Dignity at Work & Study Policy & Procedure

1. Introduction and statement of intent

1. Introduction and statement of intent

The University of Glasgow’s vision is to be a world-class, world-changing university. The University recognises that productive employees and students are vital to achieve this. Our values represent the shared motivations and beliefs which bring our community together, these values are passionate, professional and progressive. Defining our professional value, the University states:

Embracing diversity and difference and treating colleagues, students, visitors and others with respect.

This value emphasises to our community everyone should be treated with dignity and respect within their working and learning environment and that harassment or bullying in any form will not be tolerated by the University.

2. Scope

2. Scope

The behaviours in this Policy cover all members of the University community, including:

  • All members of staff holding a contract of employment, and staff from other institutions on placement at, or visiting the University
  • All students, including visiting and placement students
  • Visitors, including external persons using the University’s premises
  • Contractors working at the University
  • Individuals working or acting on the University’s behalf, including suppliers of goods and services
  • Employees working within the Students' Representative Council and student unions.

The procedures (1) relating to this Policy cover;

  • All members of staff holding a contract of employment, and staff from other institutions on placement at, or visiting the University
  • All students, including visiting and placement students, online and distance learners
  • Contractors working at the University (Appendix D only)

(1) All other University community members not covered below should follow the University’s Complaints Procedure should they wish to make a complaint about a University employee or refer to the Code of Practice on Unacceptable Behaviour or the Code of Student Conduct if they wish to raise a concern regarding a student.

3. Policy

3. Policy

The University of Glasgow is committed to fostering a working, learning and research environment where mutual respect and dignity is experienced by and between employees and students.

The University aims to promote a culture where we embrace diversity and difference; harassment and bullying are known to be unacceptable; allegations are dealt with in fair and timely fashion, without fear of victimisation.

The University recognises harassment is unlawful as outlined in the Equality Act 2010.

Harassment and bullying can have a serious detrimental effect on the health, confidence, morale and performance of those affected by it, and on the working, learning and living environment. 

3.1 University responsibility

3.1 University responsibility

The University will ensure that:

  • Staff, students, visitors and external contractors/suppliers are treated fairly irrespective of any protected characteristics as outlined in the Equality Act 2010 (see Appendix A).
  • Incidents of harassment or bullying are taken seriously and dealt with promptly.
  • University employees or students who report harassment or bullying are not victimised.
  • It will act promptly when allegations of harassment by external parties are reported by employees and students (see Appendix D), in relation to the working and studying environment, and where reasonable.
  • Employees and students are made aware of this equality policy through the University’s web pages, publications and general training, where appropriate.
  • Malicious, vexatious or spurious allegations will be dealt with in the appropriate manner.(2)


(2) This would be through the Code of Practice on Unacceptable Behaviour, Code of Student Conduct or staff Disciplinary Procedure.

3.2 Individual responsibility

3.2 Individual responsibility

University employees, students, contractors and visitors will ensure that they:

  • Treat others with dignity and respect.
  • Participate in training to support the implementation of the Policy where appropriate.
  • Challenge harassing or bullying behaviour as and when appropriate.

4. Definition of harassment and bullying

4. Definition of harassment and bullying

Bullying and harassment are defined by the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) as the following:

  • Bullying is offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behaviour, an abuse or misuse of power through means that undermine, humiliate, denigrate or injure the recipient.
  • Harassment is 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.

Examples of what may constitute harassment and bullying are provided in Section 4.1 and Appendix B. These are not exhaustive lists, but provide examples of what is considered to be harassing or bullying behaviour. It should be noted that claiming something was ‘banter’ is not an excuse for bullying or harassing behaviour.

For practical purposes those raising a concern usually define what they mean by bullying or harassment – something has happened to them that is unwelcome, unwarranted and causes a detrimental effect. However, behaviour that is considered bullying by one person may be considered firm management by another.(3) Therefore the test of reasonableness must also be applied, i.e. a reasonable person in possession of the same information would regard it as harassment.

(3) http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=1864

4.1 Code of Practice on Unacceptable Behaviour

4.1 Code of Practice on Unacceptable Behaviour

The Code of Practice on Unacceptable Behaviour is detailed in the University Calendar, with an associated procedure, however the cross over with the Dignity at Work and Study Policy is vital. Therefore, examples from the Code of what the University considers to be unacceptable behaviour are shown below.

