Bullying & Harassment Policy

1. Introduction

1.1 The aim of the Results Consortium (thereafter ‘The College’) is to provide an environment that respectsthe rights of all people, including employees, students, and other stakeholders with whom we have contact, and where all people are treated with respect. Any behaviour that undermines this aim is unacceptable.

1.2 The College does not tolerate any form of harassment or bullying. While implementing and upholding the policy is the duty of our managers and supervisors, all employees have a responsibility to ensure that harassment does not occur and that they respect the dignity of all people they come into contact with.

1.3 This document outlines the type of behaviour that is unacceptable and the means of redress for those who are victims of bullying or harassment. The policy also applies to work-related functions held outside of normal working hours, such as working lunches, celebrations etc.

1.4 All employees will be informed of this policy at induction training and through communication and awareness programmes. Stakeholders participating in our programmes will be advised of this policy as part of their programme introduction.

2. Definitions
2.1 Harassment

2.1.1 Harassment is unwanted conduct related to a relevant protected characteristic covered by discrimination legislation, with the intent or effect of violating an individual’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliatingor offensive environment for them. Where it cannot be established that there was an intention to offend, the actions will still be regarded as harassment if, taking into account all the circumstances, it would be reasonable to come to that conclusion. Harassment is unlawful under the Equality Act 2010 and Protection From Harassment Act 1997 – Organisations, managers and individuals can be held liable if they fail to take steps to prevent harassment.

2.1.2 People can be subjected to harassment on a wide variety of grounds,

  • Gender or gender reassignment
  • Sexual orientation
  • Marital status
  • Race, nationality, ethnic origin,national origin or skin colour
  • Religion or religious beliefs
  • Political and personal beliefs
  • Health problem or disability
  • Age
  • Criminal record
  • Physical characteristics
  • Social class
  • Raising or supporting a complaint of bullying or harassment

2.1.3 Examples of harassment include:

  • Verbal –open hostility, offensive jokes, suggestive remarks, innuendoes, rude or vulgar comments, malicious gossip.
  • Non-verbal – wolf-whistles, obscene gestures, pornographic material, graffiti, offensive letters, e-mails or text messages, offensive objects.
  • Physical – unwanted touching, patting, pinching or brushing against someone, intimidating behaviour, assault and physical coercion.
  • Coercion – pressure for sexual favours (e.g. to get a job or promotion) or to participate in activities including political, religious or trade union groups etc.
  • Isolation or non-cooperation and exclusion from social activities.
  • Intrusion – following, pestering, spying, etc.

2.1.4 Harassment is normally characterised by more than one incident of unacceptable behaviour, but one incident may constitute harassment if it is sufficiently serious.

2.2 Bullying

2.2.1 Bullying is offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behaviour, or an abuse or misuse of power, with the intent or effect of undermining, humiliating, denigrating or injuring the recipient. Bullying is a sustained form of psychological abuse that makes victims feel demeaned and inadequate. It can range from extreme forms such as violence and physical intimidation to less obvious actions:s.

• Shouting or swearing at people
• Persistent criticism
• Ignoring or deliberately excluding people
• Persecution through threats andinstilling fear
• Spreading malicious rumours
• Constantly undervaluing effort
• Dispensing disciplinary actionthat is totally unjustified

• Withholding information
• Deliberately supplying incorrectinformation
• Deliberately sabotaging or impeding work performance
• Constantly changing targets
• Imposing impossible deadlines
• Removing areas of responsibilityand imposing menial tasks
• Blocking applications for holiday, promotion or training
• Spontaneous rage often over trivial matters

2.2.2 Actions must be viewed in terms of the distress they cause the individual. It is the perception of the recipient that determines whether any action or statement is considered bullying.

3. Procedure

3.1 Any harassment or bullying perpetrated by staff will be classed as gross
misconduct, potentially leading to dismissal.

3.2 Where a student is found to be bullying or harassing other parties, the Principal will discuss the case with the referring organisation to agree on appropriate action. This may resultin dismissal from the programme, short-term exclusion, transfer to another provider, or a change to the structure and content of their programme.

3.3 Initial Action

3.3.1 Victims of harassment or bullying may wish to discuss their situation before deciding what action to take. Employees can discuss the matter with the Principal on an informal basis. Students may discuss the matter with their tutors, the welfare team or anyone in the college they feel comfortable to discuss the matter.

3.3.2 The adviser(s) should:
a. ensure the conversation remains confidential as far as possible
b. listen sympathetically
c. help individuals consider objectively what has happened
d. discuss what outcome the individual would wish to see
e. draw attention to available procedures and options, including legalliabilities involved
f. help weigh up the alternatives, but without pressure to adopt
anyparticular course
g. assist the individual in dealing with the situation if they ask for help.

3.3.3 Confidentiality will be maintained as far as possible. If an individual decides not to take any action to deal with the problem and the circumstances described are serious, the College’s overall duty of care is to ensure the safety of all stakeholders.

3.3.4 It is for the individual to decide which action to take to address a problem
that has occurred.

3.4 Informal Action

3.4.1 Individuals can choose to solve the matter themselves by approaching the
perpetrator, telling them that their behaviour is unwelcome and that it must stop. Otherwise, a formal complaint can be made using the procedure outlined below.

3.4.2 If a victim would find it difficult or embarrassing to raise the issue directly withthe person creating the problem, support can be sought from a third party who can accompany the victim when speaking to the perpetrator.

3.4.3 The victim may also put their views in writing, telling the perpetrator that their behaviour is unacceptable and that it must stop.

3.5 Formal Action

3.5.1 Where informal solutions fail or serious harassment or bullying occurs, a formal complaint can be made. Legal action may also be considered, at which point independent advice should be sought by the individual.

3.5.2 For employees, a formal complaint will be in the form of a grievance following the internal Grievance Procedure. Employees and witnesses can be assured that they will not be ridiculed or victimised for making, or assisting a colleague in making, a complaint, even if it is not upheld, as long as it is made in goodfaith. If the complaint is upheld, the matter will be passed to the appropriate line manager to conduct a disciplinary hearing with the perpetrator. Whereemployees feel unable to work in proximity during any investigation or following the outcome of the
proceedings, the College will consider a voluntary request from either party to transfer to another work location, although this cannot always be guaranteed.

3.5.3 Students may raise a formal complaint following the Student Complaints

3.5.4 All other stakeholders may contact the Human Resources Manager for advise and support

3.5.5 All complaints will be investigated swiftly and confidentially while ensuring that the rights of the alleged victim and alleged perpetrator are protected. Everyone involved in the investigation, including witnesses, will be required to maintain confidentiality – where employees fail to do so, this will be a disciplinary matter.

3.6 Where harassment or bullying has been found to have occurred and the perpetrator remains in employment or otherwise on-site, regular checks will be made to ensure that the activity has stopped and that there has been no victimisation or retaliation against the victim or the perpetrator.

4. Malicious complaints

4.1 Where a complaint is blatantly untrue and has been brought out of spite, or for some other unacceptable motive, the complainant will be subject to relevant disciplinary procedure, as will any witnesses who have deliberately misled the College during its investigations.

5. Review

5.1 The policy will be regularly monitored to ensure that it is achieving its aims, it is being effectively applied across our business, and is updated inlight of changes to legislation or identified best practice.