Harassment and Bullying
HARASSMENT AND WORKPLACE BULLYING
Active believes that all of its employees have the right to a working environment free from intimidating and insulting behaviour and recognises its legal obligation to provide such an environment. Active is committed to the development and promotion of a positive workplace culture that is free from harassment and bullying, and aims to ensure that any allegation of harassment or bullying at work is taken seriously, is properly investigated, and is dealt with effectively.
It is essential to remember that personal and professional boundaries can protect employees from such allegations. Conduct in the workplace should always have professional distance, as anything else can be interpreted by someone else as different to how it was intended.
The definition of harassment is ‘unwanted conduct that violates a person’s dignity or creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment’. Forms of harassment include many kinds of unacceptable behaviour. For example action, behaviour, hugging or kissing whilst undertaking work tasks, comments or physical contact which is found objectionable or which causes offence, including: offensive jokes, verbal abuse, language, graffiti or literature of a racist or sectarian nature, or offensive remarks about a person’s physical characteristics, age, sexual orientation, or any other personal characteristic.
Bullying is the intimidation or belittling of someone through the misuse of power or position, which leaves the recipient feeling hurt, upset, vulnerable or helpless. Examples include:
– Unjustified criticism of an individual’s personal or professional performance, shouting at an individual, criticising an individual in front of another.
– Spreading malicious rumours or making malicious allegations.
– Ignoring or excluding an individual from the team/group.
Where possible and appropriate, harassment and bullying complaints of any nature should be dealt with by using an informal approach, at least in the first instance. Informal action provides the opportunity to resolve allegations of harassment through informal discussion and mediation. Some people may not be aware that their behaviour in some circumstances is being perceived as bullying, harassment or sexual harassment. Using an informal approach gives the alleged harasser the opportunity to stop if directly approached by an employee, manager or through a mediation process. However, should the informal approach fail to stop the harassment or bullying, or if an employee agrees with their manager that the situation is so serious as to warrant formal action, the formal approach should be taken. This involves the complainant making a written complaint.