Aggressive/Abusive Behaviour (Section 37.3.2 of University Calendar)
Any behaviour or language (spoken or written) which causes staff or students to feel unduly concerned, afraid, threatened or abused is not acceptable. Aggressive/abusive behaviour might include any of the following:

  • demeaning, abusive, indecent or offensive language or comments (including those in writing);
  • unwelcome sexual advances – stalking, touching, standing too close, display of offensive materials, asking for sexual favours/coercion;
  • threatening behaviour or language, or actual threats, including in relation to job security, promotion or continuation;
  • written, verbal or physical harassment;
  • comments that discriminate on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, race and ethnicity, age, disability, religion and belief or other irrelevant distinction;
  • unsubstantiated allegations;
  • use of aggressive or inappropriate gestures

This list is not exhaustive and other examples of what may constitute harassment and bullying are provided in Appendix B.

5. Procedures

5. Procedures

The University encourages individuals to solve issues informally as this is often the quickest and most effective method of dealing with harassment or bullying: the University has support measures in place to reflect this. The informal procedure for students and employees are very similar and are outlined below.

If you are a student and your allegation relates to an employee of the University or another University student, follow the procedures for Students.

If you are an employee and your allegation relates to a University student, follow the procedures for Students.

5.1 Informal procedure for Students

5.1 Informal procedure for Students

If a student thinks they are being subjected to harassment or bullying in any form, they may wish to consider the following course of action:

  • If possible the student should tell the alleged harasser that they perceive their behaviour as harassment, and that they would like them to alter this behaviour. This can be done in person, or by letter/email. It is helpful if the student has specific examples, or evidence of the unwanted behaviour, and can say why this has made them feel uncomfortable. A record of the discussion, and copies of any correspondence, should be kept by both parties in the event that follow-up action becomes necessary.

  • If the student finds this too difficult they may ask for support in writing to, or accompanying them to a meeting with, the alleged harasser. This support may be provided by the Respect Advisers Network (see Appendix C), the student’s Adviser of Studies, the SRC Advice Centre, or Head of Subject or School.

  • If the outcome of this initial informal action fails to produce a resolution, then the student should proceed to one of the formal procedures set out at Section 5.2.

5.2 Formal procedure for Students

5.2 Formal procedure for Students

A formal procedure should be followed where a matter remains unresolved through the informal approach; if the problem continues after an agreed resolution; if the matter is of a more serious nature, which would not be appropriate to be dealt with by informal means through Human Resources or Senate Office. Procedures are in place to allow incidents of bullying or harassment to be investigated fairly and transparently.

For students the following procedures are available:

a) University Complaints Procedure: a student can raise an allegation of harassment or bullying by a member of staff under this procedure.  If a complaint of harassment by a member of staff of this University towards a student is upheld, a report can be made to Human Resources for consideration under the Disciplinary Procedure

The Complaints Procedure states that a complaint must be made within 6 months from the date of the most recent incident, but clearly it is desirable to address matters promptly.

b) Code of Practice of Unacceptable Behaviour (Section 37 of University Calendar) and Code of Student Conduct (Section 33 of University Calendar): an allegation made by a student or a member of staff concerning harassment by a student should be referred to the Senior Senate Assessor for Student Conduct.  The Senior Senate Assessor will determine whether the allegation should be addressed with reference to the Code of Practice on Unacceptable Behaviour or in accordance with the procedures set out in the Code of Student Conduct.

5.3 Informal procedure for Employees

5.3 Informal procedure for Employees

The University encourages individuals to solve issues informally as this is often the quickest and most effective method of dealing with harassment or bullying. If an employee thinks they are being subjected to harassment or bullying in any form, they may wish to consider the following course of action:

  • If possible, the employee should make it clear to the alleged harasser that they perceive their behaviour as harassment, and they would like them to alter this behaviour. This can be done in person, or by letter/email. It is helpful if the employee has specific examples, or evidence of the unwanted behaviour, and can say why this has made them feel uncomfortable. A record of the discussion, and copies of any correspondence, should be kept by both parties in the event that follow-up action becomes necessary.
  • If the employee finds this too difficult they may ask for support in writing to, or accompanying them to a meeting with, the alleged harasser. This support may be provided by the Respect Advisers Network (see Appendix C), their line manager/supervisor, a colleague, trade union representative.

5.4 Formal procedure for Employees

5.4 Formal procedure for Employees

If the outcome of this initial informal action fails to produce a resolution; if the problem continues after an agreed resolution; or if the matter is of a more serious nature that would not be appropriate to be dealt with by informal means, then the employee may proceed to the Formal Procedure, which is the Grievance Procedure.

