ACEMS expects professional and appropriate conduct from its members at all times. Professional and appropriate conduct involves scientific and ethical integrity, respectful behaviour towards others and equality of opportunity and treatment for everyone. Harassment, sexual or otherwise, is a form of misconduct that has no place in ACEMS. Members of ACEMS should actively work towards preventing misconduct in any form within our ACEMS community and the mathematical and statistical sciences.
What to do if you encounter misconduct
Any member of ACEMS who wishes to report or discuss an issue related to misconduct is encouraged to contact the ACEMS Equity and Diversity Committee or any member of the Executive Committee. You can find the contacts of all members on the ACEMS website’s ‘People’ page.
Understanding Professional Ethics
ACEMS condemns, in the strongest terms possible, harassment towards anyone.
Harassment is a form of discrimination and is unlawful under both federal and all Australian state anti-discrimination laws.
Harassment is demeaning or threatening behaviour directed at an individual, or a group of people. This conduct may include, but is not limited to: epithets, slurs or negative stereotyping; threatening, intimidating or hostile acts; display or circulation of written or graphic material that disparages or shows hostility or aversion toward an individual or group; offensive verbal or written comments; disrespectful, dishonest or bullying comments on social media; sustained disruption of talks, or other events; or denigrating jokes.
Harassment also refers to bullying or coercion of a sexual nature. Sexual harassment can include offensive remarks about a person’s gender, gender identity or sexual preference. Harassment may include unwelcome or inappropriate promises of rewards in exchange for sexual favours. The following are examples of behaviour that, when unwelcome and not stopped immediately upon request, may constitute sexual harassment: sexual flirtations, advances or propositions; unnecessary touching; verbal or written comments or physical actions of a sexual nature; sexually degrading words used to describe an individual; a display of sexually suggestive objects or pictures; or sexually explicit jokes. If at any time the object of these advances is perceived to be uncomfortable in a situation, then this may constitute sexual harassment.
It is important to be aware of discomfort or offence that words or actions may cause. A teasing comment or offhand remark that may be inoffensive to some may be perceived as harassment by others. Individuals should act to ensure that their words and actions communicate respect for others. Individuals are also encouraged to let others know when behaviour directed towards them is causing discomfort. Furthermore, individuals who witness inappropriate behaviour directed towards someone else, should also speak out. It is important to creating a culture of inclusion that inappropriate behaviour is called out by others.
It is also important to recognise the role of power in harassment. There is an inherent power imbalance between senior and junior members of the community, with the former often holding power over the career advancement of junior members. Individuals with lower rank or a subordinate position may be reluctant to express their objections or discomfort regarding unwelcome behaviour. Individuals should be aware of how their actions may be interpreted by their juniors.
Harassment can have long-lasting negative effects. At ACEMS, all members have an obligation to promote an environment free of harassment and to call out harassment whenever they see it or hear about it.