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Unacceptable Behaviour in the Workplace

Defence is a highly capable organisation bound by complementarities of our strong single Service and Australian Public Service (APS) cultures. Defence people are dedicated professionals who rise to challenges large and small, demonstrate high standards of professionalism, and contribute to our reputation for excellence within the Australian community.

What is unacceptable behaviour?: Unacceptable behaviour in the workplace is behaviour that, having regard to all of the circumstances, would be perceived as offensive or threatening to another person and may result in psychological injury. Unacceptable behaviour can have a significant impact on the mental health of people involved, and is categorised under six general headings:

Harassment: Behaviour that a reasonable person, having regard to all of the circumstances, would consider to be offensive, insulting, humiliating or intimidating.

Workplace Bullying: Defined as an aggressive form of harassment that is considered a persistent, unreasonable pattern of behaviour towards an individual or group.

Sexual Harassment or Assault: Unwelcome sexual advances to another person, or requests for sexual favours. Sometimes what one person thinks is sexual harassment can actually be a form of sexual assault.

Discrimination: Any distinction, exclusion or preference that has the effect of nullifying or impairing equality of opportunity or treatment in employment or occupation.

Abuse of Power: Use of rank or position to harass, discriminate or bully a subordinate is unacceptable, unethical and in some situations can constitute criminal behaviour.

Inappropriate Workplace Relationships and Conflict of Interest: Any relationship that involves, or gives the appearance of involving partiality, preferential treatment or improper use of rank or position.

Where can I get help?

ADF members can seek support for managing the mental health impacts of unacceptable behaviour via the Need Help Now? page or on the Health and Rehabilitation Services page.

Information and support for managing and reporting unacceptable behaviour can be found at the following links:

24 April, 2020