The purpose of this policy is to ensure that all staff are treated and treat others with dignity and respect, free from harassment and bullying. All staff should take the time to ensure they understand what types of behaviour are unacceptable under this policy.
This policy applies to all employees, freelance workers and contractors, consultants and contributors. The policy also covers harassment or bullying which occurs both in and out of the workplace, such as on business trips or at events or work-related social functions.
Staff must treat colleagues and others with dignity and respect, and should always consider whether their words or conduct could be offensive. Even unintentional harassment or bullying is unacceptable.
We will take allegations of harassment or bullying seriously and address them promptly and confidentially where possible. Harassment or bullying by an employee will be treated as misconduct under our Disciplinary Procedure. In some cases, it may amount to gross misconduct leading to summary dismissal.
The Equality Act 2010 prohibits harassment related to age, disability, gender reassignment, marital or civil partner status, pregnancy or maternity, race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation.
The Protection from Harassment Act 1997 also makes it unlawful to pursue a course of conduct which you know or ought to know would be harassment, which includes causing someone alarm or distress.
Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 staff are entitled to a safe place and system of work.
Individual members of staff may in some cases be legally liable for harassment of colleagues or third parties, and may be ordered to pay compensation by a court or employment tribunal.
Harassment is any unwanted physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct which has the purpose or effect of violating a person’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for them. A single incident can amount to harassment.
It also includes treating someone less favourably because they have submitted or refused to submit to such behaviour in the past.
Unlawful harassment may involve conduct of a sexual nature (sexual harassment), or it may be related to age, disability, gender reassignment, marital or civil partner status, pregnancy or maternity, race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation. Harassment is unacceptable even if it does not fall within any of these categories.
Harassment may include, for example:
- unwanted physical conduct or “horseplay”, including touching, pinching, pushing, grabbing, brushing past someone, invading their personal space, and more serious forms of physical or sexual assault;
- unwelcome sexual advances or suggestive behaviour (which the harasser may perceive as harmless), and suggestions that sexual favours may further a career or that a refusal may hinder it;
- continued suggestions for social activity after it has been made clear that such suggestions are unwelcome;
- sending or displaying material that is pornographic or that some people may find offensive (including e-mails, text messages, video clips and images sent by mobile phone or posted on the internet);
- offensive or intimidating comments or gestures, or insensitive jokes or pranks;
- mocking, mimicking or belittling a person’s disability;
- racist, sexist, homophobic or ageist jokes, or derogatory or stereotypical remarks about a particular ethnic or religious group or gender;
- outing or threatening to out someone as gay or lesbian; or
- ignoring or shunning someone, for example, by deliberately excluding them from a conversation or a workplace social activity.
A person may be harassed even if they were not the intended “target”. For example, a person may be harassed by racist jokes about a different ethnic group if they create an offensive environment for them.
Bullying is offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behaviour involving the misuse of power that can make a person feel vulnerable, upset, humiliated, undermined or threatened. Power does not always mean being in a position of authority, but can include both personal strength and the power to coerce through fear or intimidation.
Bullying can take the form of physical, verbal and non-verbal conduct. Bullying may include, by way of example:
- shouting at, being sarcastic towards, ridiculing or demeaning others;
- physical or psychological threats;
- overbearing and intimidating levels of supervision;
- inappropriate and/or derogatory remarks about someone’s performance;
- abuse of authority or power by those in positions of seniority; or
- deliberately excluding someone from meetings or communications without good reason.
Legitimate, reasonable and constructive criticism of a worker’s performance or behaviour, or reasonable instructions given to workers in the course of their employment, will not amount to bullying on their own.
Staff should disclose any instances of harassment or bullying of which they become aware to the Director of Production.
If you are being bullied or harassed, you should initially consider raising the problem informally with the person responsible, if you feel able. You should explain clearly to them that their behaviour is not welcome or makes you uncomfortable. If this is too difficult or embarrassing, you should speak to the Director of Production, who can provide confidential advice and assistance in resolving the issue formally or informally.
If you are not certain whether an incident or series of incidents amount to bullying or harassment, you should initially contact the Director of Production informally for confidential advice.
If informal steps have not been successful or are not possible or appropriate, you should follow the formal procedure set out below.
If you wish to make a formal complaint about bullying or harassment, you should do so under the Company’s Grievance Procedure.