Human Resources. Bullying and Harassment Policy and SOP. Document Control Summary. Replacing H/BLU/dr/01. Status: Version: V2.

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1 Human Resources Bullying and Harassment Policy and SOP Document Control Summary Status: Replacing H/BLU/dr/01 Version: V2.0 Date: Author/Owner/Title: Author: Sarah Guy, HR Manager Owner: Alyson Sargeant, Head of Recruitment and Resourcing Approved by: Policy and Procedures Committee Date: 18 January 2018 Ratified: Trust Board Date: 25 January 2018 Related Trust Strategy and/or Strategic Aims Deliver regulatory, financial, performance and quality standards Implementation Date: February 2018 Review Date: December 2019 Key Words: bullying, harassment, victimization, dignity, respect Associated Policy or Standard Operating Procedures N/A 1

2 Contents 1. INTRODUCTION PURPOSE SCOPE LIVING OUR VALUES DEFINITIONS WHAT IS BULLYING AND HARASSMENT? RESPONSIBILITIES Trust Board Line Managers, Corporate Directors and Divisional Directors Employees Human Resources Trade Unions GENERAL PRINCIPLES SUPPORT AND ADVICE INFORMAL RESOLUTION Raise concerns directly with the alleged perpetrator Raise concerns with line manager Informal resolution through facilitated conversation Why have a facilitated conversation? FORMAL PROCEDURE APPEAL AGAINST DECISIONS TAKEN BULLYING OR HARASSMENT BY PATIENTS/SERVICE USERS/VISITORS/ CONTRACTORS EQUALITY IMPACT ANALYSIS TRAINING MONITORING COMPLIANCE

3 Change Control Amendment History Version Dates Amendments 2 January 2018 Section 1 Replacement of reference to the Equal Opportunities Policy with Dignity and Respect Policy Section 2 Removal of link to NHS constitution Section 3 Replacement of employees with workers in relation to bank staff Section 6.2 Replacement of Clinical/Divisional/Service Directors with Managers Section 7 Amendment of timescales in which to raise a complaint from 3 months to 8 weeks to ensure timely resolution and in line with the Grievance and Disputes Policy Section 8 Removal of reference to Equality and Diversity Champion and Directorate Equality and Diversity Lead as these no longer exist Section 9.3 & 10 Replaced mediation with facilitated conversations in line with a change in Trust process Right to be represented at the formal stage in line with legislation. Section 15 Replacement of HRODE with Workforce and Development. Removal of reference to hotline which no longer exists. 3

4 1. INTRODUCTION As part of its overall commitment to equality for a diverse workforce, the Trust wishes to create a working environment that promotes the right of each individual to be treated with consideration, dignity and respect. Everyone is responsible for contributing to a working environment in which dignity of others is respected. The Trust recognises it has a legal and ethical responsibility to ensure that employees are not subject to inappropriate behaviour that will not only affect their performance but also their health and wellbeing. All employees have a responsibility to challenge bullying, harassment or unfair treatment of any kind to ensure that employees are aware it will not be tolerated. The Trust views bullying harassment or unfair treatment as wholly unacceptable behaviour, which contravenes both the Dignity and Respect Policy and Disciplinary Policy and Procedure. 2. PURPOSE One of the core values of the Trust is We value our staff. The Trust believes that all employees have a right to be treated with consideration, dignity and respect and is committed to providing a work environment where all employees feel supported and equipped to challenge harassment, bullying, stereotyping and discriminatory behaviour; where all employees treat each other fairly and with mutual respect. The aim of the policy is to promote and encourage positive and supportive behaviour at work with a view to reducing the potential for conflict and complaints in relation to working relationships within the Trust. The policy also provides information for employees about the type of behaviour that is unacceptable, and a range of support mechanisms for those who believe they are victims of bullying or harassment to raise concerns and seek resolution. All employees are expected to comply with this policy and carry responsibility for their own behaviour, ensuring that such conduct does not occur. Appropriate action will be taken against any employee who contravenes this policy. Dependent on the circumstances this could be seen as gross misconduct, which may be subject to action under the disciplinary policy and could result in dismissal. The Trust also recognises that it has a duty to protect employees from bullying or harassment at work by members of the public, contractors, service users and patients. This policy is supporting staff rights as outlined in the NHS Constitution. 4

