Bullying, Harassment & Victimisation Policy and Procedure

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1 THE NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR HEALTH AND CLINICAL EXCELLENCE SPECIAL HEALTH AUTHORITY Bullying, Harassment & Victimisation Policy and Procedure Responsible Officer:- Associate Director - HR Author: Staff Involvement Forum Policy Sub Group Date effective from: October 2008 Date last amended: N/A Review date: October 2011 Audience: All NICE staff 1 of 31

2 THE NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR HEALTH AND CLINICAL EXCELLENCE SPECIAL HEALTH AUTHORITY Bullying, Harassment & Victimisation Policy and Procedure Contents Title Page 1 Table of Contents 2 1. Introduction 3 2. Diversity 3 3. Principles 4 4. Scope 4 5. Definitions Examples and Tests 5 Bullying 5 Harassment 5 Victimisation 5 Examples 6 Test of Reasonableness 6 Reasonable Management Actions 6 6. Counselling and Support 8 7. Confidentiality 9 8. Procedure Introduction 10 The informal process 11 What to do if you feel you are being bullied, harassed or victimised by 11 another member of staff What to do if you observe someone being bullied, harassed or victimised 12 What to do if someone talks to you informally about their experiences of 13 bullying, harassment or victimisation What to do if you are accused of bullying, harassment and victimisation 13 Mediation 15 Procedure formal stage Appeals Vexatious complaints Complaints against contractors, agency staff, members of 22 advisory committees or members of the public (external complaints) 12. Case of alleged physical violence The use of suspension or redeployment during an investigation Keeping management records Monitoring of policy Review of policy 25 2 of 31

3 1. Introduction 1.1 NICE aims to create and sustain an environment in which all staff are treated with dignity and respect, individuals feel valued and safe, and in which differences are recognised and fully utilised. 1.2 NICE recognises that bullying, harassment and victimisation are unacceptable and discriminatory. NICE is committed to taking the necessary action to ensure that they do not occur, or where they do occur that they are dealt with and eliminated. 1.3 Bullying, harassment and victimisation, if unchecked or badly handled, create serious problems for individual members of staff and NICE including: Poor morale and poor staff relations Loss of respect for managers and supervisors Poor performance Lost productivity Ill-health (e.g. anxiety, stress) Absence Resignations Damage to NICE s reputation Tribunal and other court cases and payment of unlimited compensation. 2. Diversity 2.1 Equality and fairness have been considered and incorporated at every stage of this procedure. In accordance with our Equality and Diversity Policy, NICE aims to ensure that no discrimination (on grounds of sex, gender reassignment, pregnancy, colour, race, nationality, ethnic or national origins, disability, age, sexual orientation or religion or belief) occurs and equality of opportunity is observed. 2.2 NICE encourages employees who feel that equality and fairness has not been observed during the implementation of this policy to raise this with the Associate Director - Human Resources (Associate Director-HR). 3 of 31

4 3. Principles 3.1 Any complaint of bullying, harassment or victimisation made by any Institute staff member will be treated seriously and will be thoroughly investigated in a timely manner. 3.2 NICE will ensure that those raising legitimate 1 claims suffer no adverse repercussions from individuals employed by NICE as a result of making the claim. 3.3 Bullying, harassment and victimisation are acts of misconduct and where proven will be dealt with under NICE s disciplinary policy and procedure. 3.4 NICE will take appropriate action, under this policy against any member of staff, contractor, agency worker, advisory body member or member of the public who has been found, following an investigation, to have bullied, harassed or victimised a member of NICE s staff. 3.5 NICE has a duty of care towards its staff and is liable for their health and safety and well being (Health and Safety at Work Act (1). Therefore NICE should reserve the right to initiate its own investigations into harassment and bullying where there is sufficient cause for concern but not necessarily a formal complaint. Such action would only be taken where there was a reasonable belief that harassment and bullying may be occurring. 3.6 All individuals have a duty of care to practicably protect others from harm and should therefore be responsible for supporting colleagues who are being bullied, harassed or victimised and bringing it to the attention of their line manager, or other appropriate senior manager or an HR representative. 4. Scope 4.1 This policy and procedure is designed to support and give guidance to:- any member of staff who feels that they have experienced bullying, harassment and/or victimisation from another member of staff or group of staff; contractor, agency worker, advisory body member or member of the public. those staff members who witness an act or acts of bullying, harassment and/or victimisation; 1 Legitimate here means those claims that an individual raises in good faith and genuinely believes to be real and justified even if the claim itself is not ultimately proven. 4 of 31

