Policies and Procedures

Safe Workplace Behaviours Procedure

  • 1. Purpose  

    This procedure is to ensure shared understanding and expectations of how we define safe and positive workplace behaviours. The Royal Children’s Hospital is committed to the safety and wellbeing of all children and young people through the behaviour of its workforce. If safe and positive behaviours are not maintained, then it potentially compromises clinical quality and safety impacts on all aspects of RCH, including staff, patients, families, visitors, the reputation of the hospital, and most importantly, our ability to provide GREAT care. 

    2. Procedure statement

    The behaviour of employees at the RCH is governed by legislation, the Victorian Public Sector Employment Principles (refer p.17) and RCH Codes of Conduct, RCH values and RCH Compacts and its Policies and Procedures. It is unacceptable and unlawful for a person or group of people to engage in behaviour which amounts to discrimination on the basis of personal attributes or characteristics, harassment including sexual harassment, bullying, victimisation, vilification or occupational violence. This also includes not requesting, instructing, assisting, authorising or encouraging others to behave in ways that reflect such behaviour.   

    A safe and positive workplace provides education and support to assist individuals in understanding unacceptable behaviour, and the most effective way to respond.  Inappropriate behaviours, such as incivility, left unresolved, may lead to more serious inappropriate behaviours in the workplace. A commitment to early intervention of such issues is critical in supporting a positive workplace culture.  

    A safe and positive workplace is one that observes human rights. The Australian Human Rights Commission states: “We all have human rights. Human rights express how people should, and should not, be treated by individuals, by government, and by the community. We all want our human rights to be acknowledged by our friends, families and employers. We all have responsibilities to respect them and others. Our national human rights laws provide legal protection to people who have been treated unfairly and set standards for all of us to follow” ( https://www.humanrights.gov.au/publications/our-agenda-2014-2015/what-are-human-rights).

    Providing a safe and positive workplace extends to ensuring that employees remain committed to and comply with expected behaviours out of hours where such conduct may adversely affect RCH staff, affect the public image or reputation of RCH or may bring the RCH disrepute 

    This procedure is designed to enable a workplace that:

    • Is safe;
    • takes an informal and early intervention approach in resolving workplace issues;
    • is free from harassment including sexual harassment, bullying, occupational violence and discrimination, vilification and victimisation and/or other inappropriate conduct
    • ensures equal opportunity and alignment with the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities and Public Sector employment and practice principles;
    • aligns behaviour and conduct with RCH values, Compact policies and procedures, and relevant Legislation; and
    • compliments our commitment to ensuring that we live out our Compact pledges in relation to personal accountability, not walking past bad behaviour, and treating others the way they wish to be treated.

    3.  Scope

    This procedure applies to all board members, managers and employees, prospective employees, contractors, honorary employees, students, volunteers and affiliates.   This procedure applies to behaviour within the workplace, on social media platforms (as outlined in the Social Media Procedure) and at offsite and out-of-hours work-related functions. 

    4. Table of contents

    1. Purpose
    2. Procedure Statement
    3. Scope
    4. Table of Contents
    5. Definition of Terms
    6. Procedure Details, specific processes for managing concerns
    7. Public Interest Disclosures procedure
    8. Resolution options
    9. OVA resolution options
    10. Other Information, other relevant information relating to the resolution of workplace issues
    11. Legislation and references
    12. Related RCH policy and procedures
    13. Contacts

    5. Definition of terms

    "Complaint" means a statement or expression that something is unsatisfactory or unacceptable made by a person as identified within the scope of this procedure;   

    A “personal attribute, characteristic  or activity “as defined by the federal and state law is;

    • age
    • breastfeeding
    • employment activity
    • disability or impairment
    • industrial activity, trade union activity
    • lawful sexual activity
    • sexual orientation, gender identity, intersex status, marital or relationship status
    • family responsibilities
    • parental status or status as a carer
    • physical features
    • political belief or activity
    • pregnancy, or potential pregnancy
    • race, colour, national extraction or social origin
    • religious belief or activity
    • sex
    • an expunged homosexual conviction.   
    • personal association with a person who is identified by reference to any of the above attributes.

    Protected disclosure/whistleblowing exists to encourage people in both private and public sector workplaces, to report serious wrongdoing in their workplace by providing protection for employees who want to ‘blow the whistle’.  ‘Serious wrongdoing’ includes:

    • unlawful, corrupt or irregular use of public money or resources
    • conduct that poses a serious risk to public health, safety, the environment or the maintenance of the law
    • any criminal offence
    • gross negligence or mismanagement by public officials.  

