Dignity at Work Procedure

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1 Dignity at Work Procedure Human Resources

2 1 Purpose This procedure sets out a clear and transparent process to deal with complaints of harassment or bullying within the workplace. The University has developed a procedure to ensure that complaints are dealt with appropriately, in a sensitive and timely manner. 2 Application The objective of this procedure is to enable a satisfactory resolution of an issue to be achieved at the earliest possible stage. Wherever possible any issue raised should be settled through informal resolution. The formal stage of this procedure will not normally be invoked unless the seriousness of the complaint warrants it or attempts to resolve issues informally have been unsuccessful. 3 Support and Advice The following support is available to staff who wish to invoke this procedure: 3.1 Counselling The University provides a confidential counselling service for staff. This service offers a 24 hour telephone support service and face to face counselling sessions. Details of how to access the service can be found at Occupational Health Service A referral to occupational health can be requested, through the manager, by any member of staff who feels their health may potentially be adversely affected by circumstances at work. 3.3 Trade Union Representatives Trade unions representation may be sought by staff at formal meetings held under this procedure. 3.4 Dignity at Work Advisors The University has a network of Advisors who provide a confidential listening service to staff who believe they are being harassed or bullied, to clarify the options open to them and to assist them in resolving the matter informally where possible. Contact details for the Dignity at Work Advisers are available on the HR website 4 The Informal Procedure 4.1 Any member of staff who believes they are being harassed is encouraged to resolve the issue informally wherever possible. In many cases, an informal approach can resolve matters satisfactorily, particularly if action is taken quickly. Quite often, a person may be unaware that their behaviour is unwelcome, or it may be that their actions have been misinterpreted. 4.2 There are a number of steps the staff member may take to deal with the issue. He or she may: Approach the alleged perpetrator directly to advise them that the behaviour in question is offensive and is not welcome Request a meeting with the alleged perpetrator with a manager present in an attempt to resolve the issue

3 Write to the alleged perpetrator detailing the behaviour in question which is perceived as offensive. (A copy of this letter should be kept in case further action becomes necessary). Use the Mediation Procedure to attempt to resolve the issue. (Mediation can only be used if both parties are agreeable). 4.3 When making an informal approach, the complainant should tell the alleged perpetrator: What happened Where and when it happened How the behaviour made them feel How it affected their work How they want to resolve the matter 4.4 If this approach does not resolve the matter, the formal procedure should be invoked. 5 Mediation 5.1 At any stage in this procedure, mediation may be employed to help resolve the issue. 5.2 If both parties agree to mediation, the Dignity at Work procedure will be put on hold whilst the mediation takes place. In the event that no mutually acceptable solution is reached through the mediation process, the procedure will be reconvened from the point where it was put on hold. 5.3 For full details, please see the University s Mediation Procedure. 5.4 If the complaint is resolved through mediation, the mediator will assist the parties to draft a written agreement that will be signed by both parties as acceptance of its terms. 6 Submitting a Formal Complaint 6.1 If the alleged harassment does not stop as a result of the member of staff pursuing the informal stage of this procedure, or if the complaint is of a more serious nature, members of staff should raise the matter formally and without unreasonable delay with their manager. Where the allegation concerns the line manager members of staff should approach the level of manager detailed in the Schedule of Delegation set out in Appendix The complaint should be signed and in writing and should contain the following details: Who the complaint is being made against Details of the incident, including dates/times Where the incident happened The names of any witnesses Any action already taken to resolve the issue 6.3 On receipt of a formal dignity at work complaint, the manager will take reasonable steps to determine whether a formal investigation is appropriate. 6.4 If the manager determines that a formal investigation is not appropriate, the complainant will be advised of the reasons for the decision and the actions the manager intends to take. This may include to the offer of mediation services or consideration of other informal action. 6.5 If a full investigation is deemed appropriate the manager will follow the formal procedure outlined below.

4 7 Formal Procedure 7.1 The Manager will arrange a formal meeting to hear the complaint without unreasonable delay (normally within twenty working days of receiving the allegation). 7.2 The meeting will be chaired by the line manager and will be attended by the member of staff, his/her employee representative, and a representative from the HR Department. 7.3 The purpose of the meeting is to enable the member of staff to explain and discuss his/her complaint. Relevant documents in support of the complaint that the member of staff would like to be considered at the meeting must be provided to the manager dealing with the complaint at least five working days before the meeting. 7.4 After the meeting, the manager hearing the complaint may carry out such investigations as he or she considers appropriate which may include interviewing witnesses and other employees. 7.5 Where the complaint involves other employees the person(s) against whom the complaint has been raised will be informed of the nature of the complaint and interviewed. 7.6 Following an investigation, if necessary, further meetings with the members of staff may be held to seek additional information and ask further questions. The member of staff who has raised the complaint may be asked to comment on the findings of the investigation. 7.7 Following the conclusion of the investigation, the manager hearing the complaint will make his or her decision regarding the allegation(s). The aim is to seek an outcome which offers a remedy to the complaint and which restores positive working relationships in the workplace. This may include a recommendation that the parties consider mediation, or attend counselling and/or training for either or both parties. 7.8 The manager s decision may be one of the following: That the complaint should be upheld That some elements of the complaint are upheld and some elements are not. That the complaint is not upheld. 7.9 Where a complaint is upheld, there is no right of appeal Where a complaint is upheld or partially upheld, a disciplinary investigation may (if appropriate) be recommended. The evidence obtained from the Dignity at Work investigation will inform any disciplinary investigation Where a complaint is not upheld or partially upheld the member of staff who brought the complaint may appeal in accordance with the Appeals Stage of this Procedure The manager hearing the complaint will inform the employee who brought the complaint of the decision and the right of appeal (if appropriate), normally within twenty working days of the final investigation meeting Should the manager determine that the complaint raised was vexatious, frivolous or malicious, he/she may initiate a disciplinary investigation into the actions of the employee who has raised the complaint The employee(s) who were the subject of the complaint, will also be notified of the outcome of the complaint in writing and be advised of any action that is being taken as a consequence of the outcome The manager will ensure that any action specified is implemented, monitored and reviewed as appropriate.