5 those staff members who are advised about an act or acts of bullying, harassment and/or victimisation; those staff members who are accused of bullying, harassment and/or victimisation; 5. Definitions, Examples and Tests 5.1 Definitions of bullying, harassment and victimisation have been given below for guidance purposes. Bullying, harassment or victimisation is normally deemed by the recipient as something that has happened that is unwelcome, unwarranted and causes a detrimental effect. 5.2 Bullying 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 Harassment Harassment is unwanted conduct affecting the dignity of individuals in the workplace. It may be related to age, sex, race, disability, religion, 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 Victimisation Victimisation is described in law as an unlawful act where an individual is treated less favourably than another person because, for example:- a) they have made allegations of race, sex or disability discrimination or unequal pay. (It does not matter if the allegations are not true, providing they were made in good faith). b) it is known that they intend to bring a case under the equality legislation. c) they have given evidence in such a case. 5.5 In addition to the legal definition of victimisation, NICE will consider victimisation to have occurred where it is proven that an individual has experienced adverse retaliatory action because they have raised legitimate 4 concerns or questions relating to bullying, harassment for 2 ACAS 3 ACAS 4 Legitimate here means those claims that an individual raises in good faith and genuinely believes to be real and justified even if the claim itself is not ultimately proven. 5 of 31

6 any reason not just those relating to race, sex, disability or unequal pay. 5.6 Examples i) Bullying, Harassment and Victimisation may be physical, verbal or non-verbal (e.g. by letter or or via telephone) ii) The following list is not definitive as bullying, harassment and/or victimisation is often specific to the person, relating to their feelings of respect and dignity. Examples of unacceptable behaviour that may be considered to be bullying, harassment or victimisation include: Verbal or physical threats and intimidation Offensive or abusive personal remarks Spreading malicious rumours Discriminatory treatment on grounds of sex, gender reassignment, pregnancy, colour, race, nationality, ethnic or national origins, disability, age, sexual orientation or religion or belief Ridiculing, humiliating or demeaning someone, directly or indirectly; Deliberately excluding someone from a work or social group; Unwelcome sexual advances touching, standing too close, displaying offensive materials or inappropriate verbal comments; Making comments about job security with the intention of alarming or humiliating someone. 5.7 The test of reasonableness When deciding whether bullying, harassment, and/or victimisation has occurred, a reasonable approach would be to decide whether, having assessed the circumstances in full, it can be concluded that anyone else would reasonably have felt the same way in similar circumstances, as the individual raising the claim. 5.8 Reasonable management actions Manager and staff responsibilities It is essential that managers and their staff can recognise the difference between fair management and bullying behaviours and that all staff and managers are aware of the following responsibilities: - Staff: Should be aware that sometimes managers have to take decisions that may prove unpopular and that on occasion it may not be possible to undertake these decisions in a democratic way. 6 of 31

7 Should understand that it is reasonable for managers to expect high standards and to address issues of poor performance if they occur. Should expect to be treated with respect and have issues of concern addressed in a professional and constructive manner. Managers: Should strive to be consistent, reasonable and fair. Decisions should be open and transparent and where possible colleagues should be consulted. Where this is not possible a full and open explanation of the decision would be helpful. Should be mindful of the effect their decisions may have on members of staff and should have strategies in place to deal with this. Where disputes or queries concerning decisions arise managers should address these discreetly and directly with the member of staff and if appropriate use the performance management structure to provide a full and accountable record. If managers are unclear about whether their approach is justifiable/appropriate they should consult with managers of the same or a higher level and/or the HR department. Should expect to be treated with respect and compliance for all reasonable management requests. The difference between fair management and bullying behaviours Within NICE there is an expectation that managers fulfil their duties and responsibilities. It is reasonable to expect a manager to carry out these functions in a fair, firm and consistent manner. This may involve: Issuing reasonable requests and/or instructions and expecting members of staff to undertake these and generally manage performance and conduct; Setting expected standards of performance supported with relevant appraisal and performance management framework and documentation including job description, person specification, Knowledge and Skills Framework (KSF) outlines and objectives; Disciplining staff for misconduct and poor performance, where appropriate 5, following a fair and reasonable investigation; Implementing action in respect of general Institute policies, e.g. the management of sickness absence. 5 As per the Disciplinary and Managing Performance policies 7 of 31

