Version: 6.0. Mutual Respect in the Workplace Policy. Name of Policy: Effective From: 12/12/2011

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1 Policy No: PP17a Version: 6.0 Name of Policy: Mutual Respect in the Workplace Policy Effective From: 12/12/2011 Date Ratified 05/12/2011 Ratified Human Resources Committee Review Date 01/12/2013 Sponsor Director of Health Development and Modernisation Expiry Date 04/12/2014 Withdrawn Date This policy supersedes all previous issues. Mutual Respect in the Workplace Policy v6

2 Version Control Version Release Author/Reviewer Ratified by/authorised by Date 1.0 April 2000 JCC 19/01/2000 Changes (Please identify page no.) 2.0 March JCC Jan Dec 2005 TPF 23/11/ Sept 2007 HR Committee 10/09/ /01/2010 HR Committee 21/12/ /12/2011 C Knox HR Committee 05/12/2011 Mutual Respect in the Workplace Policy v6 2

3 CONTENTS Page No. 1. Introduction Policy scope Aim of policy Duties - roles and responsibilities Definition of terms Promoting mutual respect in the workplace Understanding inappropriate behaviour Examples of harassment Victimisation Effects of harassment and bullying Valuing diversity Confidentiality Dealing with change What to do if you are unhappy about behaviour in the workplace Actions for managers and leaders to consider Training Equality and diversity Process for monitoring compliance with the policy Consultation and review of this policy Implementation of this policy References Mutual Respect in the Workplace Policy v6 3

4 1. Introduction Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust aims to ensure that all staff are treated with dignity and respect, and there is a working environment that values diversity and is free from harassment and bullying. All forms of harassment are unacceptable, and every member of staff has a duty to behave in an acceptable and appropriate manner towards others. The Trust has a legal duty of care to provide staff with a safe working environment. It also recognises that members of staff who are valued and respected, will in turn be better motivated to provide a respectful and responsive healthcare service to our patients. This policy supports the Trust's approach to equal opportunities discussed in the Vision for Gateshead and the Staff Charter. It draws attention to the many forms of harassment, bullying or other inappropriate behaviour and their serious adverse effects. It aims to sustain a working environment in which the dignity of individuals is respected by providing practical guidance to managers and members of staff. 2. Policy scope The policy applies to all members of staff, volunteers, contractors, agency staff and anyone else engaged to work in the Trust. It does not cover bullying, harassment or other inappropriate behaviour by patients, visitors or suppliers. The trust takes allegations of third party harassment very seriously. Members of staff should speak to their manager or refer to RM 10 Violence at Work Policy, or PP44 Domestic Abuse Policy. The workplace for the purpose of this policy includes work related settings off site such as training venues and work-related social events. Inappropriate behaviour can also occur during the use of , text or telephone calls and messages, or on social network sites. Complaints of harassment, bullying or other inappropriate behaviour can be dealt with formally or informally. Serious concerns may result in grounds for formal disciplinary action being considered, including dismissal in accordance with the Trust Disciplinary Policy (PP01). The Trust undertakes to treat all complaints with due respect, relevant confidentiality and fairness. At all stages those involved in a complaint must respect confidentiality at all times and not prejudice the situation in any way. An individual who makes a malicious claim of harassment or bullying may be dealt with in accordance with the Trust s Disciplinary Policy (PP01). There are potentially criminal offences that could occur and which would be outside the scope of this policy, for example assault or rape. Allegations of such crimes should immediately be reported to the police, unless there are very special circumstances. The police are responsible for pursuing any criminal investigation. The Head of Personnel should be informed immediately of such cases. Mutual Respect in the Workplace Policy v6 4

