Dignity at Work by luckboy


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Policy on dignity at work 1. 1.1 Introduction The purpose of this policy is to: • • • • 2. 2.1 raise awareness amongst employees that harassment and bullying will not be tolerated and that action will be taken against perpetrators; commit to creating a working environment free from all forms of harassment and bullying that may exist within the organisation; provide definitions of various forms of harassment and bullying; provide the mechanisms to deal with complaints of harassment and bullying.

Responsibilities Trust Responsibilities

2.1.1 The Trust is committed to protecting all employees, clients/patients, members of the public, and partner agencies from any form of bullying or harassment. 2.1.2 All forms of harassment are unacceptable. 2.1.3 It is imperative, for the well being of employees and patient care and for the overall performance of the Trust, that employees are free to conduct their duties without interference from harassment or bullying. 2.1.4 The Trust believes that all of it’s employees, patients and clients have the right to be treated with courtesy, dignity, fairness and respect at all times and will ensure that its commitment to good employment practice, equal opportunities and related legal obligations and good practice guidelines are maintained. 2.1.5 Following any allegation of harassment or bullying concerning employees, clients/patients, members of the public, or partner agencies, this policy will be actioned. 2.2 Employee Responsibilities

2.2.1 Trust employees have a responsibility to be aware that certain behaviour may be acceptable to some, but not to others – only individuals can decide what is acceptable to them and what is not. 2.2.2 Employees have a duty to be aware of how their behaviour affects others – employees, contractors, clients/patients, members of the public, and partner agencies. 2.2.3 Employees have the responsibility to report to an appropriate person any forms of harassment of, clients/patients, members of the public, and partner agencies staff that they witness.

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2.2.4 Where an employee witnesses the harassment of another employee, following discussion with the employee being harassed, he/she may then need to report this harassment on their behalf. 2.3 Clients/Patients

2.3.1 Clients/patients, members of the public and others, owe the same duty towards Trust employees. 2.3.2 Complaints of any form of harassment made by employees of the Trust against clients/patients, members of the public and partner agencies will be investigated and actioned accordingly. 2.3.3 Following complaints against clients/patients, advice must be taken from senior management within the Trust or the Human Resource Team. 3. 3.1 Definitions When determining whether bullying or harassment has taken place the investigation is of paramount importance as this is the organisation’s main tool to determine whether bullying or harassment has occurred The following are examples which, given the setting in which they are used, can constitute harassment and bullying. These examples are not intended to be definitive or exhaustive and other forms of behaviour can constitute discrimination, harassment, victimisation or bullying. Acts of harassment, can be centred around unwanted, offensive and intrusive behaviour. Harassment is a form of victimisation that can have its roots in discrimination on the grounds of, for example: race, gender, sexuality, disability, age, religion, social class, political conviction, health status, marital status. 3.4 Harassment can be verbal; non-verbal; physical; or other. a) Verbal Harassment can include offensive remarks, personal comments and innuendoes, jokes, gossip and speculation. Non-Verbal Harassment can include exposure to offensive literature, photographs, graffiti and pin-ups. Physical Harassment can involve bodily contact, touching, threatening behaviour. Other forms of Harassment can include unwelcome gifts, practical jokes at another’s expense, unfair allocation of work, deliberate exclusion from conversation or work-related/team social events, unwanted continuous criticism of professional views.






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4. 4.1

Sexual Harassment The following examples of behaviour can be considered as sexual harassment: • • • • • • Unwanted, non-accidental, physical contact ranging from unnecessary touching, e.g. patting, pinching, or brushing against a colleague; or employee’s body, to assault and coercing sexual relations; Lewd comments, leering, whistling or making sexually-suggestive comments or gestures, innuendoes; Suggestions that sexual favours may further a colleague’s career, or that refusal may hinder it e.g. promotions, access to training etc.; The display of pornographic or sexually suggestive pictures, objects or written materials; Unwelcome sexual advances and/or flirting, propositions or pressure for sexual activity, continued suggestions for social activity outside of the workplace, after it has been made clear that such suggestions are unwelcome; Conduct that denigrates, ridicules, intimidates or which is physically abusive of an employee because of his or her sex, such as derogatory or degrading abuse or insults which are gender-related and offensive comments about appearance or dress; The undermining of a colleague’s work specifically because of their gender, or ignoring or dismissing the quality of a colleague’s work, contribution or experience because of their gender.