8 Where these functions are carried out in a fair and reasonable way, they will not constitute acts of bullying, harassment or victimisation, although some staff may feel stressed or anxious while the procedures are taking place. The table below illustrates the differences between firm/fair management and bullying/harassment:- Firm/Fair Management Bullying/Harassment Consistent and fair Determined to achieve the best results, but reasonable and flexible Aggressive, inconsistent and unfair Unreasonable and inflexible Knows their own mind and is clear about their own ideas, but is willing to consult with others Insists upon high standards of service in quality of and behaviour within the team Ask for peoples views, listens and assimilates feedback Believes that they are always right, has fixed opinions, believes that they know best and disregards others views Insists on high standards of service and behaviour but blames others if things go wrong Tells people what will be happening but does not listen 6. Counselling and support 6.1 It is recognised that being the subject of bullying, harassment or victimisation (or having witnessed it) and making a complaint can be an extremely distressing experience. Staff members are urged to seek help, support and advice from a range of sources such as:- The line manager 6 ; A member of the Human Resources department 7, a UNISON representative 8 or elected staff representative OASIS (the staff counselling, information and advice service) Tel: Read section 7.1 in reference to the manager s duty of care. 7 Read section 7.1 in reference to HR s duty of care 8 UNISON is referred to throughout this policy and procedure. However, some staff may be members of other Trade Unions (e.g. BMA, RCN) and for the purpose of this policy, wherever UNISON is referred to, this should be taken to also indicate that other Trade Unions will be recognised. 8 of 31

9 6.2 In certain circumstances it may be appropriate for an individual to self-refer, or for their manager to refer them to the Occupational Health Service where it is felt that there is an impact on the health and well-being of a member of staff, or where it may be considered that the staff member s health may be a risk to them or others. 6.3 Individuals may also wish to seek help and support from their own families, friends and external contacts. 6.4 The individual against whom the complaint is being made should also have access to the same sources of support. 7. Confidentiality 7.1 Often, individuals who feel that they have been bullied, harassed or victimised, wish to discuss the matter confidentially with a colleague, line manager, other manager or an HR representative. Whilst NICE wishes to encourage individuals to discuss their concerns, they should be aware that if they advise anyone within NICE of alleged acts of bullying, harassment or victimisation they will be obliged, under a duty of care 9, to take appropriate action and refer the matter to the HR department, even if the claimant does not wish to pursue this further. There is a particular duty of care for line, and other managers, to refer the matter to the HR Department. 7.2 It is hoped that this will not discourage individuals from coming forward to raise issues if they feel they are being bullied, harassed or victimised. All complaints that are raised with NICE directly (i.e. through a colleague, UNISON, staff representative, manager or HR) will be treated confidentially and information will only be divulged on a need-to know basis. 7.3 Individuals who need-to-know may include, but will not be limited to, those managing the investigation process and deciding on the outcome, those named by the complainant when making a complaint under this policy and any witnesses or employees who can provide further information in relation to the complaint. 7.4 Employees who wish to have a confidential discussion about their complaint without the matter being taken forward to an investigation should contact NICE s counselling service Oasis on Oasis provides a confidential service and will not report anything told to them back to NICE or instigate any action. Their role is to provide support and advice to employee on their options. Employees may also contact friends, relatives and external contacts. 9 The duty of care referred to here means to do everything reasonably practicable to protect the individual and others from harm. 9 of 31

10 7.5 The individual against whom the complaint has been made, and their nominated representative shall normally 10 be entitled to receive copies of the complaint against them and any related witness statements etc. 7.6 All records and documentation relating to the complaint shall be stored securely within the Human Resources department. 7.7 It is the responsibility of all parties involved, once they are in receipt of documentation relating to the complaint, to ensure that confidentiality is maintained at all times. 8. Procedure Introduction 8.1 Often individuals accused of bullying, harassment or victimisation will be unaware of how their behaviour has affected the complainant and raising the matter informally either directly or through a workplace advocate will be sufficient to make the behaviour stop. 8.2 Complainants are encouraged to follow the informal stages of this process in order to give the alleged harasser/bully/victimiser the opportunity to amend their behaviour before more formal action is taken. 8.3 Where bullying, harassment or victimisation continues after it has been raised informally the claimant will be able to pursue the matter under the formal stage of this process as detailed in section In more serious cases, or where the complainant feels that the informal process would not stop the offending behaviour, the complainant may move directly to the formal stages of this policy without following the informal stages. 8.5 The following sections ( ) outline the informal process to be followed where an individual either experiences, witnesses or is advised of acts of bullying, harassment and/or victimisation. Section 8.10 outlines what should be done by an individual who is accused of bullying, harassment and/or victimisation. 10 The individual against whom the complaint has been made will normally be given a copy of the complaint against them in full other than in circumstances where either the complaint also relates to someone else. In these circumstances the individual will only be entitled to see the aspects of the complaint that directly relate to themselves. 10 of 31

