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NTW_HR_08 - Dignity and respect at Work Guidelines - v1

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					 Guidance for Dignity and
     Respect at Work


Guidelines for Managers and
        Supervisors




              Human Resources
              Department
              June 2007
                                                                            NTW(HR)08




                                 CONTENTS
                                                                      Page


Introduction                                                           3

What is Harassment                                                     3

What is Bullying                                                       4

What is Discrimination                                                  5

The Effects of Harassment, Bullying and Discrimination                  6

Supporting Informal Resolution                                         7

Formal Resolution                                                      9

How to prevent harassment, bullying and discrimination                 9




Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Trust – NTW(HR)08                                 2
Guidance for Managers and Supervisors – Dignity and Respect at Work
                                                                      NTW(HR)08

Introduction
People can sometimes find it difficult to discuss issues around dignity and
respect at work and more often that not this includes harassment, bullying and
discrimination. Managers have a responsibility to set standards of acceptable
behaviour and conduct and ensure that they themselves and the staff they
manage carry these out. This includes acting with fairness
and equality and without discrimination.

As a manager you will know that Northumberland Tyne and Wear NHS Trust
is striving towards being a model employer of which being an equal
opportunities employer is an integral part. The Trust is committed, with its
staff side partners, to providing an environment where staff are treated with
dignity and respect in all areas of their work.

It is the policy of the Trust to ensure that no employee or applicant receives
less favourable treatment on grounds of sex, sexual orientation, marital status,
race, religion, ethnic origin, age or disability or is disadvantaged by any
conditions or requirements which cannot be shown to be justified.

As ACAS states:

‘Bullying and harassment of any kind are in no-one’s best interest and
should not be tolerated in the workplace, but if you are being bullied or
harassed it can be difficult to know what to do about it’.

This document provides guidance for managers, supervisors and clinicians on
how to manage issues relating to dignity and respect at work, giving examples
of types of harassment, bullying and discrimination and what Managers can
do to deal effectively with the effects of these behaviours. A Managers
responsibility includes taking steps to prevent and eliminate any form of
harassment, bullying and discrimination or similar acts of unwanted behaviour
in accordance with these guidelines and the harassment and bullying policy.

What is harassment?
Harassment is any unwanted behaviour that is perceived to be intimidating,
unsolicited, embarrassing, offensive, affects a persons dignity at work, creates
a hostile working environment or fails to respect the rights and feelings of
others. Harassment can take many forms, and may be related to sex, age,
race, colour, disability, religion, sexuality, nationality, gender reassignment,
HIV status, trade union, other opinion or genuine beliefs or related to many
other personal characteristics.

Harassment can often be persistent, but a serious one off incident may also
constitute harassment. Harassment may be what is said or done by someone
to an individual or a group of individuals. Harassment takes place where the
actions or comments are viewed as demeaning and unacceptable to the


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Guidance for Managers and Supervisors – Dignity and Respect at Work
                                                                      NTW(HR)08

recipient. Harassment can even be something that someone overhears and
may not even be directed to them personally, but that is found to be offensive.

Some clear examples of harassment that as a manager you need to be aware
of are:
   •   Spreading malicious rumours
   •   Racist, sexist or homophobic jokes
   •   Exclusion or victimisation
   •   Unwelcome sexual advances
   •   Physical contact from touching to criminal assault
   •   Display of offensive material
   •   Unwelcome remarks about a person’s dress, appearance, race,
       gender, sexual orientation or marital status

Some examples of subtle harassment that as a manager you need to be
aware of are:
   •   Embarrassing comments
   •   Unfair allocation of work benefits
   •   Graffiti
   •   Pressure to participate in religious or political groups
   •   Irrelevant and unnecessary references to sex
   •   Intrusive or persistent questioning about a person’s racial or ethnic
       origin, their culture or religion

What is Bullying?
Bullying is offensive, intimidating, malicious, insulting or unwanted behaviour
that may undermine, humiliate or degrade someone. Bullying can often be
based upon unwarranted use of or abuse of authority and power. Some
bullying can be done very subtly to an employee. Bullying may also be how a
group of people interact with another person. For example through isolation,
exclusion, refusing to communicate with an employee, work with an employee
or can be refusing staff development opportunities.

