The Organisation is committed to creating a harmonious working environment, which is free from harassment and bullying and in which every employee is treated with respect and dignity.

It is committed to ensuring that individuals do not feel apprehensive because of their religious belief, gender, marital/civil partnership status, sexual orientation, race, age, disability or as a result of being subjected to any inappropriate behaviour.

Harassment and bullying are unacceptable behaviour at work and will be treated as very serious misconduct, which may include gross misconduct warranting dismissal. All employees must comply with this policy.

It is important to remember that while you may make comments outside of work, for example on social networking sites, the Organisation may use such evidence in investigations on bullying and harassment matters.

Definition of Harassment

Harassment is unwanted conduct that violates a person's dignity or creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for them.

Harassment may take many forms. It can range from extreme forms such as violence to less obvious actions such as persistently ignoring someone at work. The following, though not an exhaustive list, may constitute harassment:

- physical contact ranging from touching to serious assault

- verbal and written harassment through jokes, offensive language, gossip and slander, letters

- isolation or non-cooperation at work, exclusion from social activities

- intrusion by pestering, spying, following etc.

Definition of Bullying

Bullying is repeated inappropriate, offensive behaviour, which is often an abuse of power or position. It can be direct or indirect, either verbal, physical or otherwise, conducted by one or more persons against another or others, at the place of work and/or in the course of employment, which could reasonably be regarded as undermining the individual’s right to dignity at work.

The following examples may constitute bullying:

- threats, abuse, teasing, gossip and practical jokes

- humiliation and ridicule either in private, at meetings or in front of customers/clients

- name calling, insults, devaluing with reference to age, physical appearance

- setting impossible deadlines

- imposing excessive workloads

- making unjustified criticisms

- excessive monitoring

- removing responsibilities

- allocating menial and pointless tasks

- withholding information

- refusing requests for leave, holiday or training

It should be noted that it is the impact of the behaviour which is relevant and not the motive or intent behind it.

Your Responsibilities

All employees have a responsibility to help create and maintain a working environment that respects the dignity of employees. You should be aware of the serious and genuine problems which harassment and bullying can cause, and ensure that your behaviour is beyond question and cannot be considered in any way to be harassment or bullying.

You should discourage such behaviour by making it clear that you find it unacceptable and by supporting colleagues if they are experiencing harassment or bullying and are considering making a complaint. You should alert a Manager or Supervisor to any incidents to enable the Organisation to deal with the matter.

Managerial Responsibility

Managers and supervisors have a responsibility to ensure that harassment or bullying does not occur in work areas for which they are responsible.

Managers also have a responsibility to explain the Organisation's policy to their staff and take steps to promote it positively. They will be responsive and supportive to any member of staff who makes a complaint, provide full and clear advice on the procedure to be adopted, maintain confidentiality in all cases and ensure that there is no further problem or any victimisation after a complaint has been resolved.

The Organisation will provide training to ensure that all managers, supervisors and other staff are fully aware of this policy and the procedures for dealing with harassment and bullying.

Procedure for Dealing With Alleged Harassment or Bullying
If you believe that you have been the subject of harassment or bullying, you should, in the first instance, ask the person responsible to stop the behaviour, as it is unacceptable to you. Speaking directly to the person at an early stage will often be sufficient to stop the behaviour.

You should report the incident to a Manager or Supervisor as soon as possible to enable the Organisation to deal with the matter.

If you decide to make a formal complaint you should do so using the Grievance Procedure as soon as possible after the incident has occurred.

You will be protected from intimidation, victimisation or discrimination for filing a complaint or assisting in an investigation. Retaliating against an employee for complaining about harassment or bullying is a disciplinary offence.

Whilst this procedure is designed to assist genuine victims of harassment or bullying, you should be aware that if you raise complaints, which are proven to be deliberately vexatious, you will become subject to proceedings under the Disciplinary Procedure.

Any breach of this policy will result in disciplinary action being taken up to and including dismissal for gross misconduct in accordance with the Disciplinary Policy.