Complaints of sexual harassment will be actioned in accordance with Section 12 of this policy. Racial Harassment “Tackling Racial Harassment in the NHS – A Plan for Action” was commissioned by the NHS Equal Opportunities Unit and introduces a Programme of Action to tackle racial harassment in the NHS. The Trust will not tolerate any form of racial harassment. This policy has been reviewed in light of the national Programme of Action. Black and minority ethnic employees of the Trust are encouraged to report any incidents of racial harassment that they are subject to, either by employees, clients/patients, members of the public or partner agencies. All employees have a duty to report incidents of racial harassment they have witnessed, to an appropriate person. A definition of racial harassment: “targeted unacceptable behaviour motivated by racial intolerance”

5. 5.1




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Racial harassment and abuse at work constitutes “less favourable treatment” in which the individual suffers “a detriment” within the Race Relations Act 1976. A detriment includes an insult but can also include blocked promotion, unwarranted transfers, unfair selection for redundancy and dismissal. The following examples of behaviour can be considered as racial harassment: • • • • • Racist jokes, banter, insults and taunts; Racist literature; Exclusion because of race, colour, ethnic origin, or creed; Making racist insinuations; Physical attacks.




Racial harassment need not be deliberate or conscious and it is no defence to say: “I meant no offence” or “it was only a joke”


Harassment by clients/patients is a sensitive issue and as such, action cannot be prescriptive. Mentally ill patients for example may have aggressive symptoms manifested by their illness. This should not, however be an argument to ignore the particular situation in question. Complaints concerning racial harassment of an employee by a client/patient, member of the public or partner agency will be investigated by the appropriate manager after having taken advice from senior management in conjunction with the Human Resource Team under the Complaints Policy. If the complaint is not resolved to the employees satisfaction under the Complaints Policy, and the employee raises a grievance, the Grievance Procedure should be followed. Complaints of racial harassment of employees by other employees of the Trust will be actioned in accordance with Section 12 of this policy. Harassment of Disabled People Disabled people are often stereotyped as “dependant victims” or “brave sufferers” – views which must be challenged. Failure to acknowledge disabled people as individuals with rights can result in marginalisation and segregation. Harassment of disabled people may include the following types of behaviour: • • • • • • • Staring and/or uninvited touching; Deliberate exclusion from work-related social events; Speaking to others, rather than the disabled person; Asking intimate questions about a person’s impairment; Making assumptions that disabled people don’t have a social, sexual or private life; Physical abuse or intimidation; Unwarranted questioning of a disabled person’s working capacity and or ability;



6. 6.1


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• 6.3

Making assumptions or speculating about the disabled person’s impairment.

Complaints of harassment of disabled people will be actioned in accordance with Section 12 of this policy.

7. 7.1

Harassment of Lesbian Women And Gay Men The harassment of lesbians and gay men is described in the European code of practice on “Protecting the Dignity of Men and Women at Work” as behaviour which undermines the dignity of those affected. The code continues “it is impossible to regard such harassment as appropriate workplace behaviour”. “This includes the harassment or discrimination against an employee who is wrongly assumed to because of a gay or lesbian and harassment or discrimination against an employee because of a gay or lesbian friend or relative.” Examples of harassment of lesbians and gay men include: • • • • • • • • Homophobic comments or jokes; The asking of intimate questions about an individual’s personal sexual life; Assumptions that everyone is heterosexual; Gossip and speculation about an individual’s sexuality, or the sexuality of their friends or relatives; Excluding people because they are lesbian or gay; Homophobic graffiti or the displaying or circulating of anti-gay or anti-lesbian material; Offensive actions and physical attack; Making assumptions that any illness experienced by gay men is HIV related.



