Dignity at Work Policy Dec08 by M2I00Q3C

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									Dignity at Work Policy
                                                                         December 2008
1     Scope and Purpose

1.1   This Dignity at Work Policy is not contractual. It applies to all employees at all levels
      and at all grades and is a statement of the current policy of the University College and
      its on-going commitment to aim to provide and to promote a working environment
      where everyone is treated with respect and dignity, where no-one feels threatened or
      intimidated and where everyone can do their work free from harassment and/or
      bullying. It also aims to provide an appropriate environment in which the University
      College is able to resolve complaints about matters covered by this Dignity at Work
      Policy as quickly as possible in the circumstances, and where fairness, consistency
      and non-discrimination drive the policy. Although in this Dignity at Work Policy the
      University College refers to “complaints” not “grievances” throughout, the statutory
      requirements for grievance procedures have been incorporated in the event that they
      do apply. This Dignity at Work Policy takes into account the recommendations of
      ACAS. To ensure that this Dignity at Work Policy remains effective and relevant the
      University College reserves the right to amend it as necessary from time to time.
      Unacceptable behaviour by students is outside the scope of this Dignity at Work
      Policy (except where the student is also employed by the University College and is
      acting in that capacity) but will be dealt with under the relevant University College
      Regulations.

1.2   The University College is mindful that some complaints result in the identification of
      other employees and workers and could result in serious damage to their professional
      reputation. The University College is committed to handling complaints under this
      Dignity at Work Policy in a fair and balanced way. However, employees who, after
      investigation, are proven to have deliberately made false or vexatious statements
      and/or in bad faith will be subject to action under the University College’s Disciplinary
      and Dismissal Procedure.

1.3   Unlawful harassment of whatever type (including on grounds of gender, sexual
      orientation, marital status, civil partnership status, race, nationality, gender
      reassignment, colour, ethnic or national origin, age, religion or similar philosophical
      belief, or disability) and/or bullying will not be tolerated and will be treated with the
      utmost severity. Whilst it will normally be dealt with under the University College’s
      Disciplinary and Dismissal Procedure, it should be noted that:

      -   in exceptional circumstances it may also constitute a criminal offence;

      -   serious cases of harassment or bullying will be treated as gross misconduct and
          may, depending on the circumstances, result in dismissal without notice and
          without pay in lieu of notice;

      -   should the University College incur civil liability by reason of the harassment by an
          employee of a fellow employee, worker or third party, the University College
          reserves the right to recover such damages (together with its legal costs) from the
          harasser.

1.4   The University College recognises that in an academic institution there will be
      differences of opinion and academic disagreement. There is no intention by the
      University College to limit academic freedom but if there are occasions when
      behaviour falls below the standards set out in this policy, then the University College
      will implement the procedures in this Dignity at Work Policy.

1.5   If an employee’s complaint is about equality and inclusivity (including discrimination)
      other than harassment which is covered by this Dignity at Work Policy, employees are
      reminded that these are dealt with exclusively under the University College’s
      Grievance Procedure. The procedure in this Dignity at Work Policy and the Grievance
      Procedure are alternatives to each other and cannot be used in succession for the
      same grievance/complaint.

2     Personnel Responsible for Implementation of Policy

2.1   It is the responsibility of all employees to comply with this Dignity at Work Policy and
      ensure that behaviour towards fellow employees and workers cannot be considered to
      be harassment or bullying. Managers have a specific responsibility to operate within
      the boundaries of this Dignity at Work Policy and to facilitate its operation by ensuring
      that employees and workers understand the standards of behaviour expected of them
      and by identifying and acting upon behaviour that falls below these standards.

2.2   All employees should ensure that they take the time to read and understand this
      Dignity at Work Policy. Employees should disclose any instances of harassment or
      bullying of which they become aware to the Human Resources Adviser (“the
      Designated Officer”). Questions about this Dignity at Work Policy should be directed
      to the Human Resources Department.