5 3. SCOPE This policy applies to all employees including those employed on fixed term contracts and bank workers. Employees of 'student' or 'trainee' status, individuals employed by agencies, apprentices and other contractors will be expected to adhere to the standards required in this policy. Issues relating to these individuals will be referred to the appropriate employer and, where appropriate, the individual may be removed from working within the Trust. In implementing this policy, managers must ensure that all staff are treated fairly and within the provisions and spirit of the Trust s Dignity and Respect Policy and Human Rights Policy. Special attention should be paid to ensuring the policy is understood when using it for employees new to the NHS or Trust; by employees whose literacy or use of English is weak or for persons with little experience of working life. 4. LIVING OUR VALUES As employees of SSSFT we are expected to treat everyone with RESPECT. We work in an environment that nurtures HONESTY AND TRUST, and that in turn we demonstrate we are HONEST AND TRUSTWORTHY. We strive to provide a CARING AND COMPASSIONATE environment for all and are committed to undertaking our duties in this way. We endeavor to TAKE TIME TO TALK AND LISTEN. We develop opportunities to WORK TOGETHER and we will all LEAD BY EXAMPLE. 5. DEFINITIONS WHAT IS BULLYING AND HARASSMENT? Bullying or harassment can be direct or indirect and can have many forms, which may include verbal, written, transferred electronically via mobiles or s or through visual displays. Bullying Workplace bullying is defined under Agenda for Change as the unwanted behaviour, one to another, which is based upon the unwarranted use of authority or power. NHS Employers state: 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. General behaviour can be deemed to be bullying if it forms part of a persistent campaign to intimidate, demean or humiliate another employee or group of employees. Harassment Harassment is defined under the Equality Act as unwanted conduct related to 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 An employee may find behaviour offensive and make a complaint even if the conduct is not directed at them and they need not possess the relevant protected characteristic themselves. 5

6 Harassment because of perception and/or association An employee is also protected from harassment because it is believed they possess the relevant protected characteristic (perception) or if they associate with another person who possesses a particular protected characteristic (association). Appendix 1 outlines the protected characteristics. Bullying or harassment may be intentional or unintentional. It is not the intention of the perpetrator that is key to deciding if harassment and bullying has occurred, but whether the behaviour is acceptable by reasonable normal standards and is disadvantageous or unwelcome to the person or people subjected to it or witness to it. Victimisation Under the Equality Act victimisation occurs when an employee is subjected to a detriment, such as being denied a training opportunity or a promotion because they made or supported a complaint or raised a grievance under the Equality Act, or because he or she is suspected of doing so, or being about to do so. The Trust will ensure that complaints of victimisation following reported incidents of bullying or harassment are investigated and dealt with appropriately. 6. RESPONSIBILITIES 6.1 Trust Board The Board has responsibility to oversee this policy and ensure that managers take appropriate action to prevent and to deal with instances of bullying or harassment promptly and effectively. 6.2 Line Managers, Corporate Directors and Divisional Directors All Managers are responsible for the implementation of this policy and for ensuring that all employees are aware of their responsibilities under it. In order to promote a positive working environment Managers should:- Conduct themselves in a way which does not intimidate or cause offence or embarrassment to others, and to be aware of behaviour which may cause offence, even if unintentional Undertake training programmes on this matter Promote awareness that bullying or harassment will not be tolerated Take all reasonable steps to ensure that bullying or harassment does not occur in the workplace for which they are responsible To take appropriate action if they become aware of or witness any acts of bullying or harassment Treat all complaints of bullying or harassment seriously, sensitively and confidentially and ensure complaints are dealt with promptly. Line Managers and Supervisors are responsible for ensuring that employees who report to them perform to an acceptable standard within a performance management framework. Therefore, appropriately conducted and justifiable management of an employee s behavior or job performance does not constitute bullying or harassment. Lead by example 6