11 8.6 The informal process 8.7 What to do if you feel you are being bullied, harassed or victimised by an employee of NICE i) Record Keeping An individual who feels that they are being bullied, harassed or victimised should try to keep a record of when and where the behaviour occurred and how it made them feel. This will be important when discussing the matter with the alleged harasser/bully/victimiser, when seeking advice from another party or if the matter is formally investigated. ii) Seek confidential advice An employee may, prior to raising a claim, either informally or formally, wish to seek confidential advice from OASIS, NICE s counselling and support service. This service is confidential and NICE will not be advised of any information given to OASIS by an employee. OASIS will not make a decision on behalf of the staff member or provide representation, but instead will provide the individual with advice and information necessary to come to a decision about the way forward. A member of staff is not obliged to access confidential advice as part of the procedure. They may decide to proceed immediately to using either the informal or formal procedure for raising a complaint. iii) Inform an Institute member of staff/manager Often the person who is bullied, harassed or victimised simply wants it to stop. Whilst telling a colleague, line manager or HR representative may seem like a serious step, it is the most effective way of tackling the problem and ensuring that the behaviour stops. The majority of bullying, harassment or victimisation goes on in private. By informing someone within NICE, a member of staff may find out that others are feeling the same way. Individuals who can give support and advice in these circumstances are:- The line manager or other manager a member of Human Resources a UNISON representative or an elected staff representative. iv) Inform the bully/harasser/victimiser that their actions have offended and must stop This will involve the complainant approaching the individual they believe has bullied or harassed them in order to tell them that their behaviour is found to be offensive and why, and to ask them to stop using such behaviours. The staff member may ask a colleague, 11 of 31

12 friend, UNISON official or equivalent representative to be present for moral support. The individual may also choose to write directly to the person who may have bullied or harassed them detailing the offensive behaviour and confirming the requirement to stop any further bullying, harassment or victimisation. If the individual would find confronting their alleged bully/harasser/victimiser, on their own too difficult but still wishes to pursue the matter informally they can ask either a UNISON representative, a staff representative, their line manager, other manager or a Human Resources representative to speak to the person concerned on their behalf. However, in normal circumstances the complainant would need to be present when the matter is discussed. Often individuals will not have been aware that their behaviour has caused offence and will immediately stop the offending actions. 8.8 What to do if you observe someone being bullied, harassed or victimised i) Record Keeping If you think you have witnessed an act of bullying, harassment or victimisation you should try to keep a record of when and where the behaviour occurred. This will be important when discussing the matter with the alleged harasser/bully/victimiser or if the matter were to be formally investigated. ii) Discuss it with the individual being bullied, harassed or victimised It is advisable to speak to the member of staff who you think has been bullied or harassed to ensure that you have understood the exchange between them and the alleged harasser. If you still feel that bullying, harassment or victimisation has occurred, you should discuss with the individual how they feel about the incident and whether they need any support (counselling, HR support etc). You should also advise the individual of your personal duty of care to them and other staff and the requirement for the incident to be reported to the HR department and clarify who will take it forward. iii) iv) Discuss it with the alleged bully/harasser/victimiser If you feel able to do so, inform the alleged bully/harasser/victimiser that their actions were inappropriate and should not be repeated. If you feel unable to do this, you should report the matter to your line manager or to Human Resources who will discuss the issue on your behalf. Inform Human Resources 12 of 31

13 Whether you have spoken to the alleged bully/harasser/victimiser or not, you should report your concerns to a member of Human Resources who will advise you on whether the incident can be resolved informally or needs to progress to a more formal investigation. It may be, if you have already spoken to the alleged bully/harasser/victimiser and they have agreed to amend their behaviour, that no further action is required. 8.9 What to do if someone talks to you informally about their experiences of bullying, harassment or victimisation i) Record Keeping & Advice to the Complainant If another employee tells you that they think they have been bullied, harassed or victimised you should try to keep a record of your discussion, noting what you were told and what you advised, if anything. This will be important when discussing the matter with the alleged harasser/bully or if the matter were to be formally investigated. You should advise the individual of the support outlined in section 6. You should also advise the individual of your personal duty of care to them and other staff and the requirement for the incident to be reported to the HR department and clarify with the individual who will report it to the HR department ii) iii) Discuss it with the alleged bully/harasser/victimiser If the complainant asks you to speak to the alleged bully/harasser/victimiser on their behalf and you feel able to do so you should inform the bully/harasser/victimiser of the allegations and ask that the offending behaviour not be repeated. If you feel unable to do this, you should report the matter to your line manager or to Human Resources who will discuss the issue on your behalf. The complainant will normally be required to be present when you discuss the matter with the alleged bully/harasser/victimiser on their behalf. Inform Human Resources Whether you or the complainant have spoken to the alleged bully/harraser/victimiser or not, you should report your concerns to a member of Human Resources who will advise you on whether the incident can be resolved informally or needs to progress to a more formal investigation. It may be, if you have already spoken to the alleged bully/harasser and they have agreed to amend their behaviour, that no further action is required What to do if you are accused of bullying, harassment or victimisation i) Record keeping 13 of 31

