42.1 All staff must be treated with dignity and respect, free from harassment or other forms of bullying at work.
42.2 You are expected to treat your colleagues and clients, with dignity and respect and you should consider whether your words or conduct could be offensive to others. Even unintentional harassment or bullying is unacceptable.
42.3 The Equality Act 2010 prohibits harassment related to gender, sexual orientation, marital or civil partner status, gender reassignment, race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin, religion or belief, disability or age.
42.4 The Protection from Harassment Act 1997 also makes it unlawful to pursue a course of conduct which you know or ought to know would be harassment, which includes causing someone alarm or distress.
42.5 Where harassment or bullying is shown to have taken place, if you are an employee, it will be dealt with under our Disciplinary Procedure as a form of misconduct. In some cases it may be treated as gross misconduct leading to summary dismissal. We reserve the right to terminate our contractual relationship with other workers if they breach this policy.
42.6 This policy does not form part of your Contract and we may amend it at any time or depart from it where we consider appropriate.
42.7 What are harassment and bullying?
Harassment is any unwanted physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct which has the purpose or effect of violating a person’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for them. It also includes treating someone less favourably because they have submitted or refused to submit to such behaviour in the past.
Harassment often (but not exclusively) targets the gender, sexual orientation, marital or civil partner status, gender reassignment, race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin, religion or belief, disability or age of the victim. Harassment is unacceptable even if it does not fall within any of these categories.
A single incident of unwanted or offensive behaviour to one individual can amount to harassment.
Examples of harassment include (although this list is not exhaustive):
a) Unwanted physical conduct or “horseplay”. Physical conduct ranges from touching, pinching, pushing, grabbing, brushing past someone or invading their personal space to more serious forms of physical or sexual assault;
b) Unwelcome sexual advances or suggestive behaviour, or suggestions of a sexual nature (which the harasser may perceive as harmless);
c) Suggestions that sexual favours may further a career or that a refusal may hinder it;
d) Continued suggestions for social activity within or outside the workplace after it has been made clear that such suggestions are unwelcome;
e) Inappropriate behaviour whether in the form of offensive or intimidating comments or gestures or insensitive jokes or pranks;
f) Sending or displaying material that is pornographic or obscene or that some people may find offensive (including e-mails, text messages, video clips, and photographs taken or sent using mobile phones or posted on the internet);
g) Mocking, mimicking or belittling a person’s disability;
h) Racist, sexist, homophobic or ageist jokes or derogatory or stereotypical remarks about sex, race, age, disability, sexual orientation or a particular ethnic or religious group;
i) Outing or threatening to out someone as gay or lesbian;
j) Ignoring or shunning someone, for example, by deliberately excluding them from a conversation or a workplace social activity;
k) Lewd or abusive comments about appearance;
l) Abusive, threatening or insulting words, behaviour or material.
A person may be harassed even if they were not the intended “target”. For example, a person may be harassed by racist jokes about a different ethnic group if those jokes create an offensive environment for him.
Bullying is offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behaviour which, through the abuse or misuse of power, makes the recipient feel vulnerable, upset, humiliated, undermined or threatened. Power does not always mean being in a position of authority, but can include both personal strength and the power to coerce through fear or intimidation. Bullying is often a form of harassment and can undermine an individual’s self-confidence, competence and self-esteem. As with harassment, bullying can take the form of physical, verbal and non-verbal conduct, including cyber-bullying.
Legitimate, reasonable and constructive criticism of performance or behaviour or reasonable requests will not constitute bullying.
42.8 Examples of bullying include (although this list is not exhaustive):
1) Shouting at, being sarcastic towards, ridiculing or demeaning others;
2) Derogatory remarks made or humiliating photographs shown in or outside the workplace during or outside working hours and including such behaviour on social networking websites;
3) Physical or psychological threats;
4) Overbearing and intimidating levels of supervision;
5) Inappropriate and/or derogatory remarks about someone’s performance;
6) Abuse of authority or power by those in positions of seniority;
7) Deliberately excluding someone from meetings or communications without good reason.
Harassment or bullying can occur both in the workplace and in settings outside the workplace, such as business events or social functions organised for or on our behalf and whether on or off our premises.
If you believe that you are being subjected to bullying or harassment by either your colleagues, our clients, visitors, suppliers or other third parties you should follow the procedure set out below.
42.9 Informal steps to resolve bullying or harassment
If you consider that you are being bullied or harassed you should initially consider raising the problem informally with the person responsible if you feel able, and explain clearly to them that their behaviour is not welcome or makes you uncomfortable. If this is too difficult or embarrassing to do on your own, you should seek support from us in the first instance.
If you are in any doubt as to whether an incident or series of incidents which have occurred constitute bullying or harassment, then you should initially contact us confidentially, on an informal basis. We will advise you how your concerns should be dealt with.
