DIGNITY AT WORK POLICY COMBATING BULLYING AND HARASSMENT. Human Resources Manager

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1 Ref: IN-117 DIGNITY AT WORK POLICY COMBATING BULLYING AND HARASSMENT AREA: Trust Wide NAME OF RESPONSIBLE COMMITTEE / INDIVIDUAL NAME OF ORIGINATOR / AUTHOR Human Resources Manager DATE ISSUED December 2011 REVIEW DATE December 2011 January 2014 DUE FOR REVIEW: January 2018 RATIFIED BY Trade Union Partnership Forum Date Ratified Executive Management Team TARGET AUDIENCE / DISSEMINATED TO VERSION CONTROL All Staff via Intranet Version 9 Added to intranet Mark Dobbs Date added: by: Directorate: Corporate 22/06/15 1

2 DIGNITY AT WORK POLICY COMBATING BULLYING AND HARASSMENT CONTENTS Section Page Executive Summary Introduction Purpose and Scope Definitions Duties and Responsibilities General Principles Process The Holding of Records Appeal Employee Representation Guidance and Support Networks Malicious Allegations Dissemination and Implementation Monitoring Compliance References Associated Documentation 14 Appendices Appendix A Equality Impact Assessment 15 2

3 DIGNITY AT WORK POLICY COMBATING BULLYING AND HARASSMENT EXECUTIVE SUMMARY i ii iii iv This policy highlights Dorset HealthCare University NHS Foundation Trust s commitment to ensuring that all employees have the opportunity to work in an environment where the dignity of individuals is respected and where they can realise their potential free from any form of harassment or bullying. The policy and associated Procedures for Dignity at Work for Line Managers and Employees details the processes to be followed if an employee feels they have been treated in an unacceptable way within the work environment. The Director of Human Resources is responsible for overseeing the implementation of this policy and will provide information to the Executive Management Team in relation to issues raised in line with this policy. This policy has been developed using Dorset HealthCare University NHS Foundation Trust s Policy for the Development and Management of Procedural Documents. It is a combination and contains elements of all three of the previous policies from Dorset HealthCare University NHS Foundation Trust, NHS Bournemouth and Poole and NHS Dorset. 3

4 1.0 INTRODUCTION 1.1 Dorset HealthCare University NHS Foundation Trust (DHUFT) is committed to ensuring that all employees have the opportunity to work in an environment where the dignity of individuals is respected and where they can realise their potential, free from any form of harassment or bullying. To this end any kind of bullying or harassment at work will be deemed unacceptable and will be fully investigated. 1.2 The Procedures for Dignity at Work for Line Managers and Employees defines the processes for dealing with bullying and harassment in the work place. 2.0 PURPOSE AND SCOPE 2.1 The purpose of this policy is to ensure that managers pursue the Trust s commitment to eliminating bullying and harassment and to raise awareness amongst all those working in the Trust that bullying and harassment of any kind will not be tolerated. It is also to ensure that if any inappropriate or unacceptable behaviour takes place it is taken seriously, dealt with effectively and confidentially and resolved in a timely manner. 2.2 The Procedures for Dignity at Work for Line Managers and Employees defines the processes for addressing any concerns raised in line with this policy. 2.3 This policy and procedure applies to all directly employed staff. 2.4 A failure to follow the requirements of the policy may result in investigation and management action being taken as considered appropriate. This may include formal action up to and including dismissal in line with the Trust s disciplinary and capability policy and procedure. 2.5 This policy and procedure shall be applied consistently to all staff irrespective of their position in the organisation or in respect of the circumstances of their cases and regardless of gender, pregnancy and maternity, race, colour, ethnic or national origin, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, marriage including civil partnership, religion or beliefs, age, trade union membership, disability, background or any other personal characteristic, in accordance with the Trust s commitment to tackle discrimination and promote equal opportunities. 2.6 It is recognised that employees may be subject to bullying or harassment from patients, clients, general public, third parties or other agencies involved in the workplace and information regarding this and the procedures to be followed are contained within the Trust s policy for dealing with incidents of racial and other harassment by service users towards staff within a mental health setting. 4

