Dignity at Work Policy

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1 Dignity at Work Policy Contents page: 1. Our commitment 1 2. Objectives 2 3. Key contact 2 4. Scope 2 5. What is bullying, harassment and victimisation? 3 6. Examples of bullying or harassment 4 7. Zero tolerance 4 8. What can I do to help stop bullying and harassment? 4 9. What should I do if I think I am being bullied or harassed? What happens if I am accused of bullying or harassment? Malicious allegations and false statements Monitoring and review Further information Associated policies 7 1. Our commitment Lifetime is committed to creating a work environment free of discrimination, harassment and bullying, where everyone is treated with dignity and respect. We will not tolerate bullying and harassment of 1

2 any kind and will investigate all allegations, taking disciplinary action where appropriate. We will also not tolerate victimisation of a person making allegations in good faith; this is a disciplinary offence. Harassment and bullying can have very serious consequences for people who are affected by bullying as well as our company. Severe cases of harassment and bullying can even lead to mental illness and suicide. Those found guilty of harassment or bullying may face disciplinary penalties, up to and including dismissal and could be personally liable to pay compensation in legal claims. Serious harassment may also be a criminal offence. 2. Objectives This policy explains our approach to bullying, harassment and victimisation and explains what you should do if you feel that you or someone else is being subjected to bullying or harassment. It also provides you with guidance of what would happen if someone complained about your behaviour. Our Equality and Diversity Policy provides further explanation on what constitutes unlawful discrimination. 3. Key contact Kasha Lozinska-Sheridan, HR Adviser dl: ) Jenny Collins, HR Adviser dl: ) 4. Scope This policy covers bullying and harassment of and by managers, employees, contractors, agency staff and anyone else engaged to work at Lifetime, whether by direct contract with us or otherwise. The policy covers bullying and harassment in the workplace and in any work-related setting outside the workplace, e.g. business trips and work-related social events. If the complainant or alleged harasser is not employed by Lifetime, e.g. if the worker's contract is with an agency, this policy will apply with any necessary modifications. As we cannot dismiss the worker we would instead require the agency to remove him or her, if appropriate after the investigation. If one of our learners complains about the alleged bullying or harassment by one of our employees, we will fully investigate the matter under this policy and if found guilty of such behaviour he or she may face disciplinary action. If the alleged harasser is our learner then the matter will be fully investigated under our Learner Disciplinary Policy and if the allegation is upheld, the learner may face disciplinary action up to and including expulsion from the course. 2

3 5. What is bullying, harassment and victimisation? Bullying is offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behaviour, and/or an abuse or misuse of power that is meant to undermine, humiliate or injure the person on the receiving end. Harassment is unwanted conduct, related to one of the protected characteristics 1 that: Has the purpose or effect of violating person s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for that person, or Is reasonably considered by that person to have the effect of violating his or her dignity or of creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for him or her. It does not matter whether or not this effect was intended by the person responsible for the conduct. Conduct may be harassment whether or not the person behaving in that way intends to offend. Something intended as a "joke" may offend another person as different people find different things acceptable. Everyone has the right to decide what behaviour is acceptable to him or her and to have his or her feelings respected by others. Behaviour which any reasonable person would realise would be likely to offend will be harassment without the recipient having to make it clear in advance that behaviour of that type is not acceptable to him or her. It may not be so clear in advance that some other forms of behaviour would be unwelcome to, or could offend, a particular person, e.g. certain "banter". In these cases, first-time conduct which unintentionally causes offence will not be harassment but it will become harassment if the conduct continues after the recipient has made it clear, by words or conduct, that such behaviour is unacceptable to him or her. Nevertheless, a single incident can be harassment if it is sufficiently serious. The unwanted conduct would also be harassment if the person is subjected to it because of being perceived to have any of the protected characteristics or being associated with a person who has any of the protected characteristics. Bullying or harassment will constitute unlawful discrimination where it relates to one of the protected characteristics. Our Equality and Diversity Policy gives you further details on protected characteristics and what constitutes unlawful discrimination. Third party harassment includes circumstances where a person is subjected to unwanted conduct from a third party, such as a client or customer. If you feel that you have been bullied or harassed by customers, suppliers, vendors or visitors, please report any such behaviour to your manager or HR team who will take appropriate action. 1 Which are : age, sex, gender reassignment, race (which includes colour, nationality and ethnic or national origins), disability, sexual orientation, religion or belief, marriage or civil partnership. 3