Some examples of bullying that as a manager you need to be aware of are:
   •   Ridiculing someone
   •   Shouting or screaming at someone
   •   Setting someone up to fail
   •   Overbearing supervision
   •   Copying memos that are critical of someone to others who do not need
       to know
   •   Making threats or comments about job security without foundation
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Guidance for Managers and Supervisors – Dignity and Respect at Work
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   •   Undermining a competent employee through work overload and
       constant criticism
   •   Blocking promotion or training opportunities

Some examples of subtle bullying that as a manager you need to be aware of
are:
   •   Imposing menial tasks
   •   Refusing to delegate
   •   Constantly changing targets or guidelines
   •   Withholding information
   •   Supplying incorrect information
   •   Interfering with post and other communications
   •   Tampering with personal report marks or appraisals

There may be other forms of harassment and bullying that as a Manager you
identify, therefore the list of examples is intended to be a guide and not an
exhaustive list. It is important to also realise that bullying and harassment
may not necessarily happen in face-to-face communications but that it may
also occur in written communications, electronic (e) mail, phone calls, and
supervision methods.

What is Discrimination?
It is illegal to discriminate against people at work on the grounds of:

   •   Gender
   •   Race
   •   Disability
   •   Sexual orientation (introduced December 2003)
   •   Religion or belief (introduced December 2003)
   •   Age (December 2006)
   •   Being or not being a member of a trade union.

Discrimination is unequal or different treatment on the grounds of sex, race,
religion or belief, disability or sexual orientation without any fair reason for this
treatment. As a Manager you have a responsibility to provide equality and
fairness for all staff. As a Manager you are responsible for ensuring that all
staff, whether part-time, full-time or temporary, are treated fairly and with
dignity and respect. Selection for employment, promotion, training or any
other benefit will be based on aptitude and ability, and it is your responsibility
to help and encourage your staff to develop their full potential.




Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Trust – NTW(HR)08                                5
Guidance for Managers and Supervisors – Dignity and Respect at Work
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The Effects of Harassment, Bullying and
Discrimination
Harassment, bullying and discrimination can make people feel anxious and
humiliated, angry and frustrated. The stress, loss of self-confidence and self-
esteem which harassment, bullying and discrimination can cause may lead to
job insecurity, illness, absence from work, and poor work performance which
will impact on the overall department.

As a Manager you can support staff in dealing and resolving these concerns
from a number of confidential support services. Support Services include
Occupational Health, Staff counselling, Contact Officers, Human Resources
and Staff Side organisations. It is important to remember that staff can self
refer to the Occupational Health and staff counselling services at any time,
and that you can refer a member of staff who approaches you with any
concerns.


Bullying and Harassment can affect both the individual and the organisation.
Examples of how may include:

       For the organisation:

       Rising levels of absenteeism
       Premature ill health and retirement
       High levels of staff turnover
       Reduced productivity for victims and colleagues
       Cost of potential litigation
       Damage to reputation

       For the individual:

       Sleeplessness
       Lethargy
       Loss of appetite
       Migraines / severe headaches
       Mood swings
       Skin problems
       Anxiety
       Stress
       De motivation

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Guidance for Managers and Supervisors – Dignity and Respect at Work
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What action can staff take if they think they are
being bullied or harassed?
People who feel harassed, bullied and discriminated against often develop
their own ways of coping. As a result of this, sometimes other people do not
realise the impact their behaviour is having on others. Making someone
aware of the effect their behaviour is having may be enough to change it. If
staff are able to do this, encourage them to speak to the person/s affecting
them. They should explain clearly what behaviour is acceptable to them in the
future.

There is a range of support in dealing with inappropriate behaviour at work, or
in speaking to someone about his or her behaviour:

   •   Consulting the Trust policy and procedure on Harassment and Bullying
       in the Workplace
   •   Approaching your trade union, seeking information and advice from
       representatives who will also be able to support you
   •   Contact a Trust listener
   •   Contacting a member of the HR Department in confidence
   •   Speaking to the person’s line manager in confidence
   •   You may wish to speak to the Chaplaincy Service You may also wish to
       seek external support from a Citizens Advice Bureau or the Acas
       helpline (08457 47 47 47)

All these people can help deal with concerns informally or formally.

Supporting Informal Resolution:
If you are approached by a recipient of bullying, harassment or
discrimination, you should try to resolve the issue informally to the best
of your ability. Formal procedures can often be lengthy and distressing
for many involved.

You could…

   •   Arrange to see them as soon as possible, somewhere confidential and
       where they will feel comfortable.

   •   Actively listen, give them time to express their concerns. If necessary
       make a note about the key points of the conversation, these may be
       needed later.

   •   Advise them of Trust policy and procedure and possible course(s) of
       action open to them.

Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Trust – NTW(HR)08                              7
Guidance for Managers and Supervisors – Dignity and Respect at Work
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   •   Remember the recipient may simply want to talk things through without
       any further action being taken or they may feel that, having talked it
       through with you they would prefer to deal with the situation on their
       own.

   •   Ensure they have sufficient support if they want to deal effectively with
       the situation themselves, if they wish to deal with the alleged bully or
       harasser themselves.