5 2.7 If an investigation is required following an allegation of bullying or harassment, this will take place in line with the Trust s Discipline and Capability Policy and Procedure. 2.8 In the event that an issue is raised by an employee which is in line with both the dignity at work policy and procedure and the grievance policy and procedure, as the issue involves both an allegation of bullying or harassment and a concern, problem or complaint an employee raises in connection with their employment (grievance), the manager to whom the issue has been raised will make a decision in consultation with the employee and their representative if appropriate, as to which policy to follow. It would not be expected that both policies and procedures would be followed. Advice can be sought from the Human Resources Department if required. 3.0 DEFINITIONS 3.1 What is Bullying? Bullying can take many forms whether intentional or not and behaviour that is considered bullying by one person could be firm management by another. It can be described as offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behaviour, an abuse or misuse of power through means intended to undermine, humiliate, degrade or injure the recipient. (ACAS) Examples of bullying may include verbal/physical intimidation (e.g. threats, shouting, derisory comments), ostracism, public humiliation, overbearing supervision, refusing to communicate except in writing or , cyberbullying (sending repeated messages, setting up websites that undermine others or sending messages purporting to come from someone else), blocking applications for leave, making threats about job security that are unfounded, or intentionally blocking promotion or training opportunities. This list is not exhaustive. 3.2 What is Harassment? Harassment can also take many forms and whether committed intentionally or unwittingly is legally defined as when a person engages in unwanted conduct related to a relevant protected characteristic, and this conduct has the purpose or effect of violating an individual s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for that individual. Where this is not intentional then consideration in determining whether the conduct constitutes harassment will be given to the perception of the person who has been harassed and the other circumstances of the case Harassment may include unwanted or unreciprocated conduct based on gender, pregnancy and maternity, race, colour, ethnic or national origin, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, marriage including civil partnership, 5

6 religion or beliefs, age, trade union membership, disability, background or any other personal characteristic Harassment is also prohibited under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 which states that a person must not pursue a course of conduct which amounts to harassment of another; and which they ought to have known amounted to harassment. This includes putting people in fear of violence and alarming the person or causing the person distress for which there are both civil and criminal actions Harassment may include behaviour, actions, words, electronic or written communication, physical contact or conduct that can lead to alarm or distress of another. The behaviour may be perpetuated by one or more individuals. It can be persistent or an isolated incident and can be directed at one or more people. This behaviour can also be considered a criminal offence People s ideas of what harassment is may differ depending on their attitudes, culture and interpretation of social signals. The common features, however, are generally that the behaviour(s) is unwanted by the recipient and would be regarded as harassment by any reasonable person. It may be intentional or unintentional on the part of the alleged harasser, and it is the impact of the behaviour on the recipient, and the deed itself, which constitutes harassment Complaints can also be made by employees about behaviour that they find offensive even if it is not directed at them. Additionally the complainant does not need to possess the relevant characteristic themselves and can be because of perception or even association. 3.3 Unacceptable Behaviour that may constitute bullying or harassment Harassment and bullying can be a very clear abuse of power, persuading someone to do something they do not want to or an act[s] of violence. It can also be much more subtle and sometimes someone may not realise their behaviour is perceived as harassment or bullying. Sometimes, witnesses can be as affected as those individuals the harassment or bullying is directed at The following are examples of unacceptable behaviours that may be considered to constitute bullying or harassment: Humiliation or ridicule by comment or gesture; Unwanted physical contact; Unwanted and inappropriate remarks or comments which may relate to a person s sex, gender reassignment, race including colour, nationality, ethnic or national origins, age, creed, disability, sexual orientation, religion or belief, politics or personal appearance; 6

7 Display or circulation of sexually suggestive material; Derogatory, threatening, intimidating or patronising remarks or behaviour; Ignoring, marginalizing or excluding another employee; Belittling, ridiculing or threatening; Public and/or constant destructive criticism; Verbal abuse and spreading unfounded rumours; The above list is intended to be illustrative and not exhaustive The following examples do not constitute bullying or harassment: Constructive and fair criticism of an employee s conduct or work performance (poor performance will be managed in accordance with the appropriate Trust policies and not through an aggressive management style). Managers should consider having a non-participating witness present where they might consider that the discussion can be misconstrued or unfairly interpreted by the employee. Relevant and appropriate management responses to pressurised situations that require immediate action or which arise from staff shortages and consequent short terms increases in work load. Implementation of necessary organisational change which is introduced through appropriate Trust procedures. Complaints and grievances made by individuals that have been subject to appropriate investigations but which were not upheld. 3.4 The Trust will not tolerate victimisation following reported incidents of bullying or harassment and any complaints will be investigated and dealt with appropriately. 4.0 DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES 4.1 It is the responsibility of all employees and managers to ensure the procedures detailed within this policy and accompanying procedures for Dignity at Work are followed. 4.2 The Trust has duties under the Equality Act to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation and to 7

