- POLICY STATEMENT
The University is committed to creating a working and learning environment that is truly inclusive, where people understand, appreciate and value the diversity of each individual and where practices make people feel valued and able to participate and achieve their full potential. The University recognises that such an environment cannot be created or sustained if individuals are subjected to harassment, intimidation, aggression, bullying or other behaviour prohibited under this Dignity and Respect Policy (“Policy”). Such behaviour will therefore not be tolerated by the University.
The University expects all staff, students and visitors to treat everyone within the University community with dignity and respect, and it is committed to creating a culture where individuals feel confident about making complaints about behaviour prohibited under this Policy. All complaints will be taken seriously and treated sensitively and in a timely manner.
- PURPOSE AND SCOPE
The purpose of this Policy is to set out the University’s position on harassment, bullying, victimisation and other related prohibited conduct. It enjoins all staff and students of the University to take personal responsibility to ensure that the dignity of staff and students is respected; sets out the procedures for dealing with issues of harassment and bullying; and makes provision for staff and students to:
- challenge all forms of harassment and bullying;
- have their complaints dealt with quickly and effectively; and
- have the confidence and support to bring complaints without fear of ridicule or
This Policy is for use by students and staff. It covers bullying and harassment in the workplace and learning environment as well as in any work-related or learning-related settings outside the workplace or learning environment such as business trips, field trips and work and learning-related social events.
The University undertakes to:
- publicise this Policy widely;
- recruit, train and support Working Relationship Advisers and publicise their names and contact details widely;
- establish clear systems of communication and referral;
- develop, review and maintain procedures for dealing with complaints;
- monitor the implementation and operation of this
The Equality & Diversity Committee is responsible for supporting the implementation of this Policy.
- DEFINITIONS OF BEHAVIOUR PROHIBITED UNDER THIS POLICY
The University prohibits the following types of behaviour which are collectively referred to as prohibited conduct in this Policy:
Harassment is unwarranted, unwelcome and uninvited behaviour, which violates an individual’s dignity, or creates an intimidating, humiliating, hostile, degrading or offensive environment for them.
An individual or individuals may be subjected to harassment because they are perceived as being different or in a less powerful position than the harasser. Consequently, people who are in a minority position are more vulnerable to being harassed. Harassment may, however, occur in less obvious scenarios and outside traditional power relationships. A student may for example harass a member of staff or a manager may be harassed by a member of his/her staff.
Usually, behaviour that amounts to harassment is persistent and develops over a period of time. However, one-off incidents particularly those of a serious nature, can also constitute harassment.
Harassment is to be distinguished from vigorous academic debate. The latter is respectful and stimulates and encourages thought and discussion as opposed to the former, which is intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive to others.
The Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 makes it a criminal offence to intentionally cause a person harassment, harm or distress by using ‘threatening, abusive, insulting or disorderly behaviour’. Criminal proceedings could lead to conviction and criminal penalties. An employee could be personally liable to pay compensation to a successful claimant in a legal claim.
Bullying is unwanted “offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behaviour, an abuse or misuse of power through means that undermine, humiliate, denigrate or injure the recipient”1
Bullying is usually persistent and conducted by one person against another or a group of individuals against an individual or group of individuals causing them to suffer stress. It can, however, occur in less obvious scenarios and outside traditional power relationships. A member of staff may for example be bullied by a student or a manager by a member of his/her staff.
- Unlawful discrimination
Some types of bullying or harassment may also constitute unlawful discrimination (harassment which occurs because an individuals has a particular protected characteristic) and may give rise to the possibility of other civil claims or criminal proceedings that may proceed independently of the University’s disciplinary proceedings.
As defined by ACAS in Bullying and Harassment at Work, A Guide for Managers and Employers, page 5
Victimisation is less favourable treatment of a person because they have made allegations of harassment or other prohibited conduct, intend to make such an allegation, or have assisted or supported a person who has made such an allegation.
- Hate Crimes
Hate Crimes are “crimes or behaviour motivated by prejudice, hatred or intolerance that intentionally demean individuals and groups defined by their ethnicity, race, religion and belief, sexuality, gender, conscience, disability, age or lawful working practices and which give rise to an environment in which people will experience, or could reasonably, fear harassment, intimidation or violence.”2
If any of the abovementioned types of behaviour constitutes a criminal offence, the complainant or the University may contact the police if appropriate.
- HARASSMENT BY THIRD PARTIES
Where a complaint is made of harassment by a third party (that is, someone other than a member of staff or student of the University such as a contractor or a visitor), the University will ensure that it is investigated and that reasonable and appropriate action is taken to prevent the recurrence of any harassment.
Staff and students should report the details of any third party harassment immediately (including the date and time of occurrence) to the Director of Human Resources and to the Deputy University Secretary respectively.
- CONFIDENTIALITY & RECORD KEEPING
All reports of prohibited conduct as well as associated records will be treated with confidentiality. In cases where there is unacceptable risk to the personal health and or safety of the complainant or to others, the University may, however, need to make appropriate and lawful disclosure.
Where a complaint has been made and not substantiated following an investigation, no record will be kept on the personnel file of the person accused of prohibited conduct.
Where an employee makes a complaint to his/her manager or to Human Resources but does not wish to proceed to make a formal complaint, no record will be kept on the personnel file of the person accused of prohibited conduct.
- ADVICE AND SUPPORT
Support and advice is available for staff and students who feel that they are being bullied or harassed, or have had a complaint made about them. Some University sources are set out below and contact details for both internal and external sources of advice and support are set out in Appendix 2 below.
This definition has been provided by Universities UK, the Equality Challenge Unit and Standing Conference of Principals (SCOP)
Members of staff from across various functions within the University volunteer as Working Relationship Advisers. They are appropriately trained by the University and provide a confidential service that enables members of staff to discuss problems without recourse to the University’s formal processes.
Staff can select the Working Relationship Adviser they consider to be most appropriate. To avoid potential conflict of interests, it is recommended that they select a Working Relationship Adviser outside their own department or department of the person accused of prohibited conduct.
If a Working Relationship Adviser is unable to take on a case due to a potential conflict of interest, personal commitments or other reasons, he/she will refer the member of staff to another Working Relationship Adviser.
Working Relationship Advisers can:
- Provide staff with support and a confidential environment in which to discuss problems.
- Provide staff with information on available options and assist them in thinking through their
- Support staff in making decisions appropriate to their circumstances and empower them to
- Accompany staff at meetings in an informal capacity or under their ‘right to be accompanied’.
- Provide staff with a visitation record if so requested, as proof that assistance was sought.
- Arrange a facilitated meeting between two parties with a trained facilitator who has no allegiance to either
Working Relationship Advisers will not:
- Pass on specific information or details about who has accessed the service except for a visitation record at the request of the member of
- Make decisions for
- Take action against the person accused of prohibited conduct;
- Mediate or negotiate between the member of staff and the person accused of prohibited
- Meet staff outside the Working Relationship Adviser’s working hours or off the University’s
Members of staff can access counselling by contacting the Employee Assistance Programme. Please see Appendix 2 for details.
- Pastoral Care
The Chaplaincy provides pastoral care to both staff and students of all faiths or no faiths.
Students can contact a Student Welfare Officer, Chaplain or Health and Wellbeing Adviser and appropriate forms of support will be identified including counselling. The services outlined above that are provided for staff are also available to students via Student Welfare Officers and other student support officers.