   •   If they want to report the matter formally, ensure they receive guidance
       as to how to do this quickly.

   •   Maintain continuous contact with the recipient offering support, advice
       and guidance as requested. Where actions were agreed, ensure they
       were carried out, by all parties.

   •   Seek advice from the HR Department if you are unsure about how to
       deal with the situation, or if you feel the situation is not being resolved
       in an appropriate manner.

   •   Advise staff of formal support including Occupational Health and
       counselling services

If you are approached by someone who has been accused of bullying,
harassment or discrimination, you should:

   •   Arrange to see them as soon as possible, somewhere confidential and
       where they will feel comfortable.

   •   Actively listen, give them time to express their concerns. If necessary
       make a note about the key points of the conversation, these may be
       needed later.

   •   Provide advice, information and guidance.

   •   If necessary, offer information about what constitutes unacceptable
       behaviour.

   •   Advise them of the Trust policy and procedure and the possible
       course(s) of action which may be taken

   •   Advise staff of formal support including Occupational Health and
       counselling services




Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Trust – NTW(HR)08                                  8
Guidance for Managers and Supervisors – Dignity and Respect at Work
                                                                      NTW(HR)08

Formal Resolution:
If the situation is not resolved informally, then as a Manager, you need to be
aware of how to advise your staff to address their concerns through the formal
process. As a Manager you can consult the Trust policy Harassment and
Bullying in the Workplace. This policy may also need to be used in
conjunction with the Trust Grievance Procedure and the Trust Disciplinary
procedure.

Staff have the right at any time to make a formal complaint under any of the
above procedures. As a manager you may decide inappropriate behaviour
should be investigated under the Trust’ Disciplinary procedure even if the
employee has not made a formal complaint. This is one of the ways the Trust
ensures appropriate behaviour at work and complies with equal opportunities
and health and safety legislation.

Any formal complaint will be formally investigated, and a nominated
Investigating Officer will ensure that all staff involved are made aware of the
process and kept fully informed.

Staff may keep a confidential record of incidents, which can often be helpful
so that they can accurately recall what has been happening. Staff may want
to consider doing this whether or not they decide to make a formal complaint
and this can be used in an investigation.

All staff have a duty to behave appropriately at work. The Trust expects
managers to ensure the custom and practice in the workplace respects
people’s dignity. Bullying and harassment, as well as discrimination are a
disciplinary offence, and malicious or vexatious complaints can result in
disciplinary action.

You can contact the Human Resources department for further advice and
guidance.

How can you help prevent Harassment, Bullying
and Discrimination?
As a Manager, you can help prevent harassment, bullying and discrimination
from occurring within the Trust, by:

   •   Being aware of the different types of harassment, bullying and
       discrimination issues
   •   Ensuring that your own conduct as a Manager does not cause offence
       or misunderstanding
   •   Tackling and challenging any behaviour that constitutes harassment,
       bullying or discrimination at work, or by supporting other colleagues
       who are in that position.


Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Trust – NTW(HR)08                            9
Guidance for Managers and Supervisors – Dignity and Respect at Work
                                                                       NTW(HR)08

   •   Being aware that challenging any behaviour that constitutes
       harassment, bullying or discrimination at work does not always have to
       be left to the person being targeted or subjected to the behaviour
   •   Ensure that staff are made aware of the policies and procedures
       related to harassment, bullying, and discrimination and to ensure that
       staff attend appropriate training

Fair Firm Management or Bullying and
Harassment?
The differences between a manager who is firm but fair and a manager who is
bullying and harassing staff are often ambiguous. The Department for Work
and Pensions equality team have developed a framework to make clear
distinctions between the two managements styles.
(NHS Employers Guidance – Bullying and Harassment, April 2006)

            FIRM BUT FAIR                       BULLYING OR HARASSMENT

Consistent and fair                         Aggressive, inconsistent and unfair

Determined to achieve the best              Unreasonable and inflexible
results, but reasonable and flexible

Knows their own mind and is clear           Believes they are always right, has
about their own ideas, but willing to       fixed opinions, believes they know
consult with colleagues and staff           best and not prepared to value other
before drawing up proposals                 peoples opinions

Insists on high standards of service in     Insists on high standards of service
quality of and behaviour in the team        and behaviour but blames others if
                                            things go wrong

Will discuss in private any perceived       Loses temper, regularly degrades
deterioration before forming views or       people in front of others, threatens
taking action and does not apportion        official warnings without listening to
blame on others when things go              any explanation
wrong

Asks for peoples views, listens and         Tells people what is happening, does
assimilates feedback                        not listen




Further information?
Contact your HR or staff side representatives.




Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Trust – NTW(HR)08                                  10
Guidance for Managers and Supervisors – Dignity and Respect at Work

				
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