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Safe, secure and supportive workplaces

Queensland Health is committed to providing a safe, secure and supportive workplace.

Every employee has the right to work in an environment free from any form of harassment, sexual harassment and discrimination—appropriate workplace behaviour is the responsibility of every employee.

Behaviour which would constitute harassment, sexual harassment or unlawful discrimination in the workplace is unacceptable and will not be tolerated in any form, under any circumstances, by any employee within Queensland Health.

Workplace harassment

Workplace harassment is repeated and unreasonable behaviour directed towards a worker or group of workers that:

  • creates a risk to health and safety
  • is unwelcome and unsolicited
  • would victimise, humiliate, intimidate or threaten most people if it happened to them.

Examples of harassment include:

  • inappropriate labelling
  • threats and intimidation
  • belittling the opinions of another person
  • spreading rumors
  • making a person feel isolated, alienated or excluded
  • unwarranted criticism of work performance
  • creating and/or imposing unrealistic deadlines or pressure
  • undermining work performance or inappropriately withholding information
  • giving an untrue referee report.

Sexual harassment

Sexual harassment is any unwelcome sexual attention that makes a person feel offended, humiliated or intimidated, and where that reaction is reasonable in the circumstances.

Sexual harassment does not have to be deliberate or repeated, and may be considered unlawful under the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991(PDF, 622KB).

This may include:

  • unwelcome physical touching
  • sexual or suggestive comments, jokes or taunts
  • unwelcome requests for sex
  • the display of sexual material (e.g. photos or pictures) 
  • sexual reading matter (e.g. emails, faxes or letters).

Workplace discrimination

Workplace discrimination, whether direct or indirect, is unlawful on the following grounds under the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 (PDF, 622KB):

  • sex
  • relationship status
  • pregnancy
  • parental status
  • breastfeeding
  • age
  • race
  • impairment
  • religious belief or religious activity
  • trade union activity
  • lawful sexual activity
  • gender identity
  • sexuality
  • family responsibilities
  • association with, or relation to, a person identified on the basis of any of the above grounds.

Discrimination is unlawful in work, or work-related areas, and in the provision of services to patients and clients. 

The Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 allows for some exemptions to the prohibition of discrimination (e.g. for genuine occupation requirements) and is also relevant to discrimination in other areas of public life.

Employees are legally obliged to ensure they do not unlawfully discriminate against fellow employees, supervisors, line managers, clients, patients or any other person with whom they come into contract through work.

Discrimination occurs when a person is treated less favourably in certain areas of public life, including work related areas because of a personal characteristic or attribute. Unlawful discrimination can be either direct or indirect:

  • Direct: any action which specifically excludes a person or group of people from a benefit or opportunity, or significantly reduces their chances of obtaining it because of a personal characteristic irrelevant to the situation.
  • Indirect: any outcomes of rules, practices and decisions which purport to treat people equally and therefore appear to be neutral, but which are unreasonable and reduce an individual's chances of obtaining a benefit or opportunity (e.g. height and weight requirements for candidates for a role which are irrelevant).
Unlawful discrimination or vilification may constitute suspected corrupt conduct and may need to be reported in accordance with applicable policy.

Further information and support

For information and support, please speak with your:

If you are unable or do not feel comfortable doing so, please contact your local human resources unit or call the Employee Assistance Program on 1800 604 640.

Department of Health and non-prescribed Hospital and Health Service employees may also call the staff complaints hotline or 1800 195 240 or email Staffcomplaints@health.qld.gov.au

Last updated: 1 July 2015

Further information and support

  • speak with yourline manager
  • get support from yourlocal HR unit
  • access the Employee Assistance Programavailable 24 hours a day, seven days a week, on 1800 604 640.