    Incivility is deviant workplace behaviour of low intensity that can include such behaviour as being rude, discourteous, impolite or violating workplace norms of behaviour, regarded as antisocial behaviour. 

    What is workplace bullying?

    Workplace bullying is defined as repeated and unreasonable behaviour, directed towards a worker or a group of workers that creates a risk to health, wellbeing and/or safety.  Behaviour that a reasonable person, having considered the circumstances, would see as unreasonable includes, that which victimizes, humiliates, intimidates or threatens. The intent of the behaviour (either intentional or unintentional) is no excuse for workplace bullying or any behaviour that is contrary to the RCH Code of Conduct or Compacts, and will not be accepted as part of an individual’s defence for such actions.   

    Examples of bullying behaviour include:

    • abusive, insulting or offensive language or comments
    • unjustified criticism or complaints
    • repeated incivility
    • deliberately excluding someone from workplace activities
    • withholding information that is vital for effective work performance
    • setting unreasonable time lines or constantly changing deadlines
    • setting tasks that are unreasonably below or beyond a person's skill level and not adequately  reflected in a position description
    • denying access to information, supervision, consultation or resources to the detriment of the worker
    • spreading misinformation or malicious rumours
    • changing work arrangements such as rosters and leave to deliberately inconvenience a particular worker or workers.   

    What is not workplace bullying?

    Workplace conflict is not, on its own, workplace bullying, as not all conflicts have negative health effects. However, conflict may escalate to the point where it becomes workplace bullying. Managers are equally encouraged to raise concerns regarding bullying behaviour should they believe upward bullying is occurring as a result of undertaking their role and responsibility for the management of staff, such as undertaking performance management or disciplinary action.  

    Reasonable management action taken in a reasonable way is not workplace bullying, such as the allocation of work and giving fair and reasonable feedback, including performance appraisal, even if unpleasant, distressing or negative.   

    A single incident of unreasonable behaviour or incivility is not on its own workplace bullying, but it is also not acceptable and could be in breach of the RCH Code of Conduct, and may have the potential to escalate and should, therefore, not be ignored.  

    What is harassment?

    Harassment is unwelcome comments or behaviour that could reasonably be expected to offend, humiliate or intimidate another person.  Harassment is unlawful when it is based on the protected attributes eg; race, age etc as articulated on page 3.  

    Harassment can be a repeated behaviour or a single act. Harassment makes the work environment unpleasant, sometimes hostile and may affect work performance. Harassment can often be the result of behaviour that is not intended to offend or harm, such as jokes or unwarranted attention. However the fact that it is unintentional does not mean that it is not unlawful.  

    What is sexual harassment?

    Sexual harassment is unlawful and occurs when a person/s;

    • Make(s) an unwelcome sexual advance, or an unwelcome request for sexual favours, to another person or persons;
    • Engages in any other unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature in relation to another person or person;
    • Having regard to all the circumstances, would have anticipated that the other person would be offended, humiliated or intimidated;
    • Conduct of a sexual nature may include;
      • Subjecting a person to any act of physical intimacy;
      • Making verbally  or in writing,  any remark or statement with sexual connotations to a person, or persons, or about a person in his or her presence;
      • Displaying, sharing or forwarding material which is sexually explicit, vulgar or otherwise offensive, including sharing such images when using social media in a private capacity with other RCH staff.
      • Making a gesture, action or comment of a sexual nature in a person's presence.   

    What is discrimination?

    Discrimination is treating, or proposing to treat, someone unfavourably because of a personal characteristic or attribute that is protected by law.   

    There are two different kinds of discrimination:

    Direct discrimination – this may occur if a person treats, or proposes to treat, a person with an attribute unfavourably because of that attribute. For example:

    • Refusing to train an employee to work on new technology because you believe they are too old to learn new skills.
    • When you advise your employer that you're pregnant, you're moved to a lower-paying job out of the public view, because clients don't want to look at people in your condition
    • You're not selected for a promotion at work. Your supervisor says that while he thinks you could do the job, you'll be retiring soon, so we're looking for someone who'll be here for a while   

    Note: Direct discrimination may also occur if you do not make or do not propose to make reasonable adjustments to accommodate a person with a disability or impairment - see the ‘Disability and Reasonable Adjustment and Accommodation Procedure’. 