5 8 Right of Appeal 8.1 Where a complaint has not been upheld or is only partially upheld, the member of staff who made the original complaint may appeal. The appeal must be submitted in writing, stating the full grounds of appeal, within ten working days of the date on which the decision was issued. 8.2 The appeal should be submitted to the appropriate HR Business Partner who will arrange for an appropriate senior manager who has not previously been involved to hear the appeal. 8.3 The grounds for the appeal should be detailed and relate solely to the decision made. The grounds for the appeal should be addressed under one or both of the following headings: Procedural omission or error New evidence presented which could not have been made available during the original investigation 8.4 Should the manager hearing the appeal decide the grounds of appeal do not comply with the stated criteria, the letter should be returned allowing the complainant the opportunity to amend the letter. Upon receipt of the amended letter, the manager hearing the appeal may refuse the appeal if they decide that the grounds of appeal still do not meet the stated criteria. 8.5 The manager to whom the appeal is addressed will invite the employee to attend a meeting to discuss the appeal normally within 20 working days of the date of receipt of the written appeal. 8.6 The purpose of the appeal hearing is to enable the employee who made the original complaint to explain the grounds for his/her appeal. The hearing is not intended to be a re-run of the initial complaint. 8.7 The manager hearing the appeal will be provided with a copy of all documentation produced as part of the formal investigation. If the employee wishes to submit additional relevant documentation for consideration this must be provided at least five working days before the appeal hearing. 8.8 The appeal hearing meeting will be chaired by the manager and will be attended by the employee, his/ her employee representative, and a representative from the HR Department. 8.9 Following the appeal hearing, if considered appropriate, the manager may: interview the employee, the person(s) against whom the complaint was originally made and any witnesses interview the manager who conducted the formal investigation gather (where appropriate) additional documentary evidence The outcome of the appeal hearing will be notified to the employee, as soon as possible, normally within twenty working days of the appeal meeting. The other employee(s) who are the subject of the complaint will also be notified of the outcome of the appeal hearing in writing. The decision at this stage of the procedure is final In cases where disciplinary action is taken, the individual subject to the Disciplinary Procedure may appeal in line with the University s Disciplinary Policy In the course of a formal investigation into complaints of harassment, an employee against whom a complaint has been made may raise a grievance. Where the grievance and harassment complaint are related it may be appropriate to deal with both issues concurrently, conducting a single investigation. Alternatively, the University may choose to suspend the harassment complaint procedure for a short period while the grievance is considered. 9 Review 9.1 This procedure has been screened to determine its impact on groups which are protected by law using the University s Equality Impact Assessment process. This procedure will be reviewed in two years, or earlier if legislative requirements change. Last Date of Review: February 2013

6 Appendix 1 Consideration of Harassment Complaints and Appeals Schedule of Delegation This Schedule of Delegation sets out the appropriate level of management to take key decisions as part of the Dignity at Work Procedure. Formal Resolution 1 Decisions in relation to hearing formal harassment complaints will be taken by the relevant line manager as illustrated in the table below. Where the complaint is about an employee s line manager, the hearing will be conducted by a manager who has not previously been involved in the case and this will normally be the next level of management in the department at Grade 9 or above. Complaint against Complaint heard by Appeal heard by Support staff grades 1-6 Support staff managers grade 7 Support staff managers grade 9 or above or above supported by the HR Business Partner Academic staff to grade 9 Principal Lecturer Head of Department (Faculty Exec) supported by the HR Business Partner Support staff grades 7-11 Support staff managers grade 9 Senior Support Staff (Exec grade) or above (see management supported by the HR Business guidelines) Partner Academic staff grades Head of Department (Faculty Exec) Dean of Faculty supported by a senior member of the HR team Senior Support Staff (exec grades) Member of Executive or Director Member of the Executive or Vice-Chancellor and the Director of Human Resources Head of Department and Academic Dean Deputy Vice-Chancellor and the Senior Staff Director of Human Resources Dean or Member of Executive Vice-Chancellor Board of Governors supported by the Director of Human Resources Appeals 2 Appeals against the outcome of complaints heard at the formal stage of the Dignity at Work Procedure will be heard by a manager who has not previously been involved in the case. This will normally be the relevant senior member of staff at the next level above the manager who heard the complaint as indicated in the table above. The decision of the appeal panel will be final and there will be no further right of appeal AT

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