It is our policy to maintain a non-discriminatory working environment which is free of harassment or bullying, particularly based on sex, race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin, religion or belief, age, sexual orientation, marital or civil partner status, gender reassignment or disability.
In addition to the obligations placed upon both employers and employees by the Equality and Human Rights legislation, everyone has the right to be treated with consideration, fairness, dignity and respect. This contributes to a workplace environment in which individuals feel safe and can work effectively competently and confidently.
Change has a “zero tolerance” policy and will investigate vigorously any allegations of bullying or harassment, regardless of whether the matter has been raised formally or informally. Where allegation s are substantiated, appropriate disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal, will be taken against any person responsible.
What is Harassment/ Bullying?
Bullying and Harassment are terms that are often used interchangeably by most people, and many definitions include bullying as a form of harassment. Harassment, in general terms is unwanted conduct affecting the dignity of men and women in the workplace. It may be related to age, sex, race, disability, religion, sexual orientation, nationality or any personal characteristic of the individual, and may be persistent or an isolated incident. The key is that the actions or comments are viewed as demeaning and unacceptable to the recipient.
Bullying may be characterised as offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behaviour, an abuse or misuse of power through means intended to undermine, humiliate, denigrate or injure the recipient. Bullying or harassment may be by an individual against an individual (perhaps by someone in a position of authority such as a manager or supervisor) or involve groups of people. It may be obvious or it may be insidious. Whatever form it takes, it is unwarranted and unwelcome to the individual.
Legitimate and constructive criticism of a worker’s performance or behaviour or reasonable requests made of employees in the course of their employment will not constitute bullying.
Social media may be used as a means of bullying and harassment. In accordance with our Social Media policy, any use of social media to bully or harass, whether that use took place within working hours or not, will be regarded as a disciplinary offence.
Harassment and Bullying may be summarised as any behaviour that is unwanted by the person to whom it is directed. It is the impact of the behaviour rather than the intent of the perpetrator that is the determinant as to whether harassment or bullying has occurred.
If the employee believes he has been the subject of harassment or bullying, the employee may address the matter informally with their immediate line manager who should advise a Director. Should the issues not be resolved at this stage, or the employee feels unable to raise the issue informally, then a formal resolution should be sought.
When a complaint of harassment or bullying is brought to the attention of a manager at any level, whether informally or formally, prompt action must be taken to investigate the matter. Corrective action must be taken where appropriate and this may require an investigation under our Disciplinary Procedure.
All matters relating to the investigation of complaints of harassment or bullying will be treated in strict confidence. Any breach of confidentiality in this regard may render those responsible liable to disciplinary actions. However, it will be necessary that any alleged perpetrator is made aware of the allegations against them and the name(s) of those making the allegations together with the name(s) of any witnesses.
No employee will be victimised or suffer detriment for making a complaint of harassment or bullying and no manager shall threaten either explicitly or implicitly that an employee’s complaint will be used as the basis for decisions affecting that employee. Such conduct will be treated as a very serious disciplinary offence. Similarly, managers are required to act on any complaint of harassment or bullying. Failure to do so will be regarded as misconduct which if proven, will result in disciplinary action.
All complaints of harassment or bullying whether raised formally or informally must be notified by the recipient of the complaint to Human Resources for recording in accordance with the requirements of the Equality and Human Rights legislation. This legislation requires such records to be maintained and the incidence of bullying and harassment to be monitored.
This policy and procedure will be reviewed periodically giving due consideration to legislative changes.