    Indirect discrimination – this may occur when an unreasonable requirement, condition or practice that purports to treat everyone the same, ends up either actually or potentially disadvantaging someone with a protected personal characteristic because of that characteristic.

    For example:

    • An employer has a policy of not letting any staff work part-time
      (People with children or family responsibilities could be disadvantaged)
    • A public building, while fitted with lifts, has a set of six steps at the front entrance. Entry for those needing to use the lift is through the back entrance near the industrial bins (Those using a wheelchair can't get into the building from the front entrance)
    • Scheduling meetings or staff conferences/seminars at times unsuitable for people with child care responsibilities.  

    What is unconscious bias?

    Unconscious bias, also known as implicit bias, is a learned assumption, belief, or attitude that exists in the subconscious. Everyone has these biases and uses them as mental shortcuts for faster information-processing. These shortcuts can come at cost however, and can have harmful effects on the person we may be making assumptions about. The Ethics Centre Australia provide a useful video which explains Unconscious Bias. https://ethics.org.au/ethics-unboxed-bias/

    What is occupational violence?

    Occupational Violence is a physical attack or threat of violence to an employee or group of employees that creates a risk to health and safety. It includes aggression and challenging behaviours.  It can be categorised as work related (client or colleague initiated), or may be committed by a person that is not connected with the workplace (external or intrusive occupational violence) This procedure deals with Occupational violence as perpetrated by employees, contractors or volunteers (whether individually or in groups) against other employees, contractors, or volunteers. Please refer to the Occupational Violence procedure relating to the management of clinical related aggression issues.  

    What is victimisation?

    Victimisation is subjecting, or threatening to subject someone to something detrimental because they have asserted their rights under equal opportunity law, made a complaint, helped someone else to make a complaint, or refused to do something because it would be a form of discrimination, sexual harassment or victimisation.   

    What is vilification?

    Vilification is behaviour that incites hatred, serious contempt for, or revulsion or severe ridicule of a person or group of people because of their race or religion.

    Behaviour that could be seen as vilification includes:

    • Speaking about a person's race or religion in a way that could make other people hate or ridicule them;
    • Publishing claims that a racial or religious group is involved in serious crimes without any proof;
    • Encouraging people to hate a racial or religious group using flyers, stickers, posters, a speech or publication, or using websites or email; 
    • It is also against the law to give permission or help someone to vilify others  

    Behaviour that is not likely to be seen as vilification includes:

    • Comments, jokes or other acts related to the race or religion of a person may not be seen as vilification, but they could still form the basis for a complaint of discrimination;
    • Being critical of a religion or debating racial or religious ideas in a way that does not encourage others to hate racial or religious groups;
    • Actions that offend people of a particular race or religion, but do not encourage others to hate, disrespect or abuse racial or religious group.    

    What is detrimental action?

    It is an offence for a person to take, incite, or to threaten detrimental action against any person because of, or because of a substantial belief that;

    • the other person or anyone else has made, or intends to make, a protected disclosure; or
    • the other person or anyone else has cooperated, or intends to cooperate, with an investigation of a protected disclosure
    • the other person or anyone else has lawfully given information to the office of the Ombudsman

    Detrimental action includes;

    • action causing injury, loss or damage;
    • intimidation or harassment; and
    • discrimination, disadvantage or adverse treatment in relation to a person's employment, career, profession, trade or business, including the taking of disciplinary action.  

    The penalties for taking or threatening to take detrimental action include fines and imprisonment for up to 2 years. Civil action may also be taken in which case compensation may be ordered.    

    A person who reports actual or threatened detrimental action taken in reprisal for the making of a protected disclosure or for cooperating with the investigation into a protected disclosure must be instructed to report the matter directly to the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC).  The RCH Chief Executive Officer must also be informed immediately if a report of actual or threatened detrimental action is received.   

    If a person suspects detrimental action may have been taken or has been threatened, they must raise their concerns with the RCH Chief Executive Officer immediately.    

    Any disciplinary action taken against a person who is known to have made a protected disclosure must be in accordance with the Performance Management and Disciplinary Procedure.