3     What is Harassment and Bullying?

3.1   Harassment is not always obvious and does not have to be directed at one individual.
      Harassment is any behaviour that is unwanted by the recipient, is unwarranted and
      causes a “detriment” to that person such as creating a hostile working environment or
      where it is used as the basis for an employment decision. Harassment may also be
      behaviour which is intended to/or likely to cause the recipient alarm and/or distress.
      Harassment can be related to matters such as gender, sexual orientation, marital
      status, civil partnership status, race, nationality, gender reassignment, colour, ethnic
      or national origin, age, religion or similar philosophical belief, or disability. It is the
      impact of the behaviour which is relevant not the motive or intent behind it.
      Harassment generally arises where an employee has made it clear that they find
      certain behaviour unwelcome and that behaviour has continued unchanged.
      Harassment can also arise as a result of a single incident provided it is sufficiently
      serious. It is important to remember that even though conduct may only be unwanted
      or offensive to one individual it can still amount to harassment. Employees who
      believe they are being subjected to harassment should not hesitate to use the
      procedures set out below. All employees should consider whether their actions could
      be offensive to others. Harassment covers a wide range of behaviour including (but
      not limited to):

      (a)     physical contact ranging from unnecessary touching or brushing against a
              person, to unwelcome sexual advances, actual physical contact or serious
              assault;
      (b)     verbal and written (including e-mail) harassment through making derogatory,
              inappropriate or offensive suggestive or unwanted remarks or jokes,
              expressions of discriminatory views and/or intimidating comments, obscene
              gestures, pin ups, flags, graffiti, and/or display of offensive (including
              pornography) material;
      (c)     isolation or non co-operation at work, exclusion from social activities;
      (d)     pressure or requests for sexual favours, pressure to participate in political or
              religious groups;
      (e)     intrusion by pestering, spying, stalking etc;
      (f)     subjecting an individual to less favourable treatment for rejecting unwanted
              behaviour.

      The list is not exhaustive and other behaviour may constitute harassment.
3.2   Bullying can include (but is not limited to) offensive, insulting, intimidating or malicious
      behaviour or an abuse or misuse of power to humiliate or undermine the confidence
      and competence of the recipient.

3.3   This Dignity at Work Policy covers harassment or bullying which occurs both in the
      workplace itself and in settings outside the workplace, such as business trips, events
      or social functions organised by or on behalf of the University College and on or off
      the University College’s premises.

3.4   It is extremely important that if an employee believes that they have suffered or are
      suffering any form of harassment and/or bullying that they bring it to the attention of
      the University College at the earliest opportunity i.e. immediately after the first
      occasion on which such harassment and/or bullying takes place. Employees should
      not wait for it to occur a second time before informing the University College. The
      University College understands that employees will be apprehensive about doing so
      but employees’ complaints will be treated seriously and dealt with sensitively, fairly
      and, where possible, confidentially.


4     Right to be accompanied at Meetings
4.1   If an employee has a complaint or a complaint is raised about them under this Dignity
      at Work Policy, they normally have the right to be accompanied at all formal stages of
      this Dignity at Work Policy (including an appeal) by a certified trade union
      representative or fellow worker of their choice. The same chosen companion should
      not represent both the employee who has made the complaint and the alleged
      harasser/ bully. An employee should not normally need to be accompanied at
      discussions under the Informal Procedure in paragraph 7 below but if an employee
      feels unable to attend such discussions without being accompanied the University
      College will consider a reasonable request to be accompanied. It is up to the
      employee to make a reasonable request to be accompanied.
4.2   If the chosen companion cannot attend the proposed meeting for a reason that was
      not foreseeable at the time the meeting was arranged, an alternative companion can
      attend with the agreement of the relevant manager or the employee who made the
      complaint or alleged bully/harasser as appropriate can suggest a reasonable
      alternative time and date (having regard to the availability of the relevant manager)
      provided that it is within 5 working days after the date originally proposed by the
      University College, or the University College agrees a mutually convenient date. The
      timing of any alternative meeting should be convenient to all parties.

4.3   The chosen companion has a right to address the meeting, but not to answer
      questions on behalf of the employee. The right to address the meeting allows the
      chosen companion to:

                                   Put the employee’s case
                                   Sum up the case
                                   Respond on the employee’s behalf to any view
                                    expressed at the hearing
                                   Confer with the employee during the hearing

4.4   Prior to the date of the meeting the employee is required to confirm, to the manager
      conducting the meeting, who will be accompanying them to the meeting. At the
      commencement of the formal meeting the rights of the chosen companion will be
      clarified and the employee will confirm in what capacity the chosen companion is
      attending the meeting.