14 If you are told informally that your actions have offended someone and that they feel bullied, harassed or victimised by you as a result, you should make a record of your discussion, noting what you were told and how you responded. This will be important if you need to discuss the matter with HR or if the matter were to be formally investigated. You are advised to seek advice immediately from the Human Resources department, your Trade Union representative, or a staff representative. You may also wish to contact OASIS for some confidential advice and support. ii) Stop the offending behaviour If you have been told that your behaviour makes someone feel uncomfortable, then you should stop it immediately. Even though your behaviour may seem innocent to you, it is important to consider its effects on others. If you are told that your behaviour is offensive you should consider the following important points;- Remember it is the other person s reaction to your behaviour that is important, not your intention nor the reaction you think they should have; Listen carefully to the complaint and to the particular concerns expressed; Stop the offending behaviour immediately and review the way you behave at work. It may be you have upset other colleagues who have not complained; If you continue to bully, harass or victimise someone after their objection to your behaviour has been made known to you, the fact that you persisted will make the offence more serious if disciplinary action commences. If you do not understand the complaint against you then discuss the matter further with a HR representative, line manager, your Trade Union or staff representative or investigating officer (in formal investigations),. If you are convinced that the allegations are unjust or malicious, you should contact the HR department, line manager, and/or your Trade Union or staff representative or discuss the matter confidentially with OASIS. If the allegations are informal, you will be given the opportunity to engage in mediation with the complainant. If you are unsatisfied with the outcome of this you may ask for the allegations to be investigated formally under the process described in section 8.12 of this policy so that a formal decision be made as to whether your actions were bullying, harassing or victimising the complainant. 14 of 31

15 8.11 Mediation If the person complaining feels unable to deal directly with the alleged harasser then, as part of the informal procedure, they may consider mediation. If the complainant wishes to explore mediation they should contact the HR department. Mediation can only take place with the agreement of both parties. Any party has the right to withdraw during the process. However, both parties should be informed that NICE might still decide to take formal action. The mediator will normally meet with both parties individually before advising on the next steps of the mediation process. Possible options would include a further meeting between both parties, facilitated by the mediator. At this meeting the complainant will be given the opportunity to explain to the individual the reasons why they consider their behaviour to constitute harassment. Where possible the matter will be resolved through informal discussion and agreement about future behaviour. If during mediation allegations of more serious unacceptable behaviour (i.e. potential gross misconduct) emerge, the mediator may terminate the process and other procedures will be followed as appropriate Procedure - Formal Stage The formal stage of this policy will be applied where:- The matter has been raised informally but the offending behaviour continues and/or medication has been unsuccessful; The matter has been raised informally but the alleged bully, harasser, victimiser disputes the claim and a formal investigation is required to resolve the matter; The matter is sufficiently serious enough to warrant moving directly to the formal stage without following an informal stage first. i) The Investigation Process for Formal Complaints against NICE Employees Complaints of bullying, harassment or victimisation made against those individuals that work with NICE on a secondment or on an agency contract, will be referred to their substantive employer for investigation. In these cases, NICE will write to the substantive organisation with details of the complaint and request that the matter be investigated in line with their policies. 15 of 31

16 This process will be used for complaints that are made by NICE s employees against other employees of NICE. For complaints made against contractors, agency staff, committee or group members or members of the public, see section 10. An outline of the investigation process is shown in appendix 1. ii) Step 1 - Raising a formal complaint and acknowledging the complaint To raise the matter formally, the complainant should write to their line manager clearly describing the offending behaviour in detail, including dates and the details of any witnesses and details of how the behaviour made them feel. If the complaint is about the line manager this should be sent to the next level of management. The complainant should ensure that the letter makes clear that they wish the matter to be investigated under the formal stage of this procedure. Once in receipt of the letter of complaint, the line manager/manager will write to acknowledge the complaint, within 5 working days of receipt, and to advise that the matter is to be addressed under the formal stage of NICE s Bullying, Harassment and Victimisation Policy. The letter will also outline the approximate timetable for the investigation Every effort should be made to complete an investigation as soon as possible and the investigating officer(s) will make a commitment to reach an outcome, and produce a written report, within 6 weeks of commencing the investigation. However, it is recognised that the situation may be extremely complex and it may not be possible to reach an outcome as quickly as all parties wish. If the investigation does go beyond 6 weeks the complainant should be kept informed on a regular basis of progress with the investigation (i.e. fortnightly updates). iii) Step 2 Appointing the Investigating Officer An investigation will be conducted independently, and the manager who received the complaint, in conjunction with Human Resources, appoint an independent (i.e. not working within the complainant and alleged aggressors work environment) experienced investigation officer(s) to carry out a thorough and impartial investigation The manager will advise the complainant, in writing, and the alleged bully/harasser/victimiser of whom the investigating officer will be and they will be given a short opportunity, of no more than 3 working days, to raise any objections. NICE may, at its discretion, use an external investigator where this is deemed appropriate. This may be necessary where the individual against whom the complaint has been made is a Director or the Chief Executive. 16 of 31

