Procedure for dealing with Harassment and Bullying by Staff

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1 Procedure for dealing with Harassment and Bullying by Staff APPROVED BY: South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group Quality and Governance Committee DATE Date of Issue: Version No: 1 Date of Review: Author:- NBT HR Department, Joanne Rowse, Head of Governance and Risk SG CCG 1

2 Document status: Current Version Date Comments Version Ratified by Quality and Governance Committee 2

3 CONTENTS Section Summary of Section Page Cont Contents 3 1 Procedures for Dealing with Harassment and Bullying by Staff 2 Informal Procedures for Dealing with Harassment and Bullying by Employees 3 Formal Procedure for Dealing with Harassment and Bullying Monitoring 13 5 Equal Opportunities/Equalities Impact Assessment 13 6 Review Date 13 Appendix Appendix A Appendix B Appendix C Appendix D Harassment, Bullying and Violence Definitions and Examples Support for Employees Involved in Incidents or Complaints of Harassment or Bullying Harassment and Bullying by Staff Confidential Monitoring Form Guidance on Completing Confidential Monitoring Forms

4 1. PROCEDURES FOR DEALING WITH HARASSMENT AND BULLYING BY STAFF 1.1. Introduction It is recognised that incidents of harassment and bullying sometimes occur, and that they damage the health, morale and well-being of those affected, as well as the organisation as a whole The CCG acknowledges that employees have the right to be concerned about the possibility of encountering harassment, bullying at work, and will therefore aim to deal with any incidents as quickly and effectively as possible This procedure provides guidance on the process that should be followed when there is an incident of violence, harassment or bullying at work The CCG regards all forms of violence, including harassment and bullying, as completely unacceptable. Such behaviour will not be tolerated. In the case of employees, it will be treated as misconduct that may result in disciplinary action 1.2 Scope This procedure relates to all forms of harassment and bullying at work by employees. This procedure does not cover harassment, bullying and violence by service users. This may be covered under the Vexatious complainants policy. This policy applies to all CCG employees. Others working on CCG premises, such as agency workers, contractors, and the employees of partner organisations will be informed of its contents and expected to comply. 1.3 Principles and Purpose of these procedures The CCG does not tolerate violence, including harassment and bullying, under any circumstances. This policy sets out the steps that the CCG will take to prevent incidents from occurring in the first place, and describes the way that any incidents that do occur will be dealt with The policy covers unacceptable behaviour at work by employees towards other employees These procedures set out the steps that should be taken to deal with incidents of harassment and bullying by employees. They aim to support employees and managers to deal with all issues as promptly and effectively as possible. 1.4 Definitions It is for individual employees to define whether behaviour is unacceptable and to take action within these procedures. All concerns will be taken seriously and dealt with promptly and effectively. 4

5 1.4.2 The following are definitions of violence, harassment and bullying: Violence Workplace violence is defined by the HSE as follows: Any incident where a person is abused, threatened or assaulted in circumstances related to their work. Harassment Harassment as applied to age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, religion or belief and race and ethnic and national origin is: Unwanted conduct that has the purpose or effect of violating people s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment. (ACAS) Bullying Bullying may be characterised as offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behaviour, an abuse or misuse of power through means intended to undermine, humiliate, denigrate or injure the recipient. (ACAS) More detailed descriptions of the types of behaviour that constitute violence, including harassment and bullying, can be found at Appendix A. 1.5 Employee Rights First and foremost, employees at all levels have the right not to be harassed, bullied or otherwise attacked or intimidated whilst at work. Employees have the right to decide what is inappropriate and unacceptable Employees have the right to expect that any concern or incident is taken seriously and dealt with quickly and effectively. 1.6 The Legal Framework Harassment and bullying, as well as violence, is unlawful in many circumstances. The following statutes apply: a) The Health and Safety at Work Act (1974), which requires the CCG to ensure, so far as reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of its employees. b) Sexual harassment, and the victimisation of anyone making a complaint of sexual harassment, may amount to discrimination under The Equality Act The Equality Act 2010 also gives protection against discrimination, harassment and victimisation on the grounds of sex, pregnancy, maternity leave, marriage or because someone intends to undergo, is undergoing or has undergone gender reassignment. From April 2008, the Act was extended to cover harassment related to sex by a third party, in addition to an employee. 5