4.5   The University College expects the behaviour of participants at informal and formal
      meetings to be respectful and professional at all times.
5     Witness Statements

5.1   The University College believes that employees have an obligation to comply with
      reasonable management requests to provide a statement should they have witnessed
      a matter that is being investigated under this policy. Should an employee refuse to
      comply with a reasonable request to provide a witness statement the University
      College will consider the employee’s reasons for this but, if the explanation given is
      not considered reasonable in the circumstances, disciplinary action may be
      considered. The University College will ensure that, when considering the explanation
      an employee may offer for their refusal to provide a witness statement, the balance
      will be maintained between the desirability to protect informants who are genuinely in
      fear and the requirement to provide a fair hearing of issues for the accused(s).

6     Notes of Meetings
6.1   A representative from Human Resource will attend meetings arranged in accordance
      with this Policy in order to take formal notes of the meeting. Once the notes are typed
      HR will ensure that all attendees of the meeting receive a copy of the notes. At the
      bottom of the notes a table will state the name of the note taker, the date the notes
      were taken and the names of those who have received a copy of the notes.

6.2   Employees will be informed if notes are required for other stages of the formal
      process i.e. at subsequent disciplinary or appeal meetings.


7     What an Employee should do if they have been Bullied or
      Harassed: Informal Procedure
7.1   If an employee considers that they are being bullied or harassed, they should initially
      attempt to resolve the problem informally, explaining clearly to the person creating the
      problem that the behaviour in question is offensive, is not welcome and should be
      stopped. If this is too difficult or embarrassing for the employee to do on their own,
      they should seek support from a fellow employee, their Line Manager, or trade union
      or employee representative. If the complaint relates to the employee’s Line Manager,
      the employee should discuss it with the next level of management. Managers will
      provide confidential advice and assistance to employees who complain that they have
      been bullied or harassed and will assist in the resolution of any problems, whether
      through formal or informal means.
7.2   If an employee is in any doubt as to whether an incident or series of incidents which
      have occurred constitute bullying or harassment, then in the first instance they should
      approach their Line Manager confidentially on an informal basis. They will then be
      able to advise the employee as to how the matter should be dealt with. If the
      complaint relates to the employee’s Line Manager, the employee should discuss it
      with the next level of management.
7.3   If the conduct continues or it is not appropriate to resolve it informally, the employee
      should follow the 3 step formal procedure set out below in paragraphs 8, 9 & 10.


8     What an Employee should do if they have been Bullied or
      Harassed: Formal Procedure
8.1   The informal procedure may not be appropriate due to the nature of the harassment
      or bullying or because the employee does not feel able to talk directly to the person
      creating the problem. In these cases, or where the informal procedure has been
      unsuccessful, the employee should, if they wish to make a formal complaint, raise
      their complaint in writing with the Designated Officer. This is step 1 of the formal
      procedure. The role of the Designated Officer is to achieve a solution wherever
      possible and, where possible, to respect the confidentiality of all concerned. See
      paragraph 8.3 below for details of the information required to be included in the
      employee’s written complaint. If the complaint concerns the Designated Officer, the
      employee should refer it to the Head of Human Resources. If the complaint concerns
      the Deputy Principal, the employee should refer it to the Principal. If the complaint
      concerns the Principal, the employee should refer it to the Clerk to the Governors of
      the Corporation (in which case the complaint will be heard by a Sub-Committee of the
      Governors of the Corporation which will perform the role of the Investigative Officer
      save that the Sub-Committee of the Governors may, at its discretion, appoint an
      external investigator to perform the role of Investigative Officer where this is deemed
      by it to be appropriate).

8.2   As a general principle, the decision to progress a complaint rests with the employee.
      However, as the employee’s employer, the University College has a duty to protect all
      employees and workers and the University College may pursue a complaint
      independently if the University College considers it is appropriate to do so in all the
      circumstances. In these circumstances, the University College will respect the
      confidentiality of the employee who decides not to progress a complaint.