4 Victimisation is treating someone less favourably than other people because they have, in good faith, made a complaint (whether formal or otherwise) about bullying or harassment. They may have made the complaint on behalf of themselves or have supported or given evidence for someone else. If a complaint is made in good faith then the complainant has the right not be victimised. 6. Examples of bullying or harassment Bullying and harassment includes misconduct which is physical, verbal or non-verbal, e.g. by letter or (so-called "flam "). Our Equality and Diversity Policy explains further what is unlawful discrimination. Please contact member of the HR team if you would like more information about the unacceptable behaviour covered by this policy. 7. Zero tolerance All bullying, harassment and victimisation are misconduct and constitute a disciplinary offence, which will be dealt with under our Disciplinary Policy. Bullying or harassment can also be a gross misconduct, which can lead to dismissal without notice. Serious bullying or harassment may amount to other civil or criminal offences, e.g. a civil offence under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 and criminal offences of assault. 8. What can I do to help stop bullying and harassment? We all have a responsibility to help create and maintain a work environment free of bullying and harassment. Our managers have a particular responsibility to set a good example by their own behaviour and intervene in and report any incident of bullying or harassment that they witness. You can do this by being aware of your own behaviour, treating others with dignity and respect and taking a stand if you think inappropriate jokes or comments are being made. Please report any harassment or bullying to your manager or the HR team. 9. What should I do if I think I am being bullied or harassed? You may be able to sort out matters informally by having an informal discussion with the person about their unwelcome or upsetting behaviour. If you feel you would like help from someone to approach the person then you can ask your manager, a member of the HR team or a work colleague. One of these people could make an initial approach on your behalf. When the person is told of the behaviour that you find offensive or unwelcome and that you would like it to stop immediately, you should keep a note of what is said and done and the date. 4

5 If an informal approach does not resolve matters, or you think the situation is too serious to be dealt with informally, you can make a formal complaint by using our Grievance Policy. In the case of grievances about bullying or harassment, the normal grievance procedure is modified so that you can choose whether to raise a grievance with your manager or directly with the HR team. We will ensure that you can bring your complaint in the first instance to someone of your own sex, if you so choose. In very serious cases, when a criminal offence may have been committed, you may wish to report matters to the police. If requested the HR team may arrange for someone to accompany you to the police. All complaints will be investigated promptly and, if appropriate, disciplinary proceedings will be brought against the harasser. All complaints of this nature will be dealt with sensitively and as confidentially as possible. Investigation of allegations will normally require limited disclosure on a "need to know" basis. Wherever possible, we will try to ensure that you and the alleged harasser are not required to work together whilst the complaint is under investigation. This could involve giving you the option of remaining at home on special leave, if you wish. In a serious case, the alleged harasser may be suspended whilst investigation and any disciplinary proceedings are underway. If your complaint is upheld, and the person found to have bullied or harassed you remains in our employment, every effort will be made to ensure wherever possible, that you do not have to continue to work alongside the harasser, if you do not wish to. We will discuss the available options with you. If your complaint is not upheld, the HR team will support you, the alleged harasser and your manager in making arrangements for you both to continue or resume working and to help repair working relationships. 10. What happens if I am accused of bullying or harassment? If someone approaches you informally about your behaviour, do not dismiss the complaint out of hand because you were only joking or think the complainant is being too sensitive. Remember that different people find different things acceptable and everyone has the right to decide what behaviour is acceptable to him or her and to have his or her feelings respected by others. You may have offended someone without intending to. If that is the case, the person concerned may be content with an explanation and an apology from you and an assurance that you will be careful in future not to behave in a way that you now know may cause offence. Provided that you do not repeat the behaviour which has caused offence this may well be the end of the matter. If a formal complaint is made about your behaviour, this will be fully investigated and we may bring disciplinary proceedings, if appropriate. You will have the right to be informed of the allegations against 5

6 you and to put your side of the story and to be accompanied to formal disciplinary meetings by a work colleague of your choice. Please see our Disciplinary Policy if you would like to read more about the procedure and your rights. Some types of bullying or harassment may constitute unlawful discrimination and allegations may give rise to the possibility of other civil claims or criminal proceedings against you, which would proceed independently of our disciplinary proceedings. You could be personally liable to pay compensation to the complainant if a successful claim in the employment tribunal or other courts was brought against you. If the complaint against you is upheld, on a balance of probabilities, a disciplinary penalty may be imposed up to and including dismissal, having regard to the seriousness of the offence and all relevant circumstances. If the complaint is upheld, but you are not dismissed, we may decide to transfer you to another post. If the complaint against you is not upheld, the HR team will support you, the complainant and your manager(s) in making arrangements for you both to continue or resume working and to help repair working relationships. If either of you wish to, we will also consider making arrangements to avoid you and the complainant having to continue to work alongside each other. If the complaint is not upheld and we have good grounds for believing that it was not made in good faith, we will consider taking disciplinary action against the person making the false complaint. 11. Malicious allegations and false statements Unfounded allegations of bullying or harassment for malicious reasons will be investigated and dealt with under our Disciplinary Policy and may be serious enough to constitute gross misconduct resulting in summary dismissal. Where a witness is found to have deliberately misled an investigation, this could be treated as a disciplinary offence. 12. Monitoring and review This policy will be monitored periodically by Lifetime to judge its effectiveness and will be updated in accordance with changes in the law. 13. Further information If you require any additional support or advice, please contact a member of the HR Team. Further information can be found from the following sources: 6

7 Equality and Human Rights Commission Direct Gov ACAS Stonewall Associated policies Equality and Diversity Policy Grievance Policy Disciplinary Policy 7

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