6 c) Racial harassment, and the victimisation of anyone making a complaint of racial harassment, may amount to discrimination under The Equality Act The Act gives a right to protection from harassment on the grounds of race and ethnic or national origin. d) Harassment on the grounds of impairment, and the victimisation of anyone making a complaint of harassment on the grounds of impairment, may amount to discrimination under The Equality Act 2010). e) Under The Criminal Justice and Public Order Act (1994) and The Protection from Harassment Act (1997), harassment, including racial harassment, is also a criminal offence. Wherever necessary the CCG will report the matter to the local police. f) The Equality Act 2010 imposes a duty on the CCG to monitor incidents of harassment by racial group. As well as doing this, the CCG will monitor incidents by gender, age, and disability in order to identify whether particular groups are adversely affected, and take action accordingly. g) The Equality Act 2010 gives protection against discrimination, harassment and victimisation on the grounds of sexual orientation. h) The Equality Act 2010 gives protection against discrimination, harassment and victimisation on the grounds of religion or belief. i) The Equality Act 2010 gives protection against discrimination, harassment and victimisation on the grounds of age. 1.7 Help and Support Employees can ask for help and support from a wide range of people including their line manager (or their managers manager), Human Resources Advisor (provided by North Bristol Trust s Ask HR function), Occupational Health or Counselling Service. Further information about the help and support they can provide is detailed in Appendix B The above will be able to help by providing a range of support including; advice on how to prevent problems arising; practical support on how to stop harassment and bullying happening, representation for staff involved in formal proceedings; and support in dealing with the effects on physical and mental health of harassment and bullying A list of employee, managerial, and CCG responsibilities, in relation to bullying and harassment at work, can be found in the accompanying Zero Tolerance Policy. 1.8 Dealing with incidents of harassment and bullying So far as possible and in the first instance, harassment and bullying can and should be dealt with informally, locally and as quickly as possible. In the 6

7 majority of cases, employees will simply want the offensive behaviour to stop as soon as possible, and it is preferable to tackle incidents quickly and informally Formal procedures should ideally therefore only be applied once the informal steps have been exhausted. 1.9 Consultation This policy and procedure has been developed in consultation with the CCG Policy Review Group and with North Bristol Trust who provide the HR function for the CCG. 2 INFORMAL PROCEDURES FOR DEALING WITH HARASSIMENT AND BULLYING BY EMPLOYESS 2.1 Informal action that employees can take If an employee feels that they are being harassed or bullied, they should consider taking action using one or more of the following informal methods: Seek immediate advice and support. Good sources of advice and support include managers, Human Resources Advisors via NBT Ask HR, Occupational Health and the Counselling Service. It is vital employees do not keep their problems to themselves. Full descriptions of these services are set out in Appendix B. Make clear records of all incidents at the time that they arise. Write down the date, time and place of incidents, and note the details of anything that was said or done. Note the details of who was involved, including anyone witnessing the behaviour. This information may be useful at a later stage if problems continue. Politely and calmly ask the harasser to stop, making it very clear that their behaviour is unwelcome. It is recognised that this can be a very difficult step to take, so it is recommended that employees should take advice and support before taking this course of action, agreeing with the advisor a way of approaching the harasser. Notes of any conversation should also be kept. Write a letter to the harasser. The letter should be polite, but clear about what has happened, and should state clearly that the desired outcome is for the harassment to stop. A copy of the letter should be kept. Where the methods described above do not work, employees may decide to make a formal complaint, as described in section 3. Ideally, however, this should be discussed with the line manager first. If the alleged harasser is the line manager, employees should speak to the next in line manager. Employees may be accompanied by a work colleague, or trade union representative if they wish. In the first instance, the manager will also try informal methods of resolving the situation as detailed in the following section. 7

8 2.2 Informal Action that Managers can take There are a number of informal methods that may be appropriate for a line manager to take. They include the following: Suggesting that employees access support and guidance from sources such as Occupational Health or HR as appropriate Supporting the employee to approach the alleged harasser to ask for the behaviour to stop Approaching the alleged harasser on the employee s behalf, with their permission Following on from the above, confirming in writing to the alleged harasser the standards of behaviour which are required and the consequences of failure to achieve the standards Discussing any training needs with the alleged harasser, this may support them in changing their behaviour Discussing training and support with the employee and helping to arrange any training it is agreed may be useful. Examples would be assertiveness training and communication skills training Considering other informal options such as team building, conflict resolution or mediation by suitably qualified and experienced staff Line managers should complete a Harassment and Bullying Confidential Monitoring Form (see Appendix C) in relation to each series of incidents that they become aware of, and also keep notes of any meetings or action they have taken informally. Details regarding the completion of the form and keeping records are provided in 2.3 below There may be situations in which the line manager decides it is necessary to take formal action in order to meet the CCG s duty to safeguard the health, safety and well-being of employees even where the employee prefers the matter to be dealt with informally. In these circumstances the manager should explain their reasons for taking this course of action clearly and carefully to the affected employee. Examples would be serious incidents, or where there have been repeated incidents of unacceptable behaviour, despite efforts to address it informally Managers should seek the advice and support of the Human Resources Department when deciding the most appropriate course of action to follow. However, Human Resources staff would not normally attend meetings during the informal process unless it is with the express knowledge and consent of all involved. Where a member of the Human Resources Department does attend a meeting, their role is to provide 8

