Respect, Equity and Diversity

The ACT Education Directorate is an organisation that supports the respect, equity and diversity principles and practices. The ACT Public Service Respect, Equity and Diversity Framework provides a focus on respectful workplaces and aims to ensure that all employees value and consider others at work. The quality of our workplace relationships has an impact on our capability, capacity and wellbeing. Every person deserves to be treated with respect and courtesy.

In the first instance, when you are experiencing a challenging situation or conflict, see and speak to a Respect, Equity and Diversity Contact Officer (REDCO). There are over 140 REDCOs throughout the Directorate. REDCOs are there to listen, provide support and information about the options available if you are experiencing workplace issues that are inappropriate or may constitute misconduct, including work bullying, harassment or discrimination.

Respect, Equity and Diversity Contact Officers (REDCOs) are an initial point of contact who provide information and guidance to workers who may be the subject of workplace issues, including work bullying, discrimination or harassment. Their role also includes being proactive in the promotion of respect, equity and diversity within the workplace. REDCOs play an important part in creating and maintaining a positive workplace culture.  REDCOs are unable to assess whether misconduct has occurred but can provide you with options for recourse if you believe it has.

In addition to REDCOs within Education, you can contact REDCOs across all of ACT Government for assistance, noting that they may lack some of the specific details of your organisation.  In instances where you would prefer to talk to someone in a different Directorate, please refer to the Whole of Government REDCO list available below.

Due to the impacts of COVID-19 on you and your workplace, it might be difficult to organise a Contact Meeting when you are experiencing workplace issues. If you are experiencing workplace issues and would like to talk to a REDCO, but are unable to meet in person, in the first instance you should still talk to your preferred REDCO to see if they are able to hold a contact-free meeting, either over the phone or via a videoconferencing service.

If your REDCO is unable to hold such a meeting for whatever reason, they may refer you to one of our contact-free REDCOs. These individuals can be found on the Respect Equity and Diversity Contact Officer (REDCO) Contact List page and will be able to discuss your workplace issue without the need for a face-to-face meeting.

If you are an active REDCO in the ACT Education Directorate, you can find resources that will help you provide support to your peers at the REDCO Network Hub

The Directorate has three Employee Assistance Program providers (EAP). The EAP provides employees and their family members with confidential, professional counselling and related services to assist in resolving work related or personal issues.

You can also contact the Respect, Equity and Diversity Network Coordinator in Diversity & Culture or another team member on 620 55477.

The Directorate has a zero tolerance on all forms of discriminatory and harassing behaviours.  If you have experienced any of these, you can contact a REDCO to discuss further options or refer to the Complaints and Dispute Resolution Toolkit for more options.

What Is Discrimination?

Discrimination is broadly defined as the unfavourable treatment of a person, or that has, or likely to have, an effect of disadvantaging a person based on their protected attributes. Under the ACT Discrimination Act 1991 it is unlawful to discriminate against another person on any of the following grounds:

  • Race;
  • Colour;
  • Sex;
  • Sexual preference;
  • Age;
  • Physical or mental disability;
  • Marital status;
  • Family or carer's responsibilities;
  • Pregnancy;
  • Religion;
  • Political opinion;
  • National extraction; and
  • Social origin (association with a person who has an attribute listed above)

Unlawful discrimination may be direct or indirect.
Direct Discrimination: occurs when somebody is treated unfavourably because of a protected attribute.
Indirect Discrimination: occurs when a requirement (or rule) that appears to be neutral and the same for everyone in fact has the effect of disadvantaging someone because they have an attribute covered by the Act. The effect has to be unreasonable.

What Is Harassment?

Harassment is a form of work bullying, involving behaviour that causes humiliation, abuse, offence or intimidation, and is on the basis of their particular characteristic.
Harassment can be written or verbal and includes behaviours such as:

  • telling insulting jokes about particular racial groups;
  • sending explicit or sexually suggestive emails;
  • displaying offensive material;
  • making derogatory comments or taunts about someone's race or religion, or sexual preference;
  • asking intrusive questions about someone's personal life.

What Is Sexual Harassment?

Sexual harassment is any unwanted or unwelcome sexual behaviour that makes you feel offended, humiliated or intimidated. Sexual harassment is a form of discrimination.
Some examples include:

  • Sexually suggestive comments or jokes;
  • Wolf whistling or sexual gestures;
  • Pinching, touching or hugging;
  • Sending sexually offensive material by email, fax, telephone or social media;
  • Repeated requests to go out on dates;
  • Requests for sex;
  • Intrusive questions about your personal life;
  • Displaying pictures, magazines or screen savers of a sexual nature.

In the event of assault, sexual or otherwise, you must contact the police immediately.

The Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS) assists Non-English Speakers (NES) to communicate in over 100 languages with an officer of a Commonwealth, State or Territory government service, through an interpreter who speaks their language.
Under the principles of the Commonwealth's Charter of Public Service in a Culturally Diverse Society (endorsed by Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments in June 1998) all government services should be sensitive to the needs and requirements of clients from diverse linguistic backgrounds, and responsive as far as practicable to the particular circumstances of individuals.
Staff are reminded of the Directorate's obligation under the Charter and asked to cooperate, including:

  • accepting incoming calls from TIS telephone operators;
  • accepting responsibility for payment of charges associated with the provision of telephone interpreting services; and
  • providing relevant agency identification details as requested by the TIS operator
    e.g. name of the employee accepting the call, name of Section/School, and telephone number.

To arrange an interpreter, contact the Translating and Interpreting Service 131 450. Alternatively visit the Department of Immigration and Border Protection website's page on Working with TIS National Interpreters or the ACT Community Services website to view the ACT Language Services Policy.
Under the ACT Multicultural Framework 2015-2020, ACT Government directorates are required to incorporate information on how to access interpreting assistance on all significant directorate publications and websites.

RED Training Available

Respect, Equity and Diversity (RED) Training will be available to staff in April 2020. RED Training is encouraged for all Education Directorate staff, so if you haven’t yet attended a session please register for one of the dates below.

Dates:           Wednesday 1 April 2020 - All Staff
                      Tuesday 7 April 2020 - Managers and School Leaders
Time:             9:30am - 12:30am
Location:       Meeting Room 7, Hedley Beare Centre for Teaching and Learning
                      51 Fremantle Drive Stirling

Please email EDULearningandDevelopment@act.gov.au to be sent an invitation to the training.

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