17 Whilst the investigation is being conducted Human Resources, the manager involved and the investigating officer may also consider suspension or temporary redeployment of either party as an option (see Section 13). iv) Step 3 - Arranging to meet with the Complainant. The Investigating Officer will arrange to meet the complainant to go through the details of the case in order that they have a thorough understanding of the claims that are being made. A copy of this policy and procedure should be sent to the complainant at this time. v) Step 4 Primary Investigation Meeting with Complainant The Investigating Officer and an HR representative will meet with the complainant. The purpose of this meeting is to ensure that the complainant understands the process and the likely timetable and in addition, that the Investigating Officer fully understands the detail of the complaint and has the opportunity to ask the complainant any questions. The complainant will be asked to give details of any witnesses that the Investigating Officer may approach as part of the investigation. The Investigating Officer should ensure that the complainant is aware of the counselling support available and has the contact number if required. Members of staff are entitled to be accompanied by a colleague, friend, UNISON official or staff representative during this and any subsequent meetings in relation to the complaint. Notes of the meeting will be produced and a copy sent to the complainant to agree and make any necessary amendments. vi) Step 5 Advising the Alleged Bully, Harasser, Victimiser of the complaint The Investigating Officer will write to the alleged bully, harasser, victimiser to advise them that a complaint has been received and that the matter is being reviewed under the formal stage of NICE s bullying harassment and victimisation policy and procedure. The Investigating Officer will send a copy of the complaint to the alleged bully/harasser/victimiser along with a copy of this policy. In some cases it may not be appropriate for the full letter of complaint to be sent to the alleged bully/harasser/victimiser (e.g. where a complaint is made against more than one person the alleged bully/harasser/victimiser is only entitled to see complaints that relate to them). 17 of 31

18 The Investigating Officer will also include a date to meet with the alleged bully/harasser/victimiser to discuss the allegations. Sufficient time should be allowed between letter being issued and the convening of a meeting to discuss the allegation, in order that the alleged bully/harasser/victimiser can fully review the details of the complaint and seek support and advice. A copy of this policy and procedure should be sent to the alleged bully/harasser/victimiser at this time along with details of Oasis counselling support. vii) Step 6 Primary Investigation Meeting with the Alleged Bully/Harasser/Victimiser The Investigating Officer and an HR Representative will meet with the alleged bully/harasser/victimiser. The purpose of this meeting is to ensure that the alleged bully/harasser/victimiser understands the allegations that have been made and is given the opportunity to fully respond to them. The individual may wish to put forward witnesses of their own for the Investigating Officer to interview as part of the investigation. Members of staff who are accused of bullying, harassment or victimisation and are under formal investigation are entitled to be accompanied by a colleague, friend, UNISON official or staff representative during all meetings in relation to the complaint. The Investigating Officer should ensure that the alleged bully/harasser/victimiser is aware of the counselling support available and has the contact number if required. Notes of the meeting will be produced and a copy sent to the alleged bully/harasser/victimiser to agree and make any necessary amendments. viii) Step 7 Interviewing the Witnesses The Investigating Officer may have been asked to speak to witnesses by both the complainant and the alleged bully/harasser/victimiser. Acting as a witness in these cases is voluntary and a witness must not be forced or coerced into acting as a witness against their will. The Investigating Officer should write to the witnesses asking them if they would agree to act as a witness in the case and inviting them to attend a meeting to discuss the allegation (which may be on more than one occasion). The Investigating Officer should clearly identify which part of the investigation the witness is able to help with. It is important to ensure that confidentiality is maintained as far as reasonably possible and therefore witnesses should only be given details of the case where they have been asked to act as a witness. 18 of 31

19 Witnesses should be sent a copy of this policy and told of the support available through OASIS. The Investigating Officer and the HR Representative will then meet with the witness. The purpose of this meeting is to gain information from the witness in relation to the allegation/s. The witness should only be given details of the case on a need to know basis. Witnesses who agree to provide evidence under a formal investigation are entitled to be accompanied by a colleague, friend, UNISON official or staff representative during all meetings in relation to the complaint. Notes of any meetings will be produced and a copy sent to the witnesses to agree and make any necessary amendments. ix) Step 8 First Review of Findings Following the meeting with the complainant, the alleged bully/harassers/victimiser and the witnesses, the Investigating Officer will review all the evidence gathered and determine whether they need to meet again with the complainant, alleged bully/harasser/victimiser or any of the witnesses to obtain any further information or fill in any gaps. If no further information is required the Investigating Officer should proceed to Step 12 (the reporting stage). If further investigation is needed, then the Investigating Officer should proceed to Step 8-9 below. x) Step 9 Second Meeting with the Complainant The Investigating Officer will write to the complainant advising them of the need for a second investigation meeting and setting a date for the meeting. The purpose of this meeting is to gain further information from the complainant to fill any gaps or issues that have risen in the investigation or to discuss issues that require clarification or have been contradictory. The complainant is entitled to be accompanied by a colleague, friend, UNISON official or staff representative during meeting. Notes of the meeting will be produced and a copy sent to the complainant to agree and make any necessary amendments xi) Step 10 Second Meeting with the Alleged Bully/Harasser/Victimiser The Investigating Officer will write to the alleged bully/harasser/victimiser advising them of the need for a second investigation meeting and setting a date for the meeting. The purpose of this meeting is to gain further information from the alleged bully/harasser/victimiser to fill any gaps or issues that have risen in 19 of 31