8.3   If an employee wishes to make a formal complaint, they should write to the
      Designated Officer or, if the complaint is about the Designated Officer, the Deputy
      Principal or the Principal, then to the appropriate person identified in paragraph 6.1
      above, setting out full details of the unwanted conduct. These details should include
      the name of the fellow employee or worker who is the subject of the complaint, the
      nature of the alleged harassment or bullying, the date(s) and time(s) when the alleged
      harassment or bullying occurred, the names of any witnesses and any action taken so
      far to attempt to stop the alleged harassment or bullying. If the employee would like
      the University College to help them write about their grievance because they have a
      disability which prevents them from doing so they should seek advice from the Senior
      Officer (Equalities).

8.4   A representative from Human Resources will meet with the employee to discuss how
      their document/allegations will be shared with the accused(s). If the employee does
      not consent to the whole document being shared with the accused(s) HR will hold
      further discussions with the employee to gain agreement as to which parts of the
      document/allegations will be shared with the accused(s) i.e. can parts of the
      document be blanked out or can the allegations be summarised. If a summary
      document is compiled, the employee will be required to submit their written agreement
      of the summary and agree that this summary will be shared with the accused(s).

8.5   In dealing with Dignity at Work matters the University College recognises the
      protection afforded to employees under the Data Protection Act and seeks to balance
      these requirements with the obligations it has to completing a thorough and
      transparent investigation into any allegations raised.

8.6   The University College will take reasonable steps to ensure that there is no
      unreasonable delay by the University College in dealing with a complaint raised under
      this Dignity at Work Policy. However, if at any time it is not possible for the person
      dealing with a complaint (at any stage) to comply with the time scales set out in this
      Dignity at Work Policy, the employee will be told why there is a delay and informed of
      the likely time scale.

9     Formal Procedure: Investigation

9.1   At the outset, save where the complaint has been referred to the Clerk to the
      Governors of the Corporation, an investigative officer (“the Investigative Officer”) will
      be appointed by the Head of Human Resources. The Investigative Officer or, if the
      complaint concerns the Principal, a Sub-Committee of the Governors of the
      Corporation (hereafter called “the Sub-Committee”) shall investigate. This is step 2 of
      the formal procedure. The Investigative Officer will (where possible) be someone who
      is not directly involved in the matter being investigated. The University College may, at
      its discretion, use an external investigator to perform the role of the Investigative
      Officer where this is deemed by it to be appropriate. The investigation will be
      thorough, impartial and objective, and will be carried out with sensitivity and with due
      respect for the rights of all parties concerned.

9.2   The University College will normally arrange for someone to attend all meetings (and
      any appeal hearing) to take notes. These notes together with a copy of the
      employee’s written complaint, the report of the Investigative Officer or the Sub-
      Committee as appropriate, the decision made (including the outcome of any appeal),
      notes of any action taken and subsequent developments will be kept confidential on
      his/her personnel file and in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998.

9.3   The University College will take reasonable steps to ensure that the location and
      timing of any meeting held under this Dignity at Work Policy is reasonable and will
      take reasonable steps to ensure that meetings held under this Dignity at Work policy
      are conducted in a manner that enables both parties to explain their case. The
      employee who has made the complaint must take all reasonable steps to attend
      meetings arranged under this Dignity at Work Policy. If they are unable to attend for
      whatever reason they should let the University College know as soon as possible so it
      can consider rearranging the meeting. An employee may propose an alternative date
      for a meeting if their chosen companion is unable to attend. Further guidance on this
      is set out in paragraph 4.2 above.

9.4   Once a formal complaint of harassment and/or bullying has been made, the University
      College has to consider whether arrangements should be made to avoid contact
      between the employee who has made the complaint and the alleged harasser/bully.
      Appropriate action may include removing the alleged harasser/bully to another area of
      work (where possible) away from the employee who has made the complaint until the
      matter has been resolved. Where allegations of serious harassment or bullying have
      been made, consideration will be given to suspending the alleged harasser/bully on
      full pay while the University College investigates the complaint. In some cases it may
      be appropriate to move or suspend both parties for the duration of the investigation.
      Suspension under this Dignity at Work Policy is not a disciplinary act and does not
      imply that there has been any misconduct or that there is any suggestion of guilt.
      Both parties will be advised that there should be no communication between them,
      directly or indirectly, regarding the complaint and the investigation.

