rumbs

Harassment and bullying

(applies to staff and students)

Bullying and Harassment Policy

INTRODUCTION

The University has formulated a policy statement on bullying and harassment together with guidelines on its implementation and made it fully available to all staff and students. Bullying and harassment of people at work is a feature of discrimination and procedures to deal with harassment are integral to our Equality & Diversity Plan 2013-16.

The University has a clear responsibility as defined by the Equality Act 2010 to ensure that all forms of harassment and bullying are stopped effectively.

POLICY STATEMENT

Lancaster University aims to provide a working and learning environment which will be stimulating and supportive and free of unlawful discrimination. Bullying and harassment can seriously worsen working and social conditions for staff and students at the University.

Lancaster University has agreed a procedure for dealing with complaints of harassment. Any incidents of harassment will be regarded extremely seriously and may be grounds for disciplinary action including dismissal or expulsion.

It is recognised that informal channels can be the most effective means of preventing or stopping harassment. Where a formal complaint is lodged, the University's Grievance and Disciplinary Procedure will apply.

DEFINING BULLYING AND HARASSMENT

A general definition of harassment is that it is verbal or physical conduct that denigrates or shows hostility or aversion toward an individual because of a specific characteristic of that person such as their age, disability, gender reassignment status, marriage & civil partnership status, pregnancy or maternity, race, skin colour, national origin, religion or belief, gender or sexual orientation .

Bullying or general harassment is a similar misuse of power or position. It may include persistent and unfair criticism or condemnation, humiliation, and the undermining of an individual's ability and confidence. In an academic working and learning environment bullying usually takes the form of irrational and unfair verbal assaults, but physical violence can be involved.

Bullying occurs when any such behaviour creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment for employment, study or for social life. Bullying can occur even if offence is not intended. Staff and students shall be made aware that differences of attitude or culture and the misinterpretation of social signals can mean that what is perceived as bullying by one person may not seem so to another. The defining features, however, are that the behaviour is offensive to and unwanted by the recipient and would be regarded as bullying by any reasonable person.

Harassment can be a source of great stress to an individual. It may be so serious and unrelenting that the person who is being, or has been,bullied or harassed feels it necessary to change job or change their academic course. All members of the University, whether staff or students, are responsible for helping to ensure that individuals do not suffer any form of harassment, and that they are encouraged and supported in any legitimate complaint.

Harassment is difficult to define because it may take many different forms. It may consist of behaviour taking place over a period of time or a single incident. Harassment may occur where a harasser has a position of authority (for example, where a teacher, supervisor or administrator is able to affect another person's job, career or grade); harassment in other contexts (for example, by students of fellow-students or of staff members) may equally occur.

Any difficulty in defining what constitutes harassment or bullying should not deter staff or students from complaining of behaviourwhich causes them distress. Nor should anyone be deterred from making a complaint because of embarrassment or fear of intimidation or publicity. The University will respect the particular sensitivity of harassment complaints and their consequences as well as the need for the utmost confidentiality.

Sexual and racial harassment have well-established definitions provided by the Equal Opportunities Commission and the Commission for Racial Equality on which the following are based. Definitions of harassment on grounds of sexual orientation, religion and disability ; and of bullying are also given below.

Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination. It always involves unwanted conduct of a sexual nature which emphasises sexual status over status as an individual, colleague or student. It is most often found that it is women who are harassed by men. However sexual harassment between members of the same sex, or of men by women, or of transsexual people does also occur. It often, though not always, involves relationships between people of unequal status and involves elements of coercion. It can be: physical, verbal or non-verbal, ranging from intimate contact, suggestive remarks or compromising invitations to aggressively foul language or unwanted demands for sex, or displays of sexually suggestive or degrading pictures in the work place. The outing of a transsexual person would also be considered sexual harassment.

Sexual harassment occurs when any such behaviour creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment for employment, for study or for social life. Any behaviour that makes the recipient feel unjustifiably viewed as a sexual object is liable to cause offence, even if offence is not intended. Staff and students shall be made aware that differences of attitude or culture and the misinterpretation of social signals can mean that what is perceived as sexual harassment by one person may not seem so to another. The defining features, however, are that the behaviour is offensive to and unwanted by the recipient and would be regarded as sexual harassment by any reasonable person.