20 the investigation or to discuss issues that require clarification or have been contradictory. The alleged bully/harasser/victimiser is entitled to be accompanied by a colleague, friend, UNISON official or staff representative during meeting. Notes of the meeting will be produced and a copy sent to the alleged bully/harasser/victimiser to agree and make any necessary amendments. xii Step 11 Second Meeting with Witnesses The Investigating Officer will write to the witness/es advising them of the need for a second investigation meeting and setting a date for the meeting. The purpose of this meeting is to gain further information from witnesses to fill in any gaps or issues that have risen in the investigation or to discuss issues that require clarification or have been contradictory. Witnesses are entitled to be accompanied by a colleague, friend UNISON official or staff representative during the meeting. Notes of any meetings will be produced and a copy sent to the witnesses to agree and make any necessary amendments. xiii) Step 12 Final Review and Report Writing Once the Investigating Officer is satisfied that they have collected as much information as possible, they will conduct a final review of all the evidence and prepare a report that outlines the facts and findings of the case and a chronology of the investigation. The report should include the Investigating Officers conclusions and suggested recommendations. The Investigating Officer will present this report to the manager responsible for commissioning the investigation who, advised by the Human Resources representative, will make a decision whether to either accept the findings of the report without amendments or whether to recommend that the Investigating Officer undertake further investigations and include any amendments that arise. Once the manager responsible for commissioning the investigation is satisfied that the report accurately reflects a full and thorough investigation they will arrange to meet separately with the complainant and the alleged bully/harasser/victimiser to present the findings of the investigation. The complainant, and the alleged bully/harasser/victimiser will be entitled to be accompanied by a colleague, friend UNISON official or staff representative during the meeting These recommendations may include:- 20 of 31

21 9. Appeal no action, as the allegation has not been substantiated or there is insufficient evidence; Proceed to a disciplinary hearing, as the investigation has found that there may be a case to answer. It may be appropriate to redeploy one or both parties on a temporary basis whilst the case goes through the disciplinary process. Where a disciplinary hearing is recommended, this shall be conducted in line with Institute s disciplinary procedure. Take alternative management action as the evidence and/or nature of the complaint does not justify formal disciplinary action. This could include: A recommendation for mediation/counselling for both parties, where both parties agree this. Setting up arrangements to monitor the situation; Required attendance on training courses (e.g. equality and diversity awareness training); Making arrangements for the complainant, and the individual against whom the complaint has been made, to work as separately as possible within the same workplace with regular monitoring from the line manager. A period of special leave to enable alternative working arrangements to be put in place; The manager responsible for commissioning the investigation will then write to the complainant and the alleged bully/harasser/victimiser stating the decision and recommendations and sending them a copy of the report. 9.1 If the complainant or the alleged bully/harasser/victimiser is not satisfied with the decision and recommendations stated in step 12 above they may appeal against the outcome in accordance with Institute s Appeals Procedure. 9.2 An appeal must be submitted in writing to the Associate Director of Human Resources, within 10 working days of the date of the letter informing them of the decision. In this letter the complainant must clearly state their grounds for appeal. The appeal will be considered in accordance with NICE's Appeals Procedure. 10. Vexatious Complaints 10.1 If, after a full investigation of complaint, under the bullying, harassment and Victimisation Policy and Procedure, the investigating officer believes that the employee has made the complaint vexatiously (put forward on insufficient grounds and with the intention of causing annoyance to the person against whom the claim has been made) then s/he should advise the employee, manager responsible for commissioning the investigation and involved HR 21 of 31