8 advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those that do not. This includes tackling prejudice and promoting understanding between people from different groups and also removing or minimising disadvantages suffered by people with protected characteristics and meeting their needs. 4.3 It should be borne in mind that individuals can be prosecuted in criminal law for harassment and there can also be civil claims made under the Protection from Harassment Act Individuals can also be held to be individually liable for paying compensation and the Trust may also be found to be vicariously liable for any cases of harassment perpetrated by an employee as well as being liable for harassment by third parties such as service users or a supplier. This is dealt with under the policy for dealing with incidents of racial and other harassment by service users towards staff within a mental health setting. 4.4 In addition the Trust has a duty of care for all employees in terms of providing mutual trust and confidence in how allegations of bullying and harassment are managed and for their health, safety and welfare at work under Health and Safety requirements. 4.5 Director of Human Resources 4.6 As Workforce lead for the Trust the Director of Human Resources is responsible for: Ensuring the effective implementation of the policy and procedures and the provision of appropriate publicity of this policy Ensuring consistency of application throughout the Trust Ensuring the provision of advice to managers and staff in the operation of this policy. Taking preventative measures such as ensuring training is provided to staff on induction and in the workplace 4.7 Management Responsibility 4.8 The Trust sees the actions of its leaders and managers as crucial in tackling bullying and harassment. Managers are responsible for: Acting as a role model in terms of appropriate behaviour Implementing this policy and bringing it to the attention of their staff Ensuring that staff are made aware of their responsibilities, the standards of behaviour expected of them and the procedures to follow if they wish to make a complaint. Ensuring that the display of any offensive material e.g. posters or on a computer is prohibited 8

9 Dealing seriously and at the earliest stage with any bullying, harassment or intimidation of which they become aware in a fair, timely, supportive, constructive and appropriate manner, whether or not it is brought to their attention formally and protecting the confidentiality of those involved, as far as is reasonably practicable. Thoroughly and objectively investigating any instances of harassment, victimisation or bullying brought to their attention and resolving them as quickly as possible Producing and implementing an action plan to address issues arising from any case of harassment or bullying which has been brought to their attention and keeping staff informed of progress made Contacting the HR department for advice and assistance in handling any allegations of harassment or bullying. Ensuring the rights of the alleged perpetrator are protected as well as those of the complainant. Treating bullying and harassment with immediate action and if necessary, instigate formal disciplinary action 4.9 Employees 4.10 Many bullying and harassment issues can be resolved positively if dealt with at an early stage. For their part all staff have responsibility for: Their own behaviour and to act in a professional manner at all times and in accordance with the principles set out in this policy and accompanying procedures guide. To ensure they treat others with respect and in a manner which does not cause distress. To refrain from harassment, bullying, abuse, intimidation or victimisation of any employee or any individual they come into contact with. To inform their manager if they suspect harassment or bullying is taking place. Challenging any form of bullying or harassment which they see or hear a member of staff being subjected to Contributing and co-operating to any investigations in a positive and constructive manner Raising any concerns regarding bullying or harassment as soon as is reasonably practicable. 9

10 4.11 If an employee wishes to be accompanied or represented by a Trade Union Representative or work colleague at any formal meeting it is their responsibility to arrange this Human Resources 4.13 The Human Resources Directorate will be responsible for providing specific management guidance when required. 5.0 GENERAL PRINCIPLES 5.1 This policy has been designed to ensure any complaints of bullying or harassment are dealt with in a serious way and will be carried out in accordance with the following principles; Bullying, harassment or any unacceptable behaviour will not be tolerated at any levels in the organisation. Bullying and Harassment are contrary to the Trust s Equality and Diversity commitments and principles and will be investigated in line with the Trust s Discipline and Capability Policy and Procedure for which action up to and including dismissal may be taken. All investigations of complaints will be handled with sensitivity, ensuring confidentiality and due respect for the right of the complainant and the accused. No member of staff will be victimised for making complaints of bullying or harassment although if an allegation is proved to be malicious, the person making the complaints may be subject to investigation in line with the disciplinary policy. This policy is underpinned by the principles that all employees within the Trust accept responsibility for their behaviours and actions and are committed to help towards creating a culture where positive behaviour is regarded to be the norm. 5.2 Every effort should be made to resolve any concerns as speedily as possible. 5.3 Employers should carry out any necessary investigations, to establish the facts of the case if appropriate. 5.4 Failure to deal adequately with allegations or incidents of bullying and harassment at work may expose the Trust to legal consequences as it may be unlawful under criminal, civil and employment legislation. 5.5 Employees have a right and are encouraged to be represented by a Trade Union Representative or work colleague throughout the formal stages of this procedure. 10