5 3. Aim of policy This policy aims to promote a working environment and culture in which differences are tolerated, harassment and bullying are known to be unacceptable, and where members of staff have the confidence to deal with inappropriate behaviour without fear of victimisation. This policy: Provides guidance to all members of staff about their responsibilities towards each other in the workplace; Enables staff to identify and understand what harassment and bullying is and raise awareness of effects of harassment and bullying;. Promotes the process members of staff can use to raise and address concerns should they believe they have been subjected to unwanted conduct which is offensive to them personally. Provides managers with guidance and access to support to enable them to promote a safe and healthy working environment. 4. Duties Roles and responsibilities The Trust Board The Trust will be responsible for promoting values and a culture where open and honest communication is encouraged between individuals, to help develop a safe and healthy working environment for all staff. The Chief Executive The Chief Executive is ultimately responsible for ensuring effective corporate governance within the organisation and therefore supports the Trust-wide implementation of this policy. The Personnel Department The Personnel Department is responsible for raising awareness of this policy through training, and the display of promotional material. They are responsible for giving advice and support to managers and staff to assist with informal or formal cases of harassment and bullying in the workplace. The OD & Training Department The OD and Training Department are responsible for ensuring data about workplace culture is available to managers and staff following the annual staff survey. They are responsible for providing assistance to teams to enable them to respond to data and develop appropriate stress risk assessments and action plans, and offer training and development. Managers Managers, and other members of staff who act in a leadership role, have a responsibility for setting the standards of acceptable behaviour expected of their staff. They can do this by setting a good example and treating all staff with dignity and respect. This includes acting with fairness and equality, and without discrimination. They are responsible for ensuring that staff are aware of the behaviour expected of them, and that unacceptable behaviour is challenged and corrected. Managers are expected to take appropriate remedial action where they are aware behaviour is not to an acceptable standard. Mutual Respect in the Workplace Policy v6 5

6 Members of staff Members of staff have a role to play in creating a work climate free from inappropriate behaviour. All members of staff have the right to be treated with dignity and respect. Members of staff are expected to comply with this policy and take appropriate action to ensure that inappropriate or offensive behaviour does not occur, including reporting incidents in accordance with this policy. Staff side representatives Staff side representatives are available to listen, accompany and support their members, and work with Harassment Advisors. They can also speak in confidence to managers or the Personnel Department to report general concerns. 5. Definition of terms The Equality Act (2010) describes different types of unlawful discrimination, and it also identifies the protected characteristics that are covered by legislation against discrimination. These are: Age Disability Gender Reassignment Marriage and Civil Partnership Pregnancy and Maternity Race Religion or Belief Sex Sexual Orientation Harassment is a form of discrimination. It is defined as the unwanted conduct related to a relevant protected characteristic, which has the purpose or effect of violating an individual s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for that individual. It can be carried out as repeated acts, but can also be a series of isolated incidents. Members of staff can complain of behaviour that they find offensive even if it is not directed at them, or they do not possess the relevant characteristic themselves, this is know as harassment of perception or harassment by association. Victimisation is a specific form of discrimination. It usually occurs where a person suffers a detriment or is treated less favourably than another as a result of a complaint, or evidence given about the behaviour of someone who has been harassing or discriminating against them or others. Bullying can be defined as offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behaviour, an abuse or misuse of power through means intended to undermine, humiliate, denigrate or injure the recipient. It can take many forms, including: Mainly psychological criticism, but can develop into something more physical; Competence bullying is mainly centred around the victim s skills, knowledge or ability; Accumulation bullying might be an accumulation of small incidents Mutual Respect in the Workplace Policy v6 6

7 Secrecy bullying tends to be carried out secretly in private Serial bullying may affect more than one person Control the complainant is often seen as a threat to the bully 6.0 Promoting mutual respect in the workplace 6.1 Understanding inappropriate behaviour Inappropriate behaviour can take many forms. It can range from extreme forms such as aggression and violence, to less obvious actions such as ignoring someone at work. It is not possible to list all forms. Members of staff should seek advice from their line manager, a Harassment Advisor, the Personnel Department, or their Staff Representative if they have any concerns or questions about what is or what is not acceptable behaviour. Unacceptable behaviour may include: Verbal and written harassment through jokes, ridicule, nicknames, offensive language etc. Spreading malicious rumours or gossip, or insulting someone Ridiculing or demeaning someone picking on them or setting them up to fail Exclusion, isolation, non-co-operation, deliberately ignoring someone, not inviting them to take part in social activities Overbearing supervision or other misuse of power or position Staring, leering, pestering, spying or obstructing people Unwelcome physical contact or sexual advances touching, standing too close, sexual assault Displaying offensive material such as posters or graffiti, using obscene gestures Deliberately undermining a competent worker by overloading, constant/public criticism, setting unrealistic deadlines, constantly undervaluing effort Public humiliation Misuse of power, service or status Swearing, shouting or pointing at an individual Posting inappropriate comments on social networking sites Sending or circulating offensive text messages 6.2 Examples of harassment Harassment can also take many forms, and a short description of some forms is included here. Again, this list is not exhaustive, and members of staff should seek advice from their line manager, the Personnel Department, Staff Representatives or Harassment Advisors. Sexual harassment can be defined as unwanted conduct of a sexual nature or other conduct based on gender, which is offensive to the recipient and affects the dignity or well being of men or women. It involves the use of power rather than personal relationships freely entered into and acceptable to those involved. It could involve: Mutual Respect in the Workplace Policy v6 7