42.10 Raising a formal complaint about bullying or harassment
The informal procedure may not be appropriate due to the nature of the harassment or bullying or because you do not feel able to talk directly to the person creating the problem. In these cases or where the informal procedure has been unsuccessful, you should raise your complaint in writing to Karolina Grasela
• Your written complaint should set out full details of the conduct in question, including the name of the harasser or bully, the nature of the harassment or bullying, the date(s) and times of alleged incidents, the names of any witnesses and any action already taken by you to stop the alleged harassment.
42.11 Formal investigations
Complaints will be investigated in a timely and confidential manner to establish details of what happened. Individuals not involved in the complaint or the investigation should not be told about it.
Consideration will be given to whether the alleged harasser or bully should be suspended on full pay pending the outcome of the investigation.
At the outset of the investigation, you will be invited to attend a meeting to discuss your account of the events leading up to your complaint. You may be accompanied by a colleague or a trade union representative of your choice as long. We may arrange further meetings with you as appropriate throughout the investigation and/or at its conclusion.
We will also meet with the alleged harasser or bully who may be accompanied by a colleague or trade union representative. They have a right to be told the details of the allegations against them, so that they can respond. It may also be necessary to interview witnesses to any of the incidents mentioned in your complaint. If it is necessary to interview witnesses, the importance of confidentiality will be emphasised.
Where your complaint is about someone other than a member of staff, such as a supplier, or visitor, we will consider what action may be appropriate to protect you and anyone involved pending the outcome of the investigation, bearing in mind the reasonable needs of the business and the rights of that person. Where appropriate, we will attempt to discuss the matter with the third party.
We will also seriously consider any request that you make for changes to your own working arrangements during the investigation. For example, you may ask for changes to your duties or working hours so as to avoid or minimise contact with the alleged harasser or bully.
Within one week of the conclusion of the investigation, we will report the outcome and our findings to you in writing.
If we find that harassment or bullying has occurred, prompt action will be taken to address it. Where the harasser or bully is an employee, the findings will be dealt with under our Disciplinary Procedure. Consideration will be given to whether the harasser or bully should be disciplined, dismissed or subjected to other action.
Where the harasser or bully is a third party, appropriate action might include putting up signs setting out acceptable and unacceptable behaviour; speaking or writing to the person and/or their superior about their behaviour; or, in very serious cases, banning them from the premises or terminating a contract with them.
Even where a complaint is not upheld, consideration will be given to how the ongoing working relationship between you and the alleged harasser or bully should be managed. It may be appropriate to arrange some form of mediation and/or counselling, or to change the duties, working location or reporting lines of one or both parties.
Any employee who is found to have deliberately provided false information or to have acted maliciously or in bad faith may face disciplinary action, which could result in dismissal for gross misconduct. We reserve the right to terminate our contractual relationship with other workers if they breach this policy.
1) If the complaint has not been resolved to your satisfaction you may appeal in writing to Alexandr Vreme, stating your full grounds of appeal, within one week of the date on which the decision was sent or given to you.
2) It may be necessary, because of the size of our organisation, for the appeal to be heard by the person who took the original decision and it is therefore important that your appeal is detailed. Alternatively at our discretion we reserve the right to call in a third party who has not been involved in the original decision to hear your appeal.
3) We will hold an appeal meeting, normally within one week of receiving your written appeal. You may bring a colleague or trade union representative to the meeting so long as that colleague is not a witness.
4) We will confirm our final decision in writing, usually within one week of the appeal hearing. This is the end of the procedure and there is no further right of appeal.
42.13 Protection for those making complaints or assisting with an investigation
1) If you make a complaint or participate in good faith in any investigation conducted into alleged harassment or bullying you will be protected from any form of retaliation, intimidation or victimisation.
2) If you consider that you have suffered any such treatment you should seek support from us. If you are an employee you may alternatively or additionally raise a complaint in writing under either this procedure or our Grievance Procedure.
3) Any employee who is found to have retaliated against or victimised someone for making a complaint or assisting in good faith with an investigation under this procedure may face disciplinary action, which could result in dismissal for gross misconduct. We reserve the right to terminate our contractual relationship with other workers if they breach this policy.
42.14 Confidentiality and Data Protection
Confidentiality is an important part of the procedures provided to deal with harassment and bullying. Whether making a complaint or because you are involved in an investigation, everyone is responsible for observing the high level of confidentiality required. Details of the investigation and the names of the person making the complaint and the person accused must only be disclosed on a “need to know” basis.
Any employee who breaches confidentiality may face disciplinary action, which could result in dismissal for gross misconduct. We reserve the right to terminate our contractual relationship with other workers if they breach this policy.
Information about a complaint by or about an employee may be placed on the employee’s personnel file, along with a record of the outcome and of any notes or other documents compiled during the process. These will be processed in accordance with our Data Protection Policy.