Policies & standards
Policies & standards
Equal Opportunity & Non-discrimination
Alumina Limited is committed to treating Employees with respect and fairness. This goal is reflected in the Company’s value statements and Code of Conduct. As such, Alumina does not condone discrimination or harassment and any occurrence will be dealt with in accordance with the following policy.
Alumina recruits, develops and promotes personnel on the basis of merit.
Alumina strives to maintain a work environment free from discrimination and harassment.
This policy is an integral part of Alumina’s values Code of Conduct.
2.1 What is equal opportunity?
Equal opportunity means treating individuals fairly and without discrimination in all aspects of their employment.
Discrimination means treating an individual less favourably than others on grounds prohibited by law.
2.2 Unlawful discrimination
Grounds of unlawful discrimination include:
- marital status
- family responsibilities
- political beliefs or activity
- religious beliefs or activity
- sexual orientation
- physical features
- personal association (whether as a relative or otherwise) with a person with a protected attribute
- freedom of association
- victimisation (eg whistleblower)
- breast feeding, gender identity, industrial activity, parental status or status as a carer
- criminal record
Note: The law provides exemptions and varies from State to State.
Discrimination may take many forms, eg direct, indirect, harassment or vilification. All forms are unlawful unless exempted by law.
2.4 Direct discrimination
Direct discrimination occurs when an individual is treated less favourably than others without that attribute or with a different attribute.
For example two individuals apply for a promotion - one is male and one is female. The male candidate succeeds on the basis that he will better fit the image of the employer.
2.5 Indirect discrimination
Indirect discrimination occurs when a policy or practice is fair on its face but when applied, discriminates against an individual or a particular group and is unreasonable.
For example, an advertisement for a position of Office Clerk states “Applicants must have a good command of the English language.” A Caucasian and an Asian apply for the position.
The position does not require the Employee to answer the telephone or talk to anyone other than work colleagues, however the Asian is rejected due to that person’s heavily accented English language skill.
Harassment occurs when an individual engages in offensive, abusive, belittling or threatening behaviour directed at an individual or a group because of a real or perceived attribute or difference of the other person(s). The behaviour is unwelcome, unsolicited, usually unreciprocated and usually (but not always) repeated.
It may take many forms, eg sexual harassment, racial harassment.
2.7 Sexual harassment
Sexual harassment means any verbal, written or physical conduct that is unwelcome and uninvited resulting in an individual being offended, humiliated or intimidated where that result was reasonably anticipated. A single act may be sufficient. The intention of the person is not relevant. It includes subjecting a person to any act of physical intimacy or making any action or comment of a sexual nature in a person’s presence.
For example, asking a colleague whether they had sex on the weekend; sending a sexually explicit email.
Further examples of behaviour which constitutes sexual harassment are documented at the end of this policy.
2.8 Racial harassment
Racial harassment means any verbal, written or physical conduct that is unwelcome and uninvited resulting in an individual being offended, humiliated or intimidated where that result was reasonably anticipated. A single act may be sufficient.
For example, telling a joke about a particular race; using derogatory names such as “wog”, “chink”, etc.
2.9 Workplace bullying
Where a person feels that they are being bullied or intimidated in the workplace, the procedure set out in this policy should (to the extent appropriate) be followed. Bullying can include verbal abuse, psychological harassment, victimisation, intimidation and actions that humiliate.
Note that workplace bullying or intimidation may not breach anti-discrimination laws.
However, such behaviour may breach Alumina’s Code of Conduct; Occupational Health and Safety laws or Criminal laws.
It is unlawful to victimise an individual who has made a report of discrimination or harassment, or an individual who has given information/evidence on behalf of another, or who makes a report to or against the employer in circumstances where the report is made in good faith.
Vilification means conduct which incites hatred towards, serious contempt for, or severe ridicule of a person or group of persons for a prohibited reason. For example, a person’s race.
Discrimination in the employment cycle.
It is unlawful to discriminate at any stage of the employment cycle, including in:
- recruitment and selection
- terms and conditions of employment;
- retrenchment or dismissal
A breach of this policy or of the anti-discrimination laws may result (among other things) in one or more of the following:
- disciplinary action against the offender
- legal proceedings against the offender
- legal proceedings against the employer of the offender
- legal proceedings against an individual who has somehow facilitated the commission of the unlawful conduct/behaviour by the offender
- defamation proceedings in the civil courts
For procedures regarding the process in reporting a complaint, refer Appendix A.
1. Dealing with complaints
If an individual has an issue about discrimination at work, Alumina encourages the individual to first address the issue directly with the colleague who has given rise to the concerns and to make it clearly known to that person that the behaviour/conduct is unwelcome and ask the person to desist.
Complaints of an equal opportunity nature should be referred to the General Counsel/Company Secretary for consideration and action according to guidelines set out below.
- Lodge complaint (verbal or in writing) to General Counsel/Company Secretary.
- General Counsel/Company Secretary documents receipt of complaint.