9 advice and support to all parties, and to help to resolve the situation to the satisfaction of everyone. 2.3 Keeping Records Confidential Monitoring Form The CCG keeps records of the number of alleged incidents of harassment and bullying, including those raised informally. A confidential monitoring form has been developed for this purpose, and is attached to these Procedures at Appendix C. The form does not name the individual raising the concern, or the individual complained about. It contains details of the gender, ethnic origin, age and department of the individual who raises the concern, so that the CCG can identify which groups and departments appear to be particularly 'at risk' (although complainants can ask for these details to be omitted if they feel they would identify them). NBT HR will provide the CCG with an annual report of any incidents which were raised with them Records of Meetings/Action taken In the case of issues raised informally with managers or Human Resources staff, no record will be kept on the alleged offender s personnel file. However, it is recommended that managers advise employees to make their own notes of incidents and meetings in case these are needed at a later date. Managers and Human Resources staff should keep their own notes of the circumstances and any action taken. 3. FORMAL PROCEDURE FOR DEALING WITH HARASSMENT AND BULLYING Please note: Before invoking this formal procedure, the informal approaches should be considered. It is also expected that you will take advice from an appropriate source When to use the formal procedure The formal procedure should be used when: informal means of dealing with harassment and bullying have been unsuccessful and problems are still occurring; or an incident is so serious that an employee considers that it is appropriate to make a formal complaint immediately. The employee should discuss this first with an appropriate person e.g. their manager, HR or an incident is so serious that the manager considers that it warrants a formal investigation immediately. In this instance, managers should consult with a Human Resources Advisor first. 9

10 3.2 Making a formal compliant A formal complaint should be made in writing and addressed to the manager (or next- in-line manager if the line manager is the subject of the complaint). If your complaint is about your Line Manager, your complaint should be addressed to the next logical senior manager e.g. Head of Department or Director of Department. These should not be addressed direct to the Chief Officer as this role may be required to address any appeals The letter should make it clear that it is a formal complaint under the CCG s Procedures for Dealing with Harassment and Bullying by Staff. It should contain details of the complaint, including dates, times and descriptions of incidents. The letter should be marked confidential and preferably delivered by hand If the complaint is about the Chief Officer, this should be reported to the Clinical Chair and vice versa. At this stage they will also involve NHS England in the dispute. 3.3 Responding to a formal complaint The manager will: Immediately give a copy of the letter of complaint to a Human Resources Advisor via the Ask HR function. Respond in writing as soon as possible and within five working days, acknowledging receipt of the complaint, and stating that it will be investigated in line with the Investigating [Employment] Complaints and Allegations Policy and Procedure. Discuss the complaint with a member of the Human Resources Department and arrange for an investigation to take place. Ensure that the employee who has made the complaint is fully aware of the process that will be followed and are aware of the support that is available to them. Depending on the circumstances, will meet with the employee to review the action that has already been taken, and to establish whether any further options remain for informal resolution. Ensure that both the complainant and the alleged offenders rights to privacy and confidentiality are maintained as far as possible in accordance with point 3.4 below. Inform the alleged offender and all witnesses that they consider that a formal investigation is necessary. 10