9.5   Following receipt of the letter of complaint, the Investigative Officer or Sub-Committee
      as appropriate will write to the employee who has made the complaint within 5
      working days of receipt of the letter of complaint to inform them that an investigation
      will be undertaken and ensure that they are made aware of the process that will be
      adopted during the investigation. The Investigative Officer or Sub-Committee as
      appropriate will investigate the complaint and invite the employee who made the
      complaint to a meeting to discuss the complaint within 10 working days of receipt of
      their complaint. In the event that the employee has not provided sufficient details to
      enable the University College to understand and investigate their complaint this
      meeting may be delayed whilst the University College obtains further information from
      the employee. Such meeting will take place after the Investigative Officer or Sub-
      Committee as appropriate has met with the alleged harasser/bully. The Investigative
      Officer or Sub-Committee as appropriate will also meet with the alleged harasser/bully
      to outline the nature of the complaint, confirm that it is being handled under the formal
      procedure, and ensure that the individual is aware of the next stages of the procedure.

9.6   After the initial meeting with the employee, the Investigative Officer or Sub-Committee
      as appropriate will write to the alleged harasser/bully outlining the nature of the
      complaint and set a date for a formal meeting to be held to discuss the employee’s
      complaint with the alleged harasser/bully. The formal meeting will normally take place
      within 15 working days of receipt of the complaint. Further meetings will be held if
      necessary with the employee who made the complaint and the alleged harasser/bully.
9.7    It may also be necessary to interview other relevant people. These may include
       managers, work colleagues, anyone who observed the alleged incident or who
       observed the demeanour of the employee who made the complaint and that of the
       alleged harasser/bully after the alleged incident. The importance of confidentiality will
       be emphasised.

9.8    At the conclusion of the investigation, the Investigative Officer or Sub-Committee as
       appropriate will decide whether to uphold the complaint and whether to take any
       disciplinary and/or other action (see paragraphs 9.9, 9.10 and 9.11 below). Where the
       Investigative Officer or Sub-Committee considers disciplinary action may be
       appropriate, the matter will be referred to the appropriate authority in accordance with
       the University College’s Disciplinary and Dismissal Procedure.

9.9    Where the complaint is upheld but it was appropriate to take disciplinary action other
       than dismissal against the harasser/bully the University College will consider whether
       it needs to take any other action to enable the employee who made the complaint to
       continue working without embarrassment or anxiety. This could include mediation,
       counselling or amending working practices to minimise contact between the employee
       who made the complaint and the harasser/bully. If the complaint is found to be false
       and made in bad faith the employee who made the complaint will face disciplinary
       action (see paragraph 9 below).

9.10   Where the complaint is upheld, the University College will monitor the situation to
       ensure that the harassment or bullying has stopped and will offer and provide support
       (such as counselling and training) as necessary.

9.11   Even if the complaint is not upheld, (for example because of inconclusive evidence)
       the University College may, in its sole discretion, give consideration to rescheduling
       the work of either the employee who made the complaint or the alleged harasser/bully
       rather than requiring them to continue to work together against their respective
       wishes. In the event that neither of them will agree to such a rescheduling but the
       University College reasonably considers such action to be necessary, the University
       College reserves the right to take further action, including as a last resort the
       termination of the contract of either the employee who made the complaint or the
       alleged harasser/bully.

9.12   The employee who made the complaint and the person against whom the complaint
       was made will be notified of the decision in writing usually within 10 working days of
       the final investigation meeting. Details of any disciplinary action taken against any
       individual will however remain confidential.