- General Counsel/Company establishes and documents a plan of action including the need (if any) to take immediate action (eg suspend offending individual on full pay pending outcome of investigation) to alleviate a situation or to involve lawyers at an early stage.
- General Counsel/Company Secretary informs complainant of plan of action. (Any issues raised by complainant about plan of action need to be addressed at this stage)
- Conduct investigation (in private) and document.
- Inform outcome of investigation and recommendations for further action to Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
- Inform outcome of investigation to complainant; alleged offender and CEO.
- Consider and deal with any comments or responses of the complainant and alleged offender to outcome of investigation with an external HR Adviser.
- Decision as to appropriate disciplinary action (if any) is to be taken by CEO.
- Implement and document disciplinary action.
- Inform complainant of disciplinary action and obtain confirmation (in writing) that the complainant accepts that complaint is resolved.
At all stages of this procedure, it is imperative that confidentiality is maintained as to the issues, their nature, the identity of the complainant, the identity of the alleged offender and any documents generated in the process.
While respecting confidentiality, Alumina is obliged to investigate and act upon complaints, and this will likely involve details and/or documents being passed onto persons involved in, and those investigating, the complaint. Alumina will do this on a “need to know basis”.
All persons involved with the process are required to maintain confidentiality. This is to protect the rights of the complainant and the alleged offender. It is also to minimise the risk of defamatory action being taken.
4. Documenting Complaints and Resolutions
Documenting each step in the procedure is important to enable:
- Issues to be clarified
- Timely recording of information and evidence
- Natural justice processes to be followed
- Defence of any legal proceedings issued
Documents should be visibly marked on each page: “Strictly Private & Confidential”
All documents generated in relation to the lodgement of a complaint must be collated and retained on a file (separate from an individual’s personal file). The file is to be visibly marked “Strictly Private & Confidential” and is to be retained in a secure place.
Once the complaint is resolved, the file needs to be placed in a sealed envelope and forwarded to the CEO marked “Strictly Private & Confidential”.
The CEO will retain the file in a secure place and relevant personal files will be crossreferenced appropriately.
To assist with the resolution of issues in accordance with this procedure, the following pro-forma forms should be used - refer Schedule of Forms Appendix B.
Where appropriate, the forms can be adapted to suit individual circumstances.
If unsure at any stage of the process, please contact the General Counsel/Company Secretary.
1. Sexual Harassment - expanded definitions and examples.
The Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (“the SDA”), which is a Federal Act, and equivalent legislation in the States and Territories, makes sexual harassment in employment unlawful.
The definition of sexual harassment in the SDA is that a person sexually harasses another person:
- If that person makes an unwelcome sexual advance, or unwelcome request for sexual favours, to the person harassed, or engages in other unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature in relation to the person harassed
- In circumstances in which a reasonable person, having regard to all the circumstances, would have anticipated the person harassed would be offended, humiliated or intimidated
“Conduct of a sexual nature” includes making a statement of a sexual nature to a person or in the presence of a person. It includes both oral and written statements.
Unlawful conduct may occur when:
- Acceptance or rejection of the conduct is used to make employment decisions (hiring, promoting, allocating work assignments, pay increases) that affect the person claiming harassment
- The conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with the Employee’s job performance
- The conduct creates an intimidating, hostile, offensive or sexually permeated work environment
Sexual harassment may consist of any of the following:
- Physical contact such as kissing, patting, pinching or touching in a sexual way, unnecessary familiarity such as deliberately brushing against a person or putting an arm around another person’s body
- Sexually explicit conversation
- Unwelcome remarks or insinuations about a person’s sex or private life
- Suggestive comments about a person’s appearance or body
- Gender based insults
- Sexual propositions
- Persistent requests for dates
- Sexual jokes, abusive language, innuendos, offensive telephone calls or emails, displays of obscene or pornographic photographs, pictures, emails, posters or objects but is not limited to conduct of this type.
Unwelcome conduct of this type is harassment, whether or not the conduct is related directly or indirectly to the continuance of the employment of the harassed person, or his or her promotion, or otherwise affects or is seen as affecting conditions of employment.
Developing friendships with other workers is not sexual harassment. Alumina has no concern with the private life of a staff member, unless it affects an Employee’s job performance and/or behaviour in the workplace or the standing of the Company.
Any queries in relation to this policy or its implementation should be referred to the General Counsel/Company Secretary.
Legislation (current as at 1 November 2005)
1. Racial Discrimination Act 1975
2. Sex Discrimination Act 1984
3. Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission Act 1986
4. Disability Discrimination Act 1992
5. Workplace Relations Act 1996
6. Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Act 1999
7. Equal Opportunity Act 1995
8. Equal Opportunity (Breastfeeding) Act 2000
9. Equal Opportunity (Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation) Act 2000
10. Occupational Health and Safety Act 1985, section 54.
11. Racial and Religious Tolerance Act 2001
12. Whistleblowers Protection Act 2001