Complaints of harassment of lesbians and gay men will be actioned in accordance with Section 12 of this policy. Harassment due to Age On 1 October 2006 government introduced age discrimination legislation for the first time - the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006. These regulations are set by the Equal Treatment Framework Directive (2000/78/EC) which required the UK to implement national legislation preventing age discrimination. Age discrimination can take many forms. In legal terms, it follows the same pattern as existing forms of discrimination law in the UK, namely direct and indirect discrimination, victimisation and harassment. However, the regulations have a wide impact on other areas of employment law including unfair dismissal and redundancy provisions.

8. 8.1


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Harassment relating to age may include the following types of behaviour: • • • • • Name-calling; Derogatory jokes relating to a person’s age; Intrusive questions; Making assumptions that a person’s age may have an affect on their behaviour; Conduct that denigrates, ridicules, intimidates or which is physically abusive of an employee because of his or her age, such as derogatory or degrading abuse or insults which are age-related and offensive comments about appearance or dress; The undermining of a colleague’s work specifically because of their age, or ignoring or dismissing the quality of a colleague’s work, contribution or experience because of their age.



Complaints of harassment in relation to age will be actioned in accordance with Section 12 of this policy.

9. 9.1 • • • • • • 9.2

Harassment due to Religion The following examples of behaviour can be considered as religious harassment: Ridiculing items worn for religious purposes; Denigrating cultural customs; Dismissive treatment of requests for holidays for religious or cultural festivals; Derisory comments against an individual’s beliefs Name calling; Derogatory jokes related to a person’s religious beliefs; Complaints of harassment in relation to religion will be actioned in accordance with Section 12 of this policy.



10.1 What is a Bully? • • • A bully is a person using strength or power to coerce or control others by fear; Bullying can be defined as a type of misconduct involving intentional intimidation or belittling of an individual and can arise from the misuse of managerial status or as a result of certain physical and mental characteristics; Bullying can also be defined as “offensive, intimidating, malicious, insulting or humiliating behaviour, abuse of power or authority which attempts to undermine an individual or group of employees and which may cause them to suffer stress”;

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Bully On Line

10.2.1 Bully On Line, the Website of the UK National Workplace Bullying Advice Line, states that half of the population are bullied and most only recognise it when they read the facts about bullying. 10.2.2 The website suggests that people who are bullied can be subject to the following, although the context in which any of these issues occur is clearly an important issue: • • • • • • • • • • Constant criticism; Undermined in front of others; Ignored, ostracised, isolated; Singled out and treated differently; Belittled, ridiculed, threatened; Denied information or knowledge; Overloaded with work or have work replaced with menial tasks; Given the silent treatment, no eye contact, ignored; Often instructions are received only via e-mail or post-it notes; Denied annual, sickness or special leave.

10.2.3 Bullies may select their targets, because the target is: • • • • • Good at their job; Popular with people (colleagues, patients, or others); Unwittingly drawing attention to or inviting comparison with the bully’s inadequacy and incompetence; Blowing the whistle on incompetence or breaches of procedure; Successful.

10.2.4 Key Facts about Bullying • • • • • • . 11 11.1 Contact Officers Where employees are not sure whether the incident(s) they have experienced constitute harassment or bullying or if they require support, they should contact, one of the Trust’s Contact Officers, their staff side representative, the Human Resources Team, any senior manager, friend or colleague or access the Trust’s independent counselling service. Jealousy and envy are strong motivators for bullying; Bullying is rarely a single incident – it tends to be an accumulation of many small incidents; Few people recognise bullying; A person being bullied may not realise they are being bullied for weeks or months until a moment of enlightment; Bullying is often secret, behind closed doors with no witnesses; Bullies are often inadequate in the area of interpersonal skills.

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11.2 The names of the Contact Officers are detailed at Appendix 1 and made available to all Trust employees. They will be trained to advise and help employees in total confidence. 11.3 Employees will be advised how best to approach the matter and whether any further action should be taken.

11.4 The Contact Officers will maintain a record of incidents they are contacted about, however small. It is essential that this record be anonymised to ensure confidentiality

whilst ensuring that an audit of the effectiveness of the policy can be undertaken. This record will be in accordance with Appendix 1. 11.5 It is recommended that employees keep records of all incidents – what happened, when it happened and whether anyone else was around at the time.