    •  Natural Justice and Procedural Fairness principles are designed to ensure the process around investigating an issue are unbiased, fair, reasonable, confidential and where the respondent has an opportunity to fully respond to any allegations put forward   
    • A Vexatious complaint  is a claim or complaint (or a series of many), that is specifically being pursued to simply harass, annoy or cause financial cost to another person or organisation   
      • Workplace Culture Reviews may be undertaken within a department or team, on the basis of key performance indicators relating to workforce metrics (eg turnover, absenteeism, exit interview feedback etc.) which highlight areas of concern. These may include regular surveys (including people matter survey), pulse checks (short, targeted workplace survey of a group of employees), 360 degree feedback processes etc.   

        6. Procedure details – What can be done?

        The RCH encourages all persons to raise any concerns and seek assistance if they are worried about any element that may impact a safe and positive workplace being maintained.  A person who has a concern regarding behaviours may choose to work through their concerns and/issues in a number of ways.  This choice will be dependent on a number of factors which may include the working environment, people involved, confidence in managing the situation, seriousness of the behaviours, safety, etc.

        The RCH encourages people to attempt to manage and/or resolve issues one on one in the first instance where this is safe and reasonable to do so.   However, sometimes this may not be appropriate and there are other processes that can be followed, according to the principles of confidentiality, procedural fairness, timeliness, transparency and without repercussions.

        Support, guidance and advice in relation to the management of safe workplace issues that have arisen is available through;

        • A line manager or another manager;
        • HR Partner or HR team member;
        • A member of the Workplace Health and Safety Team;
        • The Workplace Mediation and Support Officer
        • The RCH Employee Assistance Program (EAP) which is a confidential counselling program and is available on a self-referral basis, free of charge to all paid employees.  The EAP is available through Converge International by contacting 1300 687 327. EAP have a number of different streams, including psychological counselling, as well as specialised streams to provide advice to managers, or staff when managing conflict. 
        • Employee Representatives eg; union representatives or support person
        • Peer Support Team Member

        Note: Concerns raised via the VHIMS process will be managed in accordance with the Safe and Positive Workplace Behaviours Procedure.

        7.  Public Interest Disclosures procedure

        RCH supports the objectives of the Public Interests Disclosure Act 2012 (formerly Protected Disclosure Act 2012) and encourages staff to disclose known or suspected incidences of improper conduct that involve the RCH or its employees by reporting such conduct to the Independent Board-based Anti-corruption Commission IBAC.

        Improper conduct is defined as corrupt conduct and/or any of the following conduct by a public officer or public body in their capacity as a public officer or public body: 

        • a criminal offence;
        • serious professional misconduct;
        • dishonest performance of public functions;
        • an intentional breach or reckless breach of public trust;
        • an intentional or reckless use of information or material acquired in the course of the performance of public functions;
        • a substantial mismanagement of public resources;
        • a substantial risk to the health or safety of one or more persons; or
        • a substantial risk to the environment. 

        RCH will protect staff from detrimental action for having made a disclosure.

        For further information please refer to the RCH Public Interest Disclosures procedure and IBAC's Guidelines for making public interest disclosures - [web-link also provided as follows:-  https://www.ibac.vic.gov.au/publications-and-resources/article/guidelines-for-making-and-handling-protected-disclosures.]

        See also Fraud, Corruption and Other Losses Prevention and Management Procedure: https://www.rch.org.au/policy/policies/fraud-corruption-and-other-losses-prevention-and-mngmnt/

        8. Resolution Options

        Option 1 - Self management: A person who has a concern about the behaviour of another person may choose to raise the issue/s directly with that person    
        When to use this approach Approach  Key considerations 
        This option is best used to resolve issues and behaviours at the earliest convenience and where it is considered that this option would resolve the issue
        1. The person should clearly understand and articulate what the behaviours are that are of concern and it how the behaviours make them feel
        2. Seek clarification and support from their manager, HR Partner/HR Advisor to support a constructive conversation.  This includes determining the wording used (script), location and time for the conversation to take place. They may also wish to consult the Workplace Mediation and Support Officer or our Employee Assistance Program, Conflict Assist stream.
        3. The person should raise the issue/s with the other person explaining what their concerns are and requesting the behaviour to cease. 
        4. If the behaviour continues, a person can consider pursuing one of the options set out below.   
        • People choosing to self-manage their issue/s must behave appropriately and in line with the expectations of this procedure.  
        • Keep concerns confidential apart from someone that has a justifiable need to know.  See  Point 7, Other Information for further information
        • Support is also available from the EAP
        Option 2 - Informal resolution, A person who wishes to resolve concern about the behaviour of another person informally, however requires third party support in doing this    
        When to use this approach Approach  Key considerations 

        An informal resolution can be considered where the person would like to pursue the matter without a formal process, but does not feel comfortable approaching the other person directly.