11 3.4 Privacy and Dignity The right of all parties to privacy and confidentiality will be respected as far as possible. However, it must be accepted that those directly involved will need to discuss the matter with people able to give them support and advice. The matter should only be discussed on a genuine need to know basis. 3.5 The Investigation Full details of the Investigation process are set out in the Investigating [Employment] Complaints and Allegations Policy and Procedure All parties have the right to privacy and confidentiality so far as possible (see 3.4 above) All parties are entitled to a full and fair opportunity to give their version of events and also have the right to full information about the process to be followed All parties including witnesses have the right throughout the process to representation from trade union representatives or a work colleague. 3.6 Temporary Redeployment during the investigation Temporary redeployment of one or both parties may be considered under this procedure. Normally, it is only appropriate for the alleged offender to be redeployed. Re-deploying the complainant may be construed as victimisation. There may, however, be circumstances in which the complainant wishes to be moved, and this should be facilitated if appropriate. Redeployment of either party may not be possible and therefore will be considered on a case by case basis. 3.7 The Investigation Report The manager receiving the report must consult with a relevant senior manager and member of the Human Resources Department when deciding whether to adopt the recommendations made. Once a decision is made, the necessary action / arrangements will then be initiated and all parties will be informed as appropriate Point 3.8 below sets some of the potential recommendations following an investigation. 3.8 Possible Recommendations A range of potential recommendations are set out below. This list is not exhaustive: Recommendation to proceed to a disciplinary hearing If the Investigating Officer upholds a complaint, it is likely that they will recommend a formal hearing in accordance with the Disciplinary 11

12 Procedure. If the manager receiving the report agrees with the recommendation then these proceedings should be started, with the support of the CCG s Human Resources Department The CCG s Disciplinary Procedure will be followed from this point. Please refer to the Disciplinary Procedure (Section 9 Formal Hearings). No disciplinary hearing recommended Parties remain working together The panel may decide not to uphold the complaint, or there may be insufficient evidence on which to make a decision. In these cases, the panel will not recommend a disciplinary hearing. However, it is likely that a range of recommendations will still need to be made. These are likely to cover: The arrangements that should be made to restore a positive working relationship between the two parties. The arrangements that should be made to monitor the situation. Training implications for the parties involved and/or wider team. The support required by the parties involved (e.g. counselling, mediation, further meetings with the manager). Recommendation that the parties are separated: In circumstances where it is clear that the working relationship has irretrievably broken down, consideration will be given to permanent redeployment of one or both parties where possible. Investigation concludes that the complaint is malicious: Such situations are very rare but not unheard of. In these circumstances, the investigating officer may decide to recommend disciplinary action against the complainant. 3.9 Recording and monitoring investigations If a complaint leads to disciplinary action, the provisions of the disciplinary procedure should be followed in relation to keeping, and subsequently removing, the record from the personnel file If the outcome is inconclusive, no record will be kept on the alleged offenders personnel file, but records relating to the investigation will be kept within the Human Resources Department. These records should be kept throughout the period of employment of the employee and for 12 months following their departure Either party has the right to invoke the CCG s Grievance Procedure if they consider that the formal procedure set out above has not been applied or followed correctly, and they consider that this influenced the outcome of the investigation. 12

13 4 MONITORING AND REVIEW 4.1 Audit The CCG will always aim to achieve a decrease in the number of reported cases of harassment and bullying as well as an increase in the level of confidence that employees have in the CCGs ability to deal with incidents All those responsible for providing advice and support to those affected by harassment and bullying should complete a confidential monitoring form in relation to each series of incidents of harassment and bullying. A sample form is attached to these procedures at Appendix C. Copies are also available from the Human Resources Department. Completed forms should be sent to the CCG Human Resources Department, so that reports can be prepared annually and conclusions reached about what further measures are required in order to tackle harassment and bullying within the CCG. 5. EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES/EQUALITIES IMPACT ASSESSMENT 5.1 An Equality Impact Assessment has been completed for this policy and procedure and it does not marginalise or discriminate minority groups. 6. REVIEW DATE 6.1 This policy and procedure will be reviewed after 2 years, or earlier at the request of either staff or management side, or in light of any changes to legislation or National Guidance. 13

14 Harassment, bullying and violence - Definitions and Examples APPENDIX A The CCG s definitions of harassment, bullying and violence are set out in its Zero Tolerance Policy. They are repeated here with more detailed descriptions of the types of behaviour that constitute them. Violence Workplace violence is defined by the HSE as follows: Any incident where a person is abused, threatened or assaulted in circumstances related to their work. Harassment Harassment as applied to age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, religion or belief and race and ethnic and national origin is: Unwanted conduct that has the purpose or effect of violating people s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment. (ACAS) Bullying May be characterised as offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behaviour, an abuse or misuse of power through means intended to undermine, humiliate, denigrate or injure the recipient. Bullying -vs- legitimate management It is important to note that there is a clear distinction between bullying as described above and which is not acceptable and behaviour which is fully justified and therefore not bullying. For example, bullying is not a legitimate instruction to complete a task by a reasonable deadline; a justified admonishment in private for poor performance or conduct; or the instigation of disciplinary action where this is justified in all the circumstances and in accordance with CCG procedures. Unacceptable behaviour may include, but is not restricted to the following:- Spreading malicious rumours, or insulting someone (particularly on the grounds of age, race, sex, disability, sexual orientation and religion or belief). Copying information that is critical about someone to others who do not need to know. Indicating or demeaning someone picking on them or setting them up to fail. Exclusion or victimization. Unfair treatment. Overbearing supervision or other misuse of power or position. 14