12 12.1 12.2

Procedure To Address Complaints Of Harassment And Bullying Informal Procedure If employees feel that they have been harassed or bullied they may choose to advise the alleged perpetrator that their behaviour is unwelcome and causing distress. People are not always aware that their behaviour is offensive and to be advised of this can often bring an end to the problem.

12.3 If employees choose this course of action they should consider it carefully, as it may not be the most appropriate course of action given the particular circumstances. In initial discussions with the Contact Officers, their staff side representative, the Human Resources Team, senior manager, friend or colleague the course of action available will be considered. 12.4 If employees do choose to approach the alleged perpetrator with their complaint they should do so with the support of their chosen contact support. The following approach should be used: • • • • • • • Plan exactly what to say to the alleged perpetrator; Choose an appropriate time and place to say it; Be specific and give examples of the unwanted behaviour, referring to any notes/records kept; Give an explanation of how their actions affect the individual concerned; Make it clear that the action must stop; Although difficult, the aim should be to keep the situation as calm as possible; The individual may choose to put the relevant information to the alleged perpetrator in writing.

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12.5 Where the alleged perpetrator has been advised of the concern/complaint and the harassment continues the employee may then have no other alternative but to raise the harassment complaint through the formal procedure. 13 Formal Procedure

13.1 The aim of the formal procedure is to resolve complaints of harassment or bullying swiftly and effectively with the minimum amount of distress. 13.2 It should be followed when one or more of the following applies: • • • • A complainant requests it, feeling unable to raise the complaint through the informal procedure; The informal procedure has failed; Harassment or bullying is persistent; The severity of a single instance of harassment warrants it.

13.3 All investigations of harassment or bullying will be treated seriously and confidentially and a thorough and sensitive investigation into the complaint will take place. 13.4 If, at the outset of the investigation, the allegation could constitute gross misconduct, then the alleged perpetrator may be suspended from duty in accordance with the Disciplinary Procedure. 14 Complaint Registered/Grievance Procedure

14.1 If it is appropriate, given the nature of the complaint, the complainant should first register their complaint in writing to their line manager or the Human Resources Team in accordance with the stages given in the Trust’s Grievance Procedure. It is accepted that not all stages of the grievance procedure may be appropriate to the complaint. 14.2 In cases where the person causing the alleged harassment/bullying manages the complainant, the complainant may go to their Executive Director or the Human Resources Manager. The line manager must ensure that the Human Resources Team is notified of the complaint.


14.4 The complaint should be acknowledged by the Human Resources Team, in writing, as soon as reasonably practicable. 14.5 An investigating officer will be appointed by the Human Resources Team. The complainant will be met, supported by the Contact Officer or staff side representative and will be asked to provide a full account of the harassment or bullying as soon as possible. The investigating officer shall be totally independent of the immediate service where the complaint arises. 14.6 A written statement of the complaint will be requested following the meeting.

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15 15.1

Witnesses All witnesses to any incidents referred to, will also be interviewed by the Investigating Officer and asked to give full accounts of incidents, followed by written statements. Witnesses may be supported by their staff side representative, friend or colleague. All interviews will be conducted confidentially and names of the complainant and alleged perpetrator will only be disclosed to those necessary to the investigation. Any breaches of confidentiality will be subject to disciplinary action.

16 16.1

Meeting with the Alleged Perpetrator The alleged perpetrator will be advised of the allegation during the investigation with appropriate representation and will be given the opportunity to respond to the allegation, followed up by a written statement to the Investigating Officer. Completion of Investigation


17.1 The investigation should be completed as quickly as practicably possible having regard to all the circumstances. If for any reason there are significant delays both the complainant and alleged perpetrator will be notified of the reasons for the delay. 18 Report

18.1 The Investigating Officer will provide a written report of the investigation including all witness statements submitted. The report will conclude with a recommendation to the appropriate manager on the action to be taken. This may be that a disciplinary hearing is held, (as a result of the information gathered it is believed that harassment has taken place). If not and some other appropriate action is required, advice will be given by the Human Resource Team. 19 19.1 Appeal If at the end of the investigation, the complainant is dissatisfied with the outcome he/she may appeal to the next level of the Trust’s Grievance Procedure. The Appeal meeting will be held in accordance with the Grievance Procedure. Disciplinary Hearing Where it is necessary to hold a disciplinary hearing, the Trust’s Dismissal and Disciplinary Policy and Procedure will be followed and action taken accordingly. The alleged perpetrator will be given copies of the Investigating Officer’s report and supporting statements in advance of the disciplinary hearing.