        An impartial third party may be used as part of the informal resolution process and may be a Manager, Senior Manager, external party (mediator, consultant etc), or a HR Partner/HR Advisor
        1. The person should clearly understand and articulate what the behaviours are that are of concern and it how the behaviours make them feel
        2. Seek guidance from their manager, HR Partner/HR Advisor to determine how the informal resolution will take place e.g.; who will be involved, where etc.  Informal resolution may include mediation
        3. The informal resolution takes place with agreed outcomes file noted by the third party and expectations set documented for all parties
        4. Should the behaviour continue, the person may consider pursuing one of the options set out below
        • Anyone participating in an informal resolution must behave appropriately and in line with the expectations of this   procedure
        • Keep issues confidential apart from someone that has a justifiable need to know. See Point 7, Other Information for further information
        • Support is also available from the EAP

        Note: There may be circumstances where a Manager or HR Partner/HR Advisor may determine that self-management or informal resolution is not appropriate and more formal resolution/ action is required.  This may occur where the behaviour identified constitutes a risk to the health and safety of any person, where the behaviour is reflective of a broader issue, a repeated course of behaviour, or is unlawful.

        Click here for link to manager toolkit    

        Option 3 - Formal resolution, when informal resolutions to issues are unsuccessful and/or the behaviour is considered serious and requires formal resolution    
        When to use this approach Approach  Key considerations 

        Issues leading to a formal resolution may be discovered by a manager or via a complaint. 


        Formal resolution is used in the following circumstances;

        1. Informal resolutions have not been successful
        2. The alleged behaviour is serious and may be a breach of this procedure or other RCH procedures identified e.g.; Code of Conduct

        1. A complaint, either verbally or in writing is made to;

        • Their direct manager or more senior manager
        • Member of People and Culture including Director HR, HR Partner or HR Advisor.
        • Workplace Mediation and Support Officer
        • For serious unresolved complaints or those involving very senior staff:
          • Executive Director, People and Culture
          • Chief Executive Officer - ultimate decision-maker

        2. The complaint will need to be explained clearly, be inclusive of all relevant details, any supporting evidence or materials and name all parties involved

        The complaint, will be reviewed to determine the most appropriate form of formal resolution process.  The options may include but are not limited to;

        • Formal investigation
        • A formal disciplinary process (which may include allegations of serious and wilful misconduct)
        • Mediation/Restorative action process
        • Notification to external party e.g.; Victoria Police
        3. The steps of the formal resolution process will be communicated at the beginning of the process and will be dealt with in a timely and sensitive manner.
        • Anyone participating in a formal resolution process must behave appropriately and in line with the expectations this procedure.
        • Keep issues confidential apart from someone that has a justifiable need to know, See Point 7, Other Information for further information
        • Support is also available from the EAP

        Typical investigation process

        If the CEO and/or the Executive Director People & Culture determine an investigation is necessary as part of the formal resolution process, the following actions will may follow;

        1. A written/verbal complaint is provided to the appointed investigator to confirm/identify specific allegations;

        2. The respondent/s will be provided with:

        • a letter notifying them of a complaint,
        • the specific allegations,
        • possible outcomes to allegations if substantiated,
        • requirement to maintain confidentiality,
        • including process and support person
        • options to respond to the allegations;

        3. Employee Assistance Support Referral for both the complainant and respondent;

        4. Peer support and any other external support services, i.e. Beyond Blue, LifeLine, if appropriate;

        5. Interview the respondent and any witnesses to the incident/s;

        6. Investigation outcome to be provided to the relevant manager / Executive Director as appropriate;

        7. Outcome notified to the complainant and respondent e.g. allegations are substantiated or unsubstantiated.   

        Investigation outcome

        A substantiated allegation of behaviour that amounts to discrimination, harassment, bullying, victimization, vilification or occupational violence may constitute misconduct or serious misconduct under the Performance Management and Disciplinary Procedure. If the behaviour is unlawful, then it will require formal reporting to the Police and/or other external authorities. Formal disciplinary action in accordance with clause 4.2.2 of the Performance Management and Disciplinary Procedure may be undertaken based on an investigation conducted in accordance with the above procedure without the need for RCH to undertake any further investigation in relation to the alleged conduct.   Employees who have had allegations against them substantiated could face one or more of the following consequences:

        • Reporting to external authorities and formal charges
        • Provide a formal apology to the complainant or the broader workplace
        • Counselling and/or conciliation/mediation
        • Coaching and/or formal training
        • Verbal or written warning
        • Transfer or Demotion
        • Dismissal
        Other, specifically determined action/s following the outcome of the investigation    

        Note: The relevant Executive Director in consultation with HR, Legal Counsel and/or the CEO, will determine the investigation process, in each instance based upon the complaint, circumstances and information available and determine the most appropriate investigator to be assigned to the investigation, based on the required skills, experience and qualifications. Any formal investigation will be conducted in a timely manner, with consideration to witness availability etc. to ensure a conclusive outcome is achieved whilst adhering to the principles of natural justice, procedural fairness, confidentiality, without repercussions, and transparency, and comply with governing Public Sector and RCH Policies and Procedures.   

        Option 4 - External Resolution, when people utilise external organisations to seek advice and/or lodge a complaint    

        While staff are encouraged to use the RCH internal complaints procedure, they have a right to seek advice from and/or lodge a complaint with external bodies such as Worksafe, Fair Work Commission, Victoria Police or a state or federal equal opportunity and discrimination body or the Victorian Ombudsman.    

        Staff are not permitted to obstruct, hinder or take any other action which may interfere with the proceedings of the above-mentioned bodies or persons acting on their behalf.  Staff are required to comply with any requests for information or orders from an external body under the guidance of HR or the Legal Services department.   The information provided must not be false or misleading to the independent body.     

        9. Occupational Violence and Aggression (OVA) Resolution options

        When do I escalate occupational violence and aggression?

        If an interaction with a family or colleague leaves you feeling uncomfortable or unsafe, this is generally a good sign that their behaviour is not acceptable, and that escalation may be required. It is ok to be upset or angry, these emotions are perfectly normal when dealing with difficult people or situations, and it is important to acknowledge and deal with these so that they don’t impact your wellbeing following an interaction or incident. People usually recover quickly after exposure to OVA, often with practical and emotional support from others.  

        If the violent or aggressive behaviour is not escalated or addressed, it will likely continue, therefore it is vital that you escalate concerns appropriately.   

        How do I escalate?

        If a family, patients’ behaviour is escalating or you have concerns, in the first instance escalate to Nurse in charge, or medical team if the behaviour relates medical concerns - as you would if escalating care in normal circumstances. If required, contact the Code Grey Coordinator available Monday-Friday between 8am-11pm, and on weekends between 11:30am – 8pm. If it relates to a colleague, peruse the three options above.  

        Tips for de-escalating aggressive persons

        Reasoning with an aggressive or emotional person is often not possible. Your main objective should be to reduce the level of arousal so that discussion becomes possible.

        1. Appear calm, centred and self-assured, even though you might not feel that way.

        2. Acknowledge and empathise with the emotions behind the behaviour (e.g. "I understand that you are upset, this is a really tough situation, but it is not okay for you to talk to us like that”.)

        3. Suggest simple alternatives e.g. "Let me see if I can call someone to explain the situation a little better, Let me contact the ward for you so I can relay your concerns and find a solution".

        4. Allow extra physical space between yourself and the aggressor

        5. Treat the person with dignity and respect. Ignore insults and don't be judgemental   

        Post-incident support

        • Talk to your manager, Health and Safety Representative or someone you trust if you need to debrief after an incident or interaction
        • Inform Code Grey Team so that they can undertake a risk assessment if necessary, to help prevent future incidents.
        • RCH Peer Support Program - Call switchboard on 9345 5522 (internal 91) or email peer.support@rch.org.au Available 7 days via on-call (7am- 11pm), email or face to face.
        • Employee Assistance Program (EAP) –1300 687 327. All Converge International EAP Counsellors are qualified and experienced professionals who have extensive experience in their specialty areas.
        • EAP support is available 24 hours, 7 days a week, year round.
        • Pastoral & Spiritual Care – Contact Pastoral and Spiritual Care Coordinator 9345 4699. Pastoral and Spiritual Care offers support for patients, their families and members of staff. The care offered is nonreligious, unless specifically requested.
        • Workplace Health and Safety - DL-OHS-Workplacehealth-Safety@rch.org.au 

        10. Other information  

        Grievance and dispute resolution

        The grievance and dispute resolution procedure provides an avenue for staff to work through issues regarding their work environment such as changes to the environment etc.   Concerns relating to behaviour within the workplace will be dealt with under this procedure.   