11 5.6 Confidentiality must be maintained, as far as is reasonably practicable throughout the investigation. Steps should also be taken to ensure that complainants and witnesses remain free from victimisation. 5.7 If an employee believes that they may require any additional adjustments in line with the Equality Act 2010 to be made to accommodate them during the instigation or involvement with this policy, then this should be confirmed to the manager. Managers will be responsible for considering any adjustments where appropriate. 5.8 Any complaint of bullying, harassment or victimisation raised in line with this policy should be confirmed by the line manager to Human Resources. 5.9 If the employee or representative is unable to attend the arranged meeting date, the date will be arranged for the next available date If the employee or their representative fails to attend the arranged date, then the allegation may be heard in their absence Although the Trust will support any member of staff who feels they are subject to bullying or harassment, it is recognised that in some situations staff may not feel confident to raise the concerns or a line manager may have received more than one informal complaint regarding the same issue or individual. Therefore, if a line manager has genuine concerns regarding bullying or harassment amongst their staff a formal allegation does not have to be received to preclude the principles within the policy and accompanying procedure to be followed A copy of this policy, the accompanying procedure and any other relevant policy should be given to the member of staff where there may be issues to deal with in line with this policy If anonymous allegations are raised, these will not usually be acted upon, as it would not be possible to investigate the allegation and a response could not be provided. If the concerns relate to whistleblowing, then please refer to the whistleblowing policy As far as possible the complainant will be protected from further bullying, harassment or detriment. 6.0 PROCESS 6.1 The process for managing allegations of bullying and harassment is described in the Procedures for Dignity at work Combating bullying and harassment for Line Managers and Employees. 11

12 7.0 THE HOLDING OF RECORDS 7.1 All outcomes of the matter dealt with within the scope of this policy must remain confidential and be retained in accordance with the Data Protection Act Line Managers should retain copies of any bullying and harassment complaints and written outcomes relating to each stage of the procedure on the employee s personal file. They should also provide copies to the employee and Human Resources Department for retention. 7.3 The outcomes may include: The nature of the bullying, harassment or victimisation claim made The employer s response, including details of any follow up action, investigation and the reasons for this The reasons for any delays in the process Whether there was an appeal, and if so the outcome of the appeal Any subsequent developments Any formal minutes that may have been taken Copies of all correspondence 8.0 APPEAL 8.1 Any individual who has had their complaint heard at a formal meeting has the right to appeal. An individual may choose to appeal, for example because: they think a finding is unfair they believe the correct procedures were not followed 8.2 The processes to follow if an appeal is raised are outlined in the Procedures for Dignity at Work combating bullying and harassment for Line Managers and Employees. 8.3 The outcome of the appeal concludes the Trust s procedure. 9.0 EMPLOYEE REPRESENTATION 9.1 The member of staff has the right to be represented at all stages of the formal procedure by a representative from a trade union either a local Trade Union Representative employed by the organisation or a Full Time Officer, or accompanied by a workplace colleague not connected with the incident(s) alleged The statutory right to representation applies to any formal meetings that take place in line with this policy, however there may be circumstances where employees may request to be accompanied during the informal stages and this will be considered on a discretionary basis by the manager in consultation with Human Resources. The request should not delay the informal process 12