19.2 20 20.1


20.3 The hearing should be held as soon as reasonably practicable on conclusion of the investigation. Where unavoidable delays occur, parties should be advised accordingly.

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20.4 With advice from the Human Resources Team consideration will be given to the necessity to have witnesses present at the hearing. 21 Appeals Procedure

21.1 Appeals against any disciplinary action taken will be dealt with in accordance with the Trust’s Dismissal and Disciplinary Policy and Procedure.

22 22.1

Other Issues Intimidation of Witnesses and Malicious Complaints

22.2 All complaints will be taken seriously and investigated promptly and thoroughly. There will be no victimisation of any employee making or helping someone else to make a complaint. 22.3 For any complaint which is found to be vindictive or not made in good faith, the reporting manager should decide whether disciplinary action should be invoked against the complainant. 23 Confidentiality

23.1 All matters relating to any part of the above procedure will be treated in strict confidence, in accordance with the sensitivity of the issue. This applies whether the discussions are on an informal level, in obtaining relevant information to pursue a hearing or in a hearing at any level of the procedure. Any breach of this confidentiality will render those responsible liable to disciplinary action. Every effort will be made to ensure that the alleged perpetrator, complainant and witnesses remain free from victimisation. 24 24.1 Training The Trust is committed to providing appropriate training to enable this agreement to be successfully implemented. In particular, it will ensure: a) All new staff are advised on the terms of the policy statement and their responsibilities under it, All managers, supervisors and staff are advised of their role in implementing the Dignity at Work Policy,


25 25.1

Counselling Pursuing a complaint under this policy, being a witness or being told you are under investigation can be a very stressful and upsetting experience. The Trust will provide counselling, free of charge, to any member of staff who is involved in a dignity at work issue.

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25.2 Access to the counselling services can be made directly by any member of staff either through the Road Centre Counselling Service: Durham 0191 3844009 or through the appropriate occupational health services: County Durham and Darlington Acute Hospitals NHS Trust: Durham 0191 333 2351 Darlington 01325 743493 North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Trust: North Tees 01642 624889 Hartlepool 01429 522315 26 26.1 Monitoring In each individual case, the responsible manager will, after an agreed period of time, check with the complainant that harassment/bullying has not recurred. Complaints made under this procedure and their outcome will regularly be monitored, in conjunction with staff side representatives, to identify the causes of harassment and bullying and to address them.

Policy Review Date: November 2007

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APPENDIX 1 DIGNITY AT WORK CONTACT OFFICERS NAME DIRECTORATE WORK NO. Miss Fiona Almond Nursing and Patient 01388 Services 452270 Mrs Nicola Hepple Performance and 01388 Primary care 452284 Mr Roger Haydon Informatics 0191 3333226 Mrs Katharine Humby Support Services 01388 452382 Miss Lynn Maxwell Nursing and Patient 01388 Services 452275 Ms Melanie Morgan Public Health 01388 452299 Mr Jeff Pearson Nursing and Patient 01388 Services 452312 Mrs Pat Rich Public Health 01388 452300 Performance and 01388 Mrs Wendy Winter Primary Care 452285

WORK E-MAIL Fiona.Almond@cdpct.nhs.uk Nicola.Hepple@ cdpct.nhs.uk Roger.Haydon@cddah.nhs.uk Katharine.Humby@ cdpct.nhs.uk Lynn.Maxwell@ cdpct.nhs.uk Melanie.Morgan@ cdpct.nhs.uk Jeff.Pearson@ cdpct.nhs.uk Pat.Rich@ cdpct.nhs.uk Wendy.Winter@ cdpct.nhs.uk

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APPENDIX 2 DIGNITY AT WORK POLICY – AUDIT PRO-FORMA Reference Number Description of Complaint Source of Report* Action Taken Outcome

*Source of Report – please note that this should be categorised as follows to maintain confidentiality: • • • Complainant Line Manager Colleague Trade Union Representative Other

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