Harassment and Discrimination Contact Officers
The Staff Equity and Diversity Office within Human Resources maintains a trained network of volunteer employee Harassment and Discrimination Contact Officers (HDCOs) in most areas of the University, providing a vital link to ensure that the University meets its legal obligations in relation to employment and education. HDCOs are recruited through a nomination process.
A HDCO is usually the first point of contact and information for employees and students seeking further information regarding discrimination, workplace harassment, sexual harassment and bullying (eg race, gender, sexuality or disability discrimination).
A HDCO may be contacted by:
- employees or students who feel they have experienced discrimination or harassment (complainants)
- employees or students who think a complaint of discrimination or harassment may be made against them (respondents), or
- supervisors/managers resolving complaints of discrimination or harassment.
The specific role of HDCOs is to:
- Provide a ‘first point of contact' for people with enquiries related to discrimination, harassment and bullying.
- Provide information to clients, including complainants, respondents and managers/supervisors about the University's policies, grievance resolution procedures related to harassment and discrimination, and where to access support or advice, both internal and external to USQ
- Assist people to identify and respond to workplace harassment.
- Undertake awareness-raising in the workplace about USQ policies and procedures in regard to discrimination and harassment and complaint resolution.
- Assist parties to work towards a solution by encouraging them to generate options for dealing with their particular concern.
- Where possible and as appropriate, encourage parties to utilise the lower level, informal processes available to them.
- Provide feedback for statistical purposes, and
- Alert Staff Equity and Diversity in Human Resources to any issues/problems related to the HDCO role.
Information for complainants
When contacted by a complainant, the role of a HDCO includes:
- listening to and assisting the complainant to clarify the nature of their complaint
- exploring possible strategies/options for the complainant to resolve the situation directly with the respondent (if they choose to do so)
- accompanying the complainant (as a support person), to any meetings with the respondent or the respondent's supervisor (if requested)
- informing the complainant of options available through USQ’s discrimination and harassment complaint procedures
- informing the complainant of rights and responsibilities under legislation and procedures for taking a complaint through external channels, such as the Australian Human Rights Commission or the Anti-Discrimination Commission, Queensland (if they choose to do so)
- ensuring the complainant understands the need to maintain confidentiality.
Information for respondents
When contacted by a respondent, the role of a HDCO includes:
- listening to and assisting the respondent to understand the nature of the complaint and to clarify their response
- exploring possible strategies/options for the respondent to resolve the situation
- accompanying the respondent (as a support person), to any meetings with the complainant or the complainant's supervisor (if requested)
- informing the respondent of USQ's discrimination and harassment complaint procedures
- informing the respondent of their rights and responsibilities under legislation and procedures if a complaint is taken through external channels, such as the Australian Human Rights Commission or the Anti-Discrimination Commission, Queensland.
- ensuring the respondent understands the need to maintain confidentiality.
A HDCO will not advise both the complainant and respondent for the same complaint. If both parties contact the same HDCO, one will be referred to another HDCO.
Information for managers and supervisors
When contacted by a manager or supervisor, the role of a Harassment and Discrimination Contact Officer includes:
- explaining USQ’s discrimination and harassment complaint procedures
- clarifying the nature of a complaint
- providing options or strategies for resolving a complaint of discrimination or harassment.
The role of a HDCO is to inform and support one of the parties to a complaint and to ensure that a fair and just process is being followed.
A HDCO will not:
- engage in advocacy on behalf of an individual
- undertake mediation or investigation
- in any way become involved in the grievance resolution process
- act as a HDCO in situations where there may be a conflict of interest. In such instances, clients are to be referred.
It is expected that HDCOs will:
- have a commitment to and an understanding of social justice and equal opportunity.
- be discreet and maintain confidentiality of the issues raised by employees and students seeking information.
Harassment and Discrimination Contact Officers
Employees and students may contact any one of the trained HDCOs for information and assistance at Toowoomba, Springfield and Fraser Coast Campuses.
Please note that the HDCOs are part-time volunteers whose role is to provide information about USQ processes. This does not in any way constitute legal advice.
Melissa Bradey, Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences
Raeleen Cahill, Student Administrative and Academic Support
Maria Giuffrida, Campus Services
Sharlene Gordon, Student Services and Social Justice Administration
Coralie Graham, School of Health, Nursing and Midwifery
Caitlin Gurney, Human Resources
Melissa Jarick, Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences
Kay Lembo, School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences
Robert Mason, School of Arts and Communication
Fatima Ngandu, ICT Services
Kim Southey, School of Management and Enterprise
Mathew Irwin (Residential Advisor), Concannon College
Fraser Coast Campus
Pamela Goodfellow, Fraser Coast Administration
Helen van Herk, Fraser Coast Administration
Jason Wain, Fraser Coast Administration
Tony Dowden, School of Teacher Education and Early Childhood