Discrimination and Harassment Contact Officers (DHCOs) are trained UQ staff members who can be contacted by staff and students with enquiries related to discrimination, harassment and bullying.

Before contacting a DHCO, please read about their role below:

What is a DHCO?

A Discrimination and Harassment Contact Officer holds a volunteer position that provides students and staff with information relating to real or perceived issues of discrimination, harassment and bullying. The role of a DHCO does not in any way remove responsibility from the designated officer in a University grievance resolution procedure, or other prescribed University processes.

The University of Queensland has an obligation as an employer and educational institution, to provide an environment free of discrimination, harassment and bullying. As volunteer staff DHCOs undertake an important role in assisting UQ to meet this obligation.

DHCOs provide a first-point-of-call for staff and students to receive information about the University policies, grievance resolution procedures and access to support services that are internal and external to UQ.

You can find a DHCO here.

Role of DHCOs

The specific role of a DHCO is to:

  • Provide a ‘first point of contact' for people with enquiries related to discrimination, harassment and bullying.
  • Provide information to people, including complainants, respondents and managers/supervisors about the University's policies and grievance resolution procedures related to harassment, discrimination and bullying, and where to access support or advice, both internal and external to The University.
  • Undertake awareness-raising in the workplace about University policies and procedures in regard to discrimination, harassment and bullying, and the grievance resolution process.
  • Assist parties to work towards a solution of an issue 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 to Workplace Diversity and Inclusion, Human Resources Division for statistical purposes, and alert them to any issues/problems related to the DHCO role.

Image of four people sitting on the lawn of the Great Court at the St Lucia campus.

Expectations of a DHCO

It is expected that DHCOs will:

  • Have a commitment to, and understanding of, social justice and equal opportunity.
  • Provide accurate information and appropriately refer matters as required.
  • By their own behaviour, act as a role model to other staff and to students.
  • Be proactive in promoting a discrimination, harassment and bullying free environment.
  • Be discreet and maintain confidentiality of the issues raised by persons seeking advice, with the following caveat: A DHCO is required to advise an appropriate senior staff member if they believe a person may be in danger or potentially endanger someone else, or if they believe the issue is or may be potentially extremely serious.

 A DHCO will not:

  • Engage in advocacy on behalf of an individual.
  • Undertake mediation or investigation.
  • In any way become involved in the formal grievance resolution process prescribed by policy other than as described in the role description.
  • Act as a DHCO in situations where they may be a conflict of interest. In such instances, the person is to be referred.

How do I become a DHCO?

You will have a commitment to fairness, a desire to assist people resolve conflict, an interest in supporting the elimination of discrimination, harassment and bullying, the capacity to deal with confidential, often complex interpersonal matters and to be objective.

DHCOs are required to:

  1. Have completed both modules of the EO-Online training program.
  2. Undertake the University’s DHCO training course and be registered with the Workplace Diversity and Inclusion Unit before commencing as a DHCO.
  3. Undertake a refresher training program at least once every two years, or as required by Workplace Diversity and Inclusion in response to changes in legislation or University policy which affect procedures.
  4. Keep up to date with any changes in policies and procedures.
  5. Provide Workplace Diversity and Inclusion with feedback, including the return of DHCO Report Forms.

The DHCO's role is voluntary, and undertaken in addition to the person's normal duties.  It is important that supervisors/managers support the work of the DHCO. The role may be recognised as a legitimate aspect of ‘service’ for academic staff. A staff member wishing to take on this role should discuss this with their supervisor/manager prior to undertaking training. Supervisors/managers are welcome to contact the Workplace Diversity and Inclusion Unit to discuss the implications of a staff member in their area becoming a DHCO.

Staff members wishing to become a DHCO should register online through the Staff Development site for the next training day.

Enquiries relating to discrimination, harassment and bullying

If you have an enquiry relating to discrimination, harassment and bullying you have the option of contacting:

How do I find a DHCO?

You can contact any of the listed DHCOs across all of our campuses here.