7 6.3 Employees It is the responsibility of all employees: To conduct themselves in a way which does not intimidate, cause offence or embarrassment to others, and to be aware of behaviour which may cause offence, even if unintentional To contribute towards a working environment free from harassment or bullying To discourage bullying or harassment and challenge inappropriate behaviour by making it clear that they find such behaviour unacceptable To report to an appropriate person any instances of bullying or harassment which are in direct contravention of the principles outlined in this policy To offer to support colleagues who suffer such treatment, encouraging them to raise concerns in accordance with this policy 6.4 Human Resources The Human Resources Department is responsible for: Providing support and guidance to staff and managers on the implementation and application of this policy Working with managers to identify appropriate mechanisms and interventions needed to satisfactorily resolve matters of this kind Promoting good working relationships through local initiatives Supporting the monitoring of the application of this policy and to update it as required. 6.5 Trade Unions Trade Unions provide support and guidance to their members 7. GENERAL PRINCIPLES All employees have a right to be treated with dignity and respect at work. Any form of bullying, harassment or victimisation will not be tolerated under any circumstances and is unacceptable. Individuals are encouraged to resolve issues informally in the first instance. However, the Trust will take all necessary action to eliminate inappropriate behaviour. Complaints should be made as soon as possible after the event or circumstances giving rise to the complaint and in any event within 8 weeks of their occurrence. Complaints made outside this time period will be more difficult to address because of the time that has elapsed. If an individual observes another employee within the Trust suffering from bullying or harassment, they may take action on their behalf to raise the issue in the first instance. 8. SUPPORT AND ADVICE The Trust recognises that for a variety of reasons some employees may be unwilling or find it difficult to make a complaint against someone who has caused them distress by their behaviour. Various sources of advice and support are available to employees if they are experiencing distress as a result of another individual s behaviour, they may seek advice from one or more of the following: 7

8 A Senior Manager Line Manager A Trade Union/Professional Organisation accredited representative or work colleague A Human Resources Advisor The Occupational Health Service Trust Equality and Diversity Lead The above is not an exclusive list and an employee may discuss the issue and seek support from any other person with whom they feel comfortable from within the Trust. 9. INFORMAL RESOLUTION Employees who believe that they are being bullied or harassed are encouraged to do the following at the earliest stage: Make a note of what has happened, where and when it happened, how it made them feel at the time and if applicable, who witnessed the event or incident Seek advice and support The Trust is committed to achieving informal resolution of complaints wherever possible. In some cases people are not aware that their behaviour is unwelcome and an informal discussion can lead to greater understanding and an agreement that the behaviour will cease. Before embarking on any formal process, resolution of the issues through informal methods should be explored and exhausted. There are a number of options available for informal resolution: 9.1 Raise concerns directly with the alleged perpetrator At an early stage employees are encouraged to raise the matter directly with the person i.e. their work colleague or the manager involved, either verbally or in writing, to identify clearly the behaviour which is causing them distress with a view that the behaviour should cease or be modified. In circumstances where the employee feels it is too difficult for them to make this initial approach the employee may be informally supported by a work colleague, Trade Union Representative or appropriate Manager. If the employee considers that the behaviour involved constitutes harassment or bullying under this Policy then they may wish at this stage to inform the person involved that if this behaviour is repeated then a formal complaint will be made under this Policy. 9.2 Raise concerns with line manager In circumstances where the employee has been unable to resolve the situation by raising this directly with the person or if they do not feel comfortable in following this approach they may raise their concerns with their line manager, or, in cases where the behaviour being complained of is their line manager, a more senior manager. 8

9 The line manager can speak with the person on their behalf explaining the situation, or alternatively they could arrange and support a meeting between the employee and the alleged perpetrator regarding their perceived behaviour. All discussions taking place will remain confidential to the individuals concerned; however, any outcomes may be recorded on the relevant personal file(s). Any breach of confidentiality may lead to action being taken in accordance with the disciplinary procedure. 9.3 Informal resolution through facilitated conversation A facilitated conversation is a confidential and voluntary process which brings together individuals who are experiencing problems with a work related relationship. The problem will usually relate to behaviour, attitude or communication. A facilitated conversation takes place in the presence of a trained facilitator, identified by the Human Resources Department who will gate keep the process. During the facilitated conversation individuals will be encouraged to tell their story and air their feelings. The outcome should be a plan of action to ensure that a professional working relationship is maintained in the future. The process empowers those involved, as the employee not the facilitator, decide on the terms of any resolution and reach an agreement that is acceptable to both parties. The facilitator does not offer advice on how to solve the problem. The content of the discussions during the meeting will remain confidential to the individuals concerned; however, any agreed outcomes will be confirmed in writing and made available to both parties if they both agree. Any breach of confidentiality may lead to action being taken in accordance with the disciplinary procedure. 9.4 Why have a facilitated conversation? The facilitators are new to the dispute, disagreement or upset and are not involved in the work area. They will ensure that the meetings are conducted in a fair and productive way. Where a facilitated conversation is not appropriate for example where the circumstances are complex, the option of external mediation will be considered. This will be in exceptional circumstances. 10. FORMAL PROCEDURE Where informal methods fail to bring about required changes in behaviour or where the behaviour or actions are deemed to be a serious breach of the Disciplinary Procedure then consideration may be given to making a formal complaint under this policy. The complaint may initially be made verbally but must be confirmed in writing using the Notification of Harassment and Bullying complaint form at appendix 1 as soon as possible after the alleged incident(s) and where possible detail the following: The name(s) of the other person(s) involved, The nature of the alleged behaviour giving rise to the complaint Dates and times where the alleged behaviour took place Names of any witnesses to any alleged incidents Details of the impact of the behaviour on them self 9