Harassment on grounds of sexual orientation may be defined as any hostile or offensive act or expression against a person because of their sexual orientation. Such behaviour can include offensive behaviour or abuse , homophobic remarks or jokes; threats to 'out' lesbian, gay or bisexual staff or students.

Harassment on grounds of sexual orientation occurs when any such behaviour creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment for employment, study or for social life. It can occur even if offence is not intended. Staff and students shall be made aware that differences of attitude or culture and the misinterpretation of social signals can mean that what is perceived as harassment by one person may not seem so to another. The defining features, however, are that the behaviour is offensive to and unwanted by the recipient and would be regarded as harassment on grounds of sexual orientation by any reasonable person.

Racial harassment may be defined as any hostile or offensive act or expression (or series or combination of such acts) against a person, relating to colour, race, nationality, or ethnic or national origins. It also includes incitement to commit such an act. Such behaviour includes derogatory name-calling, insults and racist jokes, racist graffiti, verbal abuse or threats, physical attack or ridicule of an individual for cultural differences.

Racial harassment occurs when any such behaviour creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment for employment, study or for social life. Racial harassment can occur even if offence is not intended. Staff and students shall be made aware that differences of attitude or culture and the misinterpretation of social signals can mean that what is perceived as racial harassment by one person may not seem so to another. The defining features, however, are that the behaviour is offensive to and unwanted by the recipient and would be regarded as racial harassment by any reasonable person.

Harassment on grounds of religion or belief (or lack of belief) may be defined as any hostile or offensive act or expression (or series or combination of such acts) against a person, relating to their faith or a faith they are perceived to belong to. It also includes incitement to commit such an act. Such behaviour includes derogatory name-calling, insults and jokes, graffiti, verbal abuse or threats, physical attack or ridicule of an individual.

Religious harassment occurs when any such behaviour creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment for employment, study or for social life. It can occur even if offence is not intended. Staff and students shall be made aware that differences of attitude or culture and the misinterpretation of social signals can mean that what is perceived as religious harassment by one person may not seem so to another. The defining features, however, are that the behaviour is offensive to and unwanted by the recipient and would be regarded as harassment by any reasonable person.

Disability harassment may be defined as any hostile or offensive act or expression against a person because of their disability or learning difficulty. It also includes incitement to commit such an act. Such behaviour includes, as well as physical attack, derogatory name-calling, insults and jokes, verbal abuse or threats (this might include abuse relating to particular medical conditions such as HIV/AIDS), and actions which humiliate, demean or ridicule a person because of their disability.

Disability harassment occurs when any such behaviour creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment for employment, study or for social life. Disability harassment can occur even if offence is not intended. Staff and students shall be made aware that differences of attitude or culture and the misinterpretation of social signals can mean that what is perceived as disability harassment by one person may not seem so to another. The defining features, however, are that the behaviour is offensive to an unwanted by the recipient and would be regarded as disability harassment by any reasonable person.

GUIDING PRINCIPLES

Principles that guide the University's actions:

a)   Bullying and harassment of one member of the University community by another is wholly unacceptable behaviour, and it is the University's policy to take any incidents very seriously and to act appropriately.

b)   No complaint of bullying and harassment of any type made in good faith will result in detrimental action against the person raising the complaint or their advocates. Any act of victimisation or reprisal against a person complaining of bullying and harassment or supporting a complainant will be treated by the University as a disciplinary matter.

c)   Appropriate members of the University's staff will receive training in dealing with bullying and harassment, and will be available to any member of staff or student to offer in confidence advice and information as required, channel complaints and negotiate between parties.

d) When reported, complaints of bullying and harassment will be considered with all possible speed and the University will take appropriate action as quickly as possible.

e) Though some cases of bullying and harassment may be resolved informally, bullying and harassment may provide grounds for disciplinary action against individuals up to and including dismissal or expulsion from the University and its disciplinary rules reflect this view.

f) Panels which handle disciplinary or grievance procedures will be entitled to call upon advice from persons more expert in handling bullying and harassment. The membership of panels will include, wherever possible, persons with special training in bullying and harassment.