Where a grievance has already been considered informally (as outlined in Section 5.3 of the Dignity at Work and Study Policy), and the employee believes it has not been resolved, a formal grievance should be raised within 10 working days of the outcome of the informal stage.

Where, on the face of it, there appears to be evidence at the informal stage of potentially serious harassment or bullying this may proceed directly to the Disciplinary Procedure for appropriate investigation.

6. Confidentiality

6. Confidentiality

It is important that any claims of bullying and harassment are treated seriously and confidentially.

Appropriate confidentiality will be observed for both complainant and alleged harasser. Confidentiality in this context relates to the details of the case and investigation. Only those who are required to know details of the case will have access to information including the complainant and the alleged harasser.

There may however be circumstances where there is a legal obligation to share information with another party. For example, where a line manager or Respect Adviser learns about something whicih could seriously affect the wellbeing of an individual or group; they have a duty of care to advise a Head of HR/HR Adviser/Adviser of Studies or Head of School/Research Institute/Service even though it may be against the wishes of the student/employee. Except in these exceptional circumstances confidentiality will be maintained where at all possible.

7. Monitoring of this policy

7. Monitoring of this policy

The Equality and Diversity Strategy Committee (EDSC) will monitor the implementation and revision of this Policy, in consultation with Trades Unions and the SRC.

The University will collect anonymised statistical information on complaints made by student and employees including:

  • Informal monitoring of the policy by the Respect Advisers Network.
  • Formal monitoring of complaints handled under the Complaints Procedure, the Code of Practice on Unacceptable Behaviour and the Code of Student Conduct by the Senate Office.
  • Formal monitoring of employees’ grievances by Human Resources.

8. Relevance to other Policies

8. Relevance to other Policies

8.1 Student Policies

8.2 Employee Policies/Procedures

9. Useful contacts

9. Useful contacts

Respect Advisers Network
The Respect Advisers Network can provide support and guidance to staff and students throughout the informal process.
www.gla.ac.uk/services/humanresources/equalitydiversity/policy/dignityatwork/ran/

Equality and Diversity Unit
(main office is not on campus – meetings can be arranged by appointment)
6th Floor, Tay House                                                            
Glasgow G12 8QQ                                                                       

Tel: 0141 330 1887
Email: equality@glasgow.ac.uk

www.gla.ac.uk/services/equalitydiversity/

9.1 For Students

9.1 For Students

The Students’ Representative Council – Advice Centre
McIntyre Building, University Avenue
Glasgow G12 8QQ
Tel: 0141 330 5360

Email: advice@src.gla.ac.uk
www.glasgowstudent.net/advice
Counselling and Psychological Services
67 Southpark Avenue
Glasgow G12 8LE
Tel: 0141 330 4528

Email: studentcounselling@glasgow.ac.uk
www.gla.ac.uk/services/counselling/

Senate Office

Level 6, South Front
Gilbert Scott Building
Glasgow G12 8QQ
Tel: 0141 330 6063

www.gla.ac.uk/services/senateoffice/
 

9.2 For Employees

9.2 For Employees

 

Human Resources Department
(main office is not on main campus -
meetings can be arranged by appointment)

Tay House, University of Glasgow
Glasgow G12 8QQ

Tel: 0141 330 3898

Email: humanresources@glasgow.ac.uk
www.gla.ac.uk/services/humanresources/

PAM Assist

PAM Assist is an external and independent
counselling service for employees of the University.

Tel: 0800 882 4102

 

Occupational Health Unit
63 Oakfield Avenue, 
Glasgow G12 8LP
Tel:  0141 330 7171

Email: ohu@admin.gla.ac.uk
www.gla.ac.uk/services/occupationalhealthunit/

University and College Union – Glasgow
UCUG Office
68 Oakfield Avenue
University of Glasgow
Glasgow, G12 8QQ
Tel: 0141 330 5375

Email: ucug@gla.ac.uk
www.gla.ac.uk/services/organisations/ucug

Unison – University of Glasgow
Unison Office
University of Glasgow
68 Oakfield Avenue
Glasgow G12 8QD
Tel: 0141 330 5570

Email: guunison@udcf.gla.ac.uk

GMB Union - University of Glasgow
Jim Steele
GMB Convener (UofG)

Tel: 0141 330 6568 or 07713 465037

Email: gmbg@glasgow.ac.uk

Unite the Union - Glasgow University Group

Email: Unite@glasgow.ac.uk

 


Original policy first approved June 2012