22 representative of his/her decision. This may result in disciplinary action be taken against the employee. This should only occur if there is clear evidence that the motivation of the employee is driven to cause trouble rather than seek resolution of a genuine area of concern. 11. Complaints against contractors, agency staff, members of advisory committees or members of the public (referred to hereafter as external complaints) 11.1 As stated in section 3 above, NICE will not engage with or provide work for a contractor or agency worker who has been found to have bullied, harassed or victimised a member of NICE s staff. In addition, NICE will require the removal of any committee or group member 12 who has been found to have bullied, harassed or victimised a member of NICE s staff Complaints of bullying, harassment or victimisation made against those individuals that work with NICE on a secondment or on an agency contract, will be referred to their substantive employer for investigation. In these cases, NICE will write to the substantive organisation with details of the complaint and request that the matter be investigated in line with their policies Record Keeping An individual who feels that they are being bullied, harassed or victimised by a contractor, staff from an agency, a member or members of an advisory committee or members of the public should try to keep a record of when and where the behaviour occurred and how it made them feel. This will be important when discussing the matter with the alleged harasser/bully or if the matter were to be formally investigated Seek confidential advice An employee may wish to seek confidential advice and support from OASIS on Inform an appropriate member of staff/manager of NICE The individual raising the claim should speak in the first instance with their line manager who will in turn speak to the manager in charge of work being undertaken by the contractor, agency, advisory committee where the alleged bully/harasser/victimiser works or where the member of the public was involved. This manager will be responsible for discussing the issue with the alleged bully/harasser/victimiser. 12 This term is intended to cover anyone that NICE works with. 22 of 31

23 If the alleged bully/harasser/victimiser is a Committee Chair, the Chief Executive or the Chairman of the Board shall be the appropriate senior member of NICE to take the matter forward. At the informal stage of this policy it will be necessary to:- Inform the alleged harasser, bully/victimiser of the complaint and ask them to cease the offending behaviours; advise the alleged harasser, bully/victimiser that if the behaviour continues then they will be refused entry to NICE s premises and be requested not to contact NICE s staff If the complainant feels that the bullying, harassment and/or victimisation continues after informal action has been taken then a formal investigation will follow In these circumstances the formal steps described in section 8.11 above will apply wherever reasonably practicable. However, with external complaints, it may be necessary to adjust the procedural steps according to the circumstances of the case and each complaint therefore should be assessed on a case by case basis with the procedure being agreed between the appropriate manager and the Associate Director - HR. Any adjustments to the procedure should also be agreed with the complainant. 12. Cases of Alleged Physical Violence 12.1 In cases of physical violence, threats of physical violence or persistent harassment (such as stalking) it may be necessary to suspend the alleged harasser or relocate them to another work area whilst the investigation is underway (see Section 13 below) NICE reserves the right to involve the police in any such cases as necessary Notwithstanding this a member of staff may at any time involve the police as they wish. 13. The use of suspension or temporary redeployment during an investigation 13.1 The Investigating Officer, manager responsible for commissioning the investigation and the involved HR representative may consider the appropriateness of suspension or redeployment of either party for the duration of the investigation to relieve the stress and pressure on one or both parties and/or to prevent the risk of further incidents or victimisation occurring. 23 of 31

24 13.2 Suspension of the member of staff against whom the complaint has been made may be considered where a manager feels that it is in the interest of either the individual, the organisation or both. It may be appropriate, as a last resort, in some cases for both parties to be suspended during the investigation. It will be made clear at all times that suspension under this procedure is not a disciplinary act and does not imply that there has been any misconduct, or that there is any suggestion of guilt. Any suspension will be on full pay Temporary redeployment of one or both parties may also be considered. In normal circumstances it is appropriate that the individual against whom the complaint has been made should be redeployed rather than the complainant. The complainant could, however, be offered the option of redeployment where appropriate. In some circumstances both parties may be redeployed. 14. Keeping Management Records 14.1 The arrangements for storing information after a complaint should be as follows: i) Where the matter proceeds to a disciplinary hearing, the disciplinary procedure should be followed and where warnings are imposed the timescales for the retention of such warnings will be as specified in the disciplinary procedure. ii) Where a complaint has been made and not substantiated by an investigation, no record will be kept on the personnel file of the individual against whom the complaint has been made. However, HR will keep records of all complaints and investigations separately. If there is a pattern of such complaints, HR may instigate an investigation. 15. Monitoring of policy 15.1 The Associate Director HR will be responsible for ensuring this Policy and Procedure is properly and fairly implemented and complies with the principles of natural justice, the Equal Opportunities Policy and NICE s Equality Scheme NICE encourages employees who feel that equality and fairness have not been observed in the application of this policy to bring their concerns to the attention of the Associate Director HR All complaints of bullying, harassment or victimisation (informal and formal) made in accordance with this policy will be recorded and the number and nature of incidents will be monitored by the Associate Director HR to ensure compliance with the above. Any noncompliance will be brought to the attention of the Business, Planning and Resources Director so that corrective action can be taken, and the matter reported to the Senior Management Team. 24 of 31

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