13 and should not place any restrictions on managers and staff having one to one meetings GUIDANCE AND SUPPORT NETWORKS 10.1 Any member of staff affected by bullying or harassment, or involved where a claim is made, is encouraged to be represented and/or supported by a trade union representative or a fellow employee not connected with the incident(s) alleged Advice can be sought from Occupational Health in terms of support for staff involved, whether the incident is being handled informally or formally. Confidential counselling support is also available for all employees of Dorset HealthCare University NHS Foundation Trust The Local Security Management Specialist can give specific advice regarding suspected harassment cases Advice can also be sourced from the charity network for surviving stalking where appropriate at MALICIOUS ALLEGATIONS 11.1 If an allegation of bullying and / or harassment cannot be substantiated following a formal investigation and there is reasonable cause to believe that the complainant acted maliciously, the matter may be investigated under the Trust s Disciplinary Policy DISSEMINATION AND IMPLEMENTATION 12.1 The Nursing and Quality Directorate will be responsible for the dissemination of the policy and for the publication on the Trust s intranet site The Human Resources Department will be responsible for the publication of the accompanying procedures for dignity at work for line managers and employees on the intranet and communication in HR Matters The Human Resources Department will provide advice and guidance on the application of this policy on an ad-hoc basis Line managers will be responsible for ensuring that all staff are made aware of their responsibilities under the policy and the procedures they must follow if they wish to make a complaint MONITORING COMPLIANCE 13.1 Quarterly reports provided to the Directors and the Trust Board containing information regarding the case numbers and types. 13

14 14.0 REFERENCES 14.1 Definitions ACAS: Bullying and Harassment at work a guide for managers and employees This policy has been modelled on the previous Dignity at Work / Combating Bullying and Harassment policies from: Dorset HealthCare University NHS Foundation Trust NHS Bournemouth and Poole NHS Dorset 15.0 ASSOCIATED DOCUMENTS 15.1 Please refer to the Procedure for Dignity at Work Combating bullying and harassment for Line Managers and Employees Discipline and Capability Policy and the Procedure for line managers and employees for Discipline and Capability Grievance Policy and the Procedures for Grievance for line managers and employees. 14

15 Appendix A Equality Impact Assessment (Stage One) Screening 1. Policy/Service Directorate New or existing? Date of Assessment Dignity at Work Policy Combating bullying and harassment Human Resources Existing May Briefly describe the purpose of the Policy/Service: To raise awareness amongst all those working in the Trust that bullying and harassment will not be tolerated and provide guidance for employees who wish to raise concerns in line with this policy. 3. Legislation Check Equality Area Key Equalities Legislation Is the policy/service relevant to this equality area? Yes/No Assessment of Potential Impact: High/ Medium/ Low/ Not Known Required Actions Gender Sex Discrimination Act 1975 Equal Pay Act 1970 Equalities Act 2006 Gender Recognition Act 2004 Positive (+) Negative (-) Yes Medium No action required as Trust-wide policy applicable to all staff Race Race Relations Act 1976 Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000 Disability Yes Medium No action required as Trust-wide policy applicable to all staff Disability Discrimination Act 1995 & 2005 Yes Medium Measures have been put in place to assist any staff member who may have difficulty submitting a bullying or harassment claim in writing due to a disability Age Age Regulations 2006 Yes Medium No action required as Trust-wide policy 15

16 applicable to all staff Equality Area Key Equalities Legislation Is the policy/service relevant to this equality area? Yes/No Assessment of Potential Impact: High/ Medium/ Low/ Not Known Required Actions Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Equalities Act 2006 Religion Equalities Act 2006 Other Human Rights Act 1998 Positive (+) Negative (-) Yes Medium No action required as Trust-wide policy applicable to all staff Yes Medium No action required as Trust-wide policy applicable to all staff Yes Medium No action required as Trust-wide policy applicable to all staff 4. Is this Policy/Service likely to have a positive impact on one or more minority/under represented or community groups? If so, who may be affected and why? Or is it clear at this stage that it will be equality neutral? i.e. will have no particular effect on any group.the policy will be applied consistently to all staff, however recognising that harassment may be experienced due to a particular personal characteristic as defined within the policy and each case will be assessed individually. 5. Is this Policy/Service likely to have an adverse impact on one or more minority/under represented or community groups? If so, who may be affected and why? Or is it clear at this stage that it will be equality neutral? No 6. Is the Impact of the Policy/Service (whether positive or negative) significant enough to warrant a more detailed assessment? No 7. If not, explain how the Policy/Service will be monitored and reviewed to assess the impact over time. Briefly give reasons and bullet point any steps you are taking to address particular issues, including any consultation with staff or external groups. This policy will be reviewed every three years or earlier dependent on any legislative guidance. 8. Full EIA Required (Y/N): N 9. Screening Completed By: Policy Approval Group: Review Date: 16

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