g)   The University will treat as confidential all records concerning allegations or complaints of bullying and harassment. Cases of alleged bullying and harassment which are taken forward into the University's formal grievance and disciplinary procedures will be investigated impartially by the University. This will ensure that the alleged harasser has the opportunity to be represented and to be given a clear account of the allegation so that they may state their case.

h) When formal disciplinary procedures have been carried out, student and staff complainants will be advised of the outcome: if proven, without giving details of the sanction imposed, but indicating that the behaviour did constitute harassment/bullying according to the university policy and was unacceptable. If not proven, the complainant will also be informed.

i) The possibility that complaints might be brought with mischievous or malicious intent is also recognised by the University and may provide grounds for disciplinary action against individuals up to and including dismissal or expulsion from the University and its disciplinary rules reflect this view.

j) Unless there has been notification of a situation involving bullying and harassment the University may not be able to take steps to prevent or eliminate it; it is therefore important that the University authorities are kept informed of any potential complaint.

GUIDANCE

If you feel that you are being subjected to bullying or harassment in any form, do not feel that it is your fault or that you have to tolerate it. This is what you can do:-

They may recommend a confidential interview with your supervisor, head of department, Dean of Faculty, Head of School or other member of management. You may wish to be accompanied at such an interview by a friend, a colleague or trade union representative and this wish will be respected. The purpose of the interview will be to discuss the nature of the problem and to establish a course of action.

At this stage you may wish to make a formal complaint under the grievance procedure which may result in disciplinary action against the harasser.

CASES OF PHYSICAL ASSAULT

If you have been attacked or raped, seek help immediately. You should report the attack or rape to the police since such acts are crimes. Any one of the suggested contacts named in the guidelines or on the list below will willingly give you support. You will be advised on what you can do but you have the choice. However for your own protection and for the protection of others it is important that the offender is dealt with appropriately.

If you have been sexually assaulted or raped you are strongly advised to seek medical help and advice immediately. Information on locally available advice and help for females and males who are the victims of sexual assault or rape is provided on the attached list.

This webpage was originated in 1997, with numerous updates, the most recent in September 2011

SOURCES OF HELP

COLLEGE ADVISOR - Contact your College Administrator for details if necessary

DEPUTY UNIVERSITY DEAN - David Gregson Extension 94510

UNIVERSITY DEAN - Matt Storey Extension 10159

STUDENTS UNION

Lancaster Nightline - a listening and information telephone, email and instant messaging service run by trained students, open 10pm to 8am, Phone 01524 (5)94444

Vice President (Welfare and Community), Extension 92197 or email lusu.vp.welfare@lancaster.ac.uk

Student Adviser - Christine Jones, Extension 93769 or email c.jones@lancaster.ac.uk

MEDICAL ADVICEContact your GP (If you are registered there, at Lancaster University Medical Centre (phone 01524 387780) or the King Street Practice (phone 01524 541651)

UNIVERSITY COUNSELLING & MENTAL HEALTH SERVICE Enquiries and appointments: Extension 92690 Counselling website

TRADE UNION REPRESENTATIVES

UNITE - Andy Baker Extension 93082 or email

UCU - See UCU Website: http://www.lancaster.ac.uk/users/ucu/

OTHER ORGANISATIONS

Samaritans If something's troubling you, get in touch phone: 08457 909090 Email: jo@samaritans.org or see this website:
http://www.samaritans.org.shtm for advice on emailing anonymously.

The Lancashire SAFE Centre - Sexual Assault Forensic Examination Centre: Royal Preston Hospital phone 01772 523344 Website: SAFE Centre Website

Stonewall the lesbian and gay bisexual charity: phone for support on 0800 502020 (Mon-Fri 9:30am to 5:30pm) Email: info@stonewall.org.uk Website Stonewall Website

Preston & Western Lancashire Racial Equality Council: contact the freephone helpline on 0808 808 7398 Website: P&WLREC Website

Policy and procedures

(Christine Brereton)
Review Date June 2014

Lancaster University
Bailrigg
LancasterLA1 4YW United Kingdom
+44 (0) 1524 65201