  • acting against victimisation; and
  • encouraging the reporting of behaviour which breaches this policy.

What is discrimination, harassment and bullying

  1. Bullying is repeated unreasonable and inappropriate behaviour in the workplace or education environment which comprises behaviour that intimidates, offends, degrades, insults or humiliates an employee or student and is a risk to health and safety. This can be physical or psychological behaviour. Legitimate comment, criticism and advice, including relevant negative comment or feedback provided in a reasonable manner from supervisors or academics on the work, study performance or behaviour of an individual or group, does not constitute bullying.
  2. Discrimination can be direct and can occur by specific exclusion or adverse treatment based on a person’s personal characteristics, such as their gender, race, colour, ethnic or ethno-religious background, descent or national identity; age; sexual orientation, etc. Discrimination can also be indirect, and can occur when a requirement or condition is imposed on everyone equally, but persons of a particular group would have difficulty complying with the requirement because of their personal characteristics.
  3. Sexual harassment is unwelcome behaviour of a sexual nature including suggestive comments or jokes, unwanted staring or touching, intrusive questions about a person’s private life, repeated requests for dates or sex. Behaviour that is based on mutual attraction, friendship and respect, or where interactions are consensual, welcome and reciprocated it is not sexual harassment.

Discrimination, harassment and bullying on or off University campus

  1. A staff member or student may experience discrimination, harassment or bullying by a student or group of students, a co-worker or group, an academic, a supervisor, a contractor or a service provider.
  2. This behaviour is prohibited in any University work-related or educational context, whether on or off the University campus. For example, on field trips and excursions, at conferences, work functions and at student and staff social events.

Criminal offences

  1. Forms of discrimination, harassment and bullying can also constitute criminal offences, including:
  • physically assaulting a person, including sexual assault;
  • stalking; and
  • obscene communications including through emails, phone calls etc.
  1. The University will act immediately on reports of possible criminal offences.

Complaints procedures

  1. The Staff grievance resolution policy and procedure and the Student complaint resolution policy and procedure, set out the procedure for managing formal or informal resolution of grievances. Staff and students are encouraged to use the policies and procedures if they consider that they are experiencing discrimination, harassment or bullying.


  1. Managers, supervisors and academic staff have a responsibility to:
  • monitor the work or learning environment to ensure that acceptable standards of conduct are observed at all times;
  • promote this procedure and the relevant University grievance procedure or complaints policy within their area of responsibility; and
  • treat all complaints seriously and confidentially and take immediate action to refer the staff member or student to the relevant policy and procedures.
  1. All staff have a responsibility to:
  • comply with this procedure;
  • offer support to anyone who claims that they are experiencing discrimination, harassment or bullying and let them know where they can get help and advice; and
  • consult with relevant senior officers on reports of discrimination, harassment and bullying.
  1. All students have a responsibility to:
  • comply with this procedure.


Printable version (PDF)
Title Prevention of discrimination, harassment and bullying
Document Type Procedure
Document Number ANUP_000623
Version 8
Purpose To outline the University strategies and responsibilities of staff and students for preventing discrimination, harassment and bullying at the University.
Audience Staff, Students
Category Administrative
Topic/ SubTopic Equity & Diversity
Effective Date 29 Jul 2016
Review Date 31 Dec 2017
Responsible Officer Director, Human Resources
Approved By: Chief Operating Officer
Contact Area Human Resources Division