10 Any action already taken by them self or on their behalf to stop the behaviour from continuing. The complaint should be sent, in confidence to the employee s immediate manager or, in cases where the behaviour being complained of is their line manager, a more senior manager, who will consider the complaint and, where appropriate, arrange for an investigation to be carried out using the principles of the Trust s Disciplinary Procedure. If it is felt necessary and practicable, action will be taken to separate the alleged perpetrator from the complainant, until the complaint has been investigated and/or resolved. If, on the strength of the findings, the Investigating Officer believes there is a case to be answered then the Disciplinary Procedure will be invoked and appropriate action taken. If, on the strength of the findings, the Investigating Officer believes there are no grounds on which to substantiate the complaint, the employee making the complaint and the alleged perpetrator will be informed separately in person and the decision confirmed in writing. Following this a further facilitated conversation may be offered to both parties in an attempt to restore a professional working relationship. If a complaint of bullying or harassment is found not to have been made in good faith, disciplinary action may be taken against the complainant. Both the complainant and the alleged perpetrator will have the right to representation at the formal stage from their trade union/professional body or to be accompanied by a work colleague who is employed by the Trust throughout the formal procedure. Examples of what could constitute harassment and bullying along with a process flow chart can be found at Appendix APPEAL AGAINST DECISIONS TAKEN If the employee making the allegation (s) is dissatisfied with management decision, they may appeal in writing to the line manager of the manager making the decision within ten working days of receiving written notification of the outcome. Arrangements will then be made to hear the appeal. The employee may not appeal against any action or disciplinary sanction applied to the alleged perpetrator. The manager hearing the appeal should not have been previously involved in the investigation. 12. BULLYING OR HARASSMENT BY PATIENTS/SERVICE USERS/VISITORS/ CONTRACTORS The Trust will not tolerate bullying or harassment towards their employees from patients, service users, contractors or visitors and has a duty to protect them from unacceptable behaviour. Employees who experience bullying or harassment from a patient, service user, contractor or member of the public should refer to the Trust s Security Management Policy. 13. EQUALITY IMPACT ANALYSIS The policy outlines a consistent approach to dealing with incidents of bullying or harassment that ensures individuals are treated with dignity and respect. The policy also provides information for employees about the type of behaviour that is unacceptable, and a range of support mechanisms for those who believe they are victims of bullying or harassment to raise concerns and seek resolution. 10

11 14. TRAINING The Trust s training expectations and requirements for staff in relation to Harassment and Bullying are detailed in the Trust s Training Needs Analysis which staff can locate on the Trust s website and intranet. 15. MONITORING COMPLIANCE The Trust monitors and reviews activity under this policy and its effectiveness in resolving concerns about bullying or harassment through the mechanisms detailed in the table below. The non-compliance arises, this will be brought to the attention of the Workforce and Development Committee and suitable action will be decided upon and an action plan developed where necessary. The Trust also collects and maintains records of the gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, religion and belief and ethnic origin of those complainants. This information will be reported to the Workforce and Development Committee. Measures may include: Number of cases being referred to HR Advisors/Managers for support Number of cases being referred to Equality and Diversity Lead Champions for support Number of formal cases recorded in ESR Number of appeals against decisions taken under this procedure. Training on this Policy Annual NHS Staff Survey Aspect of compliance or effectiveness being monitored Monitoring method Individual or department responsible for the monitoring Frequency of the monitoring activity Group/committee/ forum which will receive the findings/monitoring report Committee/ individual responsible for ensuring that the actions are completed Number of cases raised per annum at the formal stage Audit Human Resources Department Annual Workforce and Development Committee Workforce and Development Committee 11

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