8 Negative or stereotypical comments about the ability to work by one or other gender, Unwanted physical contact or demands for sexual favours, The worsening of conditions after a rejection of sexual advances, Unwelcome sexual remarks such as jokes, innuendo or teasing, The display of pin-ups, pornographic pictures, sexually suggestive subjects or offensive objects, Racial harassment can be defined as unwanted conduct of a racial nature, or other conduct based on race, colour, ethnic or national origin, or conduct which is offensive or which affects the dignity or well being of an individual. It could involve: Derogatory statements about national origin, racist language or jokes Racist graffiti or the display of racially offensive material, Physical attacks on individuals or their property because of their race or ethnicity, Racist messages. Offensive or abusive comments made by text message or on social networking sites Harassment on the grounds of sexual orientation can be defined as words, actions or other conduct which ridicules, intimidates or threatens individuals because of their sexual orientation, and which affects the dignity or well being of the individual. It can include: Offensive comments or homophobic language. Anti lesbian or gay jokes, gossip about someone s sexuality. Threatening to disclose or publicise someone s sexuality. Exclusion from social activities. 6.3 Victimisation Victimisation is a specific form of discrimination. It usually occurs where a person suffers a detriment or is treated less favourably than another as a result of a complaint, or evidence given about the behaviour of someone who has been harassing or discriminating against them or others. All members of staff are responsible for ensuring they do not victimise or retaliate against someone who has made a complaint or acted as a witness or support during an investigation. Managers are responsible for taking appropriate action to ensure that members of staff do not suffer victimization or retaliation. An individual who makes a malicious claim of harassment or bullying may be dealt with in accordance with the Trust s Disciplinary Policy (PP01). 6.4 Effects of harassment and bullying Many people have experienced a degree of harassment at some stage in their working lives. It is not the intention of the perpetrator but the deed itself and the impact upon the recipient which determines what constitutes harassment. Mutual Respect in the Workplace Policy v6 8

9 People react differently to harassment, and this can change over time. Some people cope by hiding their emotions and not showing how upset they are. In some situations people can try to avoid the person causing them concern, ignore the behaviour, or use humour to hide how they truly feel. Harassment and bullying can have the following effects on the recipient/complainant: fear, depression, stress, anxiety and panic attacks, which may lead to illness, increased absenteeism, an apparent lack of commitment, poor performance and even resignation. For an organisation, harassment and bullying can cause the following indirect costs: increased absenteeism, increased overtime, missed deadlines, increased accidents in the workplace, poor decision making, poor customer care, low morale, higher labour turnover, reduced productivity, lower efficiency and divided teams. 6.5 Valuing Diversity Differences in culture, attitudes and experience, or the misinterpretation of social signals, can mean that what is perceived by the person experiencing the behaviour as inappropriate, may be perceived by others as normal. It is important to be sensitive to the feelings and reactions of others. Members of staff are asked to consider the appropriateness of their behaviour and the affect it has on others. They are also expected to be prepared to adjust their behaviour if necessary. 6.6 Confidentiality All staff involved in reporting and dealing with allegations of bullying and harassment are expected to treat the matter with sensitivity and confidentiality. This means that they should not disclose any information unless they are acting in accordance with this policy. 6.7 Dealing with change A review by the Healthcare Commission on tackling bullying and harassment in an NHS trust it found that a proportion of what was reported by staff as bullying and harassment was in fact an adverse reaction to a merger and the consequent change programme that had been introduced. Managers should ensure they establish effective two-way communication with staff facing change in the workplace. This can help to ensure any misperceptions are identified and addressed. This is not to say that bullying and harassment do not happen during a change process, but rather to ensure that the process itself should not be seen as a form of bullying Reasonable and lawful requests from managers that have been communicated sensitively and effectively should not constitute bullying. 6.8 What to do if you are unhappy about behaviour in the work place? If you think you are being subjected to harassment or bullying in any form, do not feel that it is your fault or that you have to tolerate it. The aim of this policy is to seek to stop inappropriate behaviour where it occurs and to Mutual Respect in the Workplace Policy v6 9