10     Formal Procedure: Appeal
10.1   If the employee who made the complaint is not satisfied with the outcome of the
       investigation, they may appeal the decision within 5 working days of the date of the
       decision. This is step 3 of the formal procedure. The employee who made the
       complaint must inform the Head of Human Resources, or, if the complaint is against
       the Principal, the Clerk to the Governors of the Corporation, in writing of the grounds
       on which they are making the appeal and set out full details of why they are not
       satisfied with the outcome (see guidance on writing about the complaint in paragraph
       6.3 above). The grounds for appeal must relate to the complaint which was raised by
       the employee.

10.2   The Head of Human Resources will nominate the person to hear the appeal (where
       practicable this will be a manager senior to the Investigative Officer) save that in the
       event that the Investigative Officer is the Principal or Deputy Principal, any appeal will
       be heard by a Sub-Committee of the Governors of the Corporation and in the event
       that the first hearing was by a Sub-Committee of the Governors of the Corporation,
       any appeal will be heard by the Governors of the Corporation who were not involved in
       the first hearing.

10.3   As soon as possible, and in any event within 10 working days of receipt of their
       appeal, the person hearing the appeal will arrange a meeting with the employee who
       made the complaint to discuss their appeal and any other people as, in the discretion
       of the person hearing the appeal, are necessary. The employee who made the
       complaint may be accompanied by a work place colleague or certified trade union
       representative of their choice in accordance with paragraph 4 above.

10.4   The employee who made the complaint will normally be provided with a written
       decision on their appeal within 10 working days of the final meeting taking place.
       Copies of the decision will be sent to all parties. The decision of the person who hears
       the appeal is final and there is no further right of appeal.

11     No Victimisation and False Complaints
11.1   Employees will not be victimised for making a complaint. However, any false
       complaints made in bad faith will be treated as gross misconduct and appropriate
       disciplinary action will be taken against them, and/or any employee who supports or
       assists in the bringing of the false complaint, under the University College’s
       Disciplinary and Dismissal Procedure. Where the University College reasonably
       believes that gross misconduct has been committed, the normal result will be
       dismissal without notice and without pay in lieu of notice.

11.2   Victimisation or retaliation against an employee, who has in good faith made,
       supported or assisted in the making of a complaint of harassment and/or bullying, will
       be treated as gross misconduct and appropriate disciplinary action taken against them
       under the University College’s Disciplinary and Dismissal Procedure. Where the
       University College reasonably believes that gross misconduct has been committed,
       the normal result will be dismissal without notice and without pay in lieu of notice.

12     Confidentiality
12.1   Confidentiality is very important throughout all parts of the procedure under this
       Dignity at Work Policy. It is the responsibility of everyone involved in the procedure
       under this Dignity at Work Policy to protect the high level of confidentiality that is
       required where that is possible. Breach of confidentiality in such circumstances may
       give rise to disciplinary action under the University College’s Disciplinary and
       Dismissal Procedure.

13     Circumstances in which the University College may depart from
       this Procedure

13.1   There are limited statutory circumstances in which the University College may not be
       obliged to follow or continue with the statutory dismissal or disciplinary procedures
       (which have been incorporated into this Disciplinary and Dismissal Procedure). In
       accordance with ACAS guidance statutory procedure does not need to be followed if
       circumstances beyond the control of either party prevent one or more steps being
       followed within a reasonable period e.g. where there is a long period of absence
       abroad. The employee will be advised in writing in the event that these circumstances
       apply.

14     Complaints Raised After Termination of Employment
14.1   The University College hopes that this Dignity at Work Policy will enable employees to
       raise any complaint while they are employed with the University College. However, if
       this is not possible for any reason and an employee wants to raise a complaint after
       their employment has ended (or they have raised a complaint but the formal complaint
       procedure has not been completed before they leave the University College), the
       University College can either follow the formal complaint procedure or can agree (in
       writing) that it will consider the complaint without holding a meeting with the employee.
       If they do raise a complaint after their employment has ended, the University College
       asks them to do so as soon as possible while memories are still fresh.

14.2   If the University College agrees that a meeting should not be held, the employee
       would still need to submit their complaint in writing (assuming they have not already
       done so), together with full details of the basis of their complaint, to the Head of
       Human Resources. The University College would then consider it and then send them
       its written decision within the normal timescales. There would be no right of appeal if
       the University College agreed to follow this option.

								
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