        Anonymous complaints

        If you are subjected to unacceptable behaviour you have a right and obligation to report it. However, it can be difficult to investigate or intervene on the basis of anonymous complaints.  To act upon this type of complaint is unfair and not in accordance with natural justice or the behaviour of the RCH Compact. Nevertheless, the receipt of anonymous complaints may lead to an investigation and/or a review given such complaints reflect a level of dysfunction and concern for a less than safe and positive workplace. It is important to understand that the RCH is committed to a culture whereby people can ultimately speak openly and solve problems together through transparency in words and actions.  Employee representatives, such as unions and work colleagues can assist individuals in this process, so they are not left alone to raise an issue, if they don’t feel safe to do so. The RCH therefore considers such options as key supports to maintaining the principles of open disclosure, transparency and natural justice prevailing.      


        It is important to ensure that confidentiality around complaints and workplace issues is maintained.  This includes only discussing issues with people who have a justifiable need to know such as a manager, HR, EAP or support person.  This is to ensure the issue is dealt with in a sensitive manner, maintains the integrity of the investigative or resolution process, reduces the risk of the issue becoming bigger or more complex and assists in resolving the relationships of people involved.    

        Confidentiality is also critical during the formal investigative process to ensure the principles of natural justice and procedural fairness are maintained.  People involved in formal investigations will be reminded of this during the process and failure to do so may result in the Performance Management and Disciplinary Procedure being enacted.   

        Information about another person cannot be requested, supplied or utilised to enable the behaviours listed in this procedure to occur eg; use the information to discriminate, bully or harass someone that is involved in a workplace complaint.    

        False or vexatious complaints

        Any complaints made against another person in relation to this procedure which are found to be manifestly false or vexatious may result in disciplinary action taken in accordance with the Performance Management and Disciplinary Procedure.

        Former Employees who raise a complaint or allegation

        Former employees who come forward with a complaint or allegation of misconduct in the context of bullying or sexual harassment inter alia during their employment at the RCH, will be evaluated on a case by case basis in order to determine the best course of action, i.e. an investigation or review into historical events.  The Executive Director People & Culture, in consultation with the Chief Executive, will oversight any process attached to such claims and manage the formal communication with the former employee, as appropriate.    

        Appeals process

        If the complainant is not satisfied with the outcome of a formal investigation and has already received a response or outcome from the Chief Executive Officer, he/she may submit a written appeal to the Chair of the RCH Board. Such appeal must be filed within ten (10) business days after receipt of the decision. The Chair, or their Board nominee, will arrange such meetings with the complainant and other affected parties as deemed necessary, to review and discuss the appeal. The Chair, or Board nominee, will provide a written decision to the complainant’s appeal within ten (10) business days of the appeal being filed.   

        11. Legislation and references

        • Age Discrimination Act 2004 (Comm.)
        • Australian Human Rights Commission Act 1986 (Comm.)
        • Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Comm.)
        • Equal Opportunity Act 2010 (Vic.)
        • Fair Work Act 2009 (Comm.)
        • Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Comm.)
        • Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Comm.)
        • Racial and Religious Tolerance Act 2001 (Vic.)
        • Public Interests Disclosure Act 2012 (Vic.)
        • Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (Vic)
        • Commitment to Child Safety  (http://www.rch.org.au/quality/child-safety/)
        • Worksafe's "Workplace Bullying: A guide for employers."

        12. Related RCH Policy/Procedures

        13. Contacts

        • Director, Human Resources
        • Director, Workplace Health and Safety
        • HR Partners or HR Advisors
        • Health & Wellbeing Co-ordinator
        • Workplace Health and Safety Advisor
        • Injury Management Co-ordinator
        • Workplace Mediation and Support Officer
        • Interpreter Services Support 

        Flow chart - Safe and Positive Workplace Behaviours - Resolution Methods - [click here for a .pdf version]

        Resolution Methods SPWB procedure