10 assist all parties to work together in a professional and dignified manner. There are a number of options available to members of staff who are unhappy with the behaviour of people in the workplace: Talk to your line manager, supervisor or team leader Talk to your staff side representative Talk to a Harassment Advisor (see Dealing with Harassment and Bullying Policy PP17b for details). The Personnel Department can offer information about the Dealing with Harassment Policy, they can support managers to investigate and deal with inappropriate behaviour in the workplace. The Occupational Health Department, can help members of staff that feel they are suffering stress or their health and wellbeing is being affected in other ways. They can also offer access to a confidential counseling service. Learning and development can be provided for both those who have been the object of harassment or bullying claims and for those who have been bullied or harassed, for example, through coaching or assertiveness training. This can be accessed through the OD & Training Department. 6.9 Actions for managers and leaders to consider Members of staff who have responsibilities for managing or supervising staff can help to promote a healthy and safe working environment by: Setting a good example by treating individuals with dignity and respect. Being clear about the standards of behaviour expected from all members of staff. Understanding the Trust policies and making sure they are aware of harassment and bullying procedures. Being alert to unacceptable behaviour or behaviour which might cause offence, and taking appropriate informal and formal action. Incidents that are not serious, can sometimes be resolved by calling the individual aside and making them aware. Managers may refer to PP17b Dealing with Harassment and Bullying for support if the concern is more serious. Responding sensitively and supportively to reports of inappropriate behaviour in the workplace, providing clear advice and maintaining confidentiality. Treating members of staff accused of harassment and bullying fairly, remembering an accusation does not automatically indicate guilt. Monitoring the workplace environment to ensure there are no ongoing concerns or victimisation of individuals who raise concerns. Ensuring that members of staff are aware of the policy and sources of help and support. Considering whether OD & Training can offer support with learning and development. Mutual Respect in the Workplace Policy v6 10

11 7. Training Members of staff receive information about this policy when they commence employment, as part of their induction process. The policy is also available on the Trust intranet site, and is discussed during Mandatory Training. The Personnel Department are responsible for ensuring promotional material is widely displayed to raise awareness amongst both employees and workers. They will also be responsible for issuing briefings and communications to remind staff how they can access information about the policy. The Personnel Department is responsible for providing support to managers investigating allegations of harassment and bullying. Where necessary, formal training will be provided. 8. Equality and diversity This policy aims to promote equality of opportunity and eliminate unlawful discrimination, by helping to establish a positive working environment that respects dignity and diversity. It enables employees to raise concerns about inappropriate behaviour, and enable corrective action to challenge harassment, bullying and victimisation. In this way it supports a human rights approach and seeks to eliminate discrimination. The Trust is committed to ensuring that, as far as is reasonably practicable, the way we provide services to the public and the way we treat our staff reflects their individual needs and does not discriminate against individuals or groups on any grounds. This policy aims to ensure that no employee receives less favourable treatment on the grounds of a protected characteristic in accordance with the Equality Act (2010). This policy has been appropriately assessed. 9. Process for monitoring compliance with the policy This policy has been compiled in compliance with OP27 Policy for the development, management and authorisation of policies and procedures. There is an annual audit and review of the policy, and the findings are discussed by the Equality & Diversity Steering Group, and HR Committee. Standard / Monitoring and audit process/ issue Method By Committee Frequency The policy is promoted to raise staff awareness Review of training course content/materials and attendance Review of promotional materials including website information Personnel Department Equality & Diversity Steering Group Annual Mutual Respect in the Workplace Policy v6 11

12 Standard / process/ issue The Trust reviews data about harassment and bullying Monitoring and audit Method By Committee Frequency Training Manager Equality & Annual Diversity Steering Group Analysis of the staff survey data is undertaken and is made available to all managers and staff Report and presentation of staff survey data relating to harassment and bullying Joint Consultative Committee HR Committee Managers take steps to promote a healthy and safe working environment Stress risk assessments are produced Improving working lives action plans are produced OD & Training HR Committee Annual 10. Consultation and review This policy has been reviewed using data obtained from recent annual staff surveys. The views of Harassment Advisors and members of the Personnel Department who are involved with cases of harassment and bullying have been sough, together with those of managers and staff side representatives via the Heads of Service group, and the Joint Consultative Committee and Sub Committee (Policies and Procedures). 11. Policy implementation This policy will be circulated by the Trust Secretary as detailed in OP27 Policy for the development, management and authorisation of policies. The policy is promoted to members of staff and managers (see section 7 for details). The annual audit and review of this policy will include an evaluation of the training, awareness raising and promotional material used to raise awareness of this policy. 12. References Equality Act 2010 ACAS Guidelines Commssion Equality and Human Rights NHS Employers Guidance - Bullying & Harassment (2006) Protection from Harassment Act 1997 Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 Mutual Respect in the Workplace Policy v6 12

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