Anti-bullying & Harrasment Statement
OptaNet is committed to providing a working environment free from bullying and harassment. We aim to ensure that all staff are treated, and treat others, with dignity and respect. This policy covers bullying or harassment which occurs at work and out of the workplace, including on work trips or at work-related events or social functions. This policy applies to all staff at all levels including employees, management, agency and casual workers, and independent contractors.
What is harassment?
Harassment is any unwanted conduct that has the purpose or effect of violating a person’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for them. A single incident can amount to harassment. A person may be harassed even if they were not the intended “target