15 Unwelcome sexual advances touching, standing too close, display of offensive materials, asking for sexual favours, making decisions on the basis of sexual advances being accepted or rejected. Making threats or comments about job security without foundation. Deliberately undermining a competent worker by overloading and constant criticism. Preventing individuals progressing by intentionally blocking promotion or training opportunities. Bullying and harassment are not necessarily face to face, they may be by written communications, visual images (for example pictures of a sexual nature or embarrassing photographs of colleagues), electronic mail and phone. 15

16 APPENDIX B Support for Employees Involved in Incidents or Complaints of Harassment or Bullying The CCG will ensure that employees involved in incidents or complaints of harassment or bullying have access to an appropriate range of support. Support available includes: advice on how to prevent problems arising; practical support in how to deal with incidents; representation for staff involved in formal proceedings; and support in dealing with the effects on physical and mental health of harassment and bullying. Support is available from the following sources: Line Managers Line managers can play an important role in helping employees to deal with any incidences of harassment and bullying that they may be experiencing. To support this, the CCG will provide information, support and advice to managers in how to prevent and deal with harassment. As described in these procedures, employees experiencing harassment or bullying from their line manager may speak to their manager s manager for support. Human Resources Staff Staff in the Human Resources department are also familiar with the contents of these procedures and the options available to employees for resolving any problems they may be experiencing. Human Resources staff will give you advice and support in complete confidence, helping you to find an effective solution that you are comfortable with. Occupational Health Service and associated counselling services The CCGs Occupational Health service, provided by NBT will be able to advise employees in relation to the effect of harassment or bullying on their physical or mental health, and suggest alternative means of support. Occupational Health may be able to refer employees to a counsellor, if available, or suggest that they see a General Practitioner. 16

17 Harassment & Bullying by staff confidential monitoring form (For statistical use only - see guidance overleaf) APPENDIX C Sex: 1. Male 2. Female Ethnic origin: 1. White British 2. White Irish 3. White Other 4. Mixed White/Black Caribbean 5. Mixed White/Black African 6. Mixed White/Asian 7. Mixed Any other mixed background 8. Asian Pakistani 9. Asian Indian 10. Asian Bangladeshi 11. Asian Other 12. Black Caribbean 13. Black African 14. Black Other 15. Chinese Staff group: CCG/Dept: Brief description of problem: Description of advice given or action taken: Form completed previously? Name of person completing form (i.e. Harassment Adviser, Manager etc): Date: 16. Any other background 1. Nursing & Midwifery 2. Medical 3. Managerial 4. Administration and Clerical 5. Ancillary 6. Allied Health Professional 7. Other 1. Yes (please give details)* 2. No If a confidential monitoring form has already been completed in connection with this case of harassment or bullying, please give the approximate date and the name of the person who completed the form. 17

18 APPENDIX D GUIDANCE ON COMPLETING CONFIDENTIAL MONITORING FORMS 1 The CCG keeps records of the number of cases of harassment and bullying that occurs amongst employees. 2 Note that a case might be made up of several separate incidents. We are not required to keep count of each individual incident. Forms should be completed and returned to Human Resources at the end of a case i.e. when it appears that the problem has been resolved. 3 The form should be completed by those in the CCG who provide advice or support to staff in relation to dealing with harassment and bullying from colleagues or managers i.e. Line managers Human Resources staff Occupational Health Staff 4 The information is required for statistical purposes only, so that the CCG and NBT HR can monitor the number of incidents taking place, and set targets for reductions in the future. The information will not be used to identify the individuals involved. 5 The information on gender, age, ethnicity, staff group and directorate is required to help the CCG identify whether particular groups are at risk of harassment or bullying, so that remedial action (targeted training for example) can be taken. 6 Where staff are uncomfortable about the form being completed, it is their right to ask for some or all of the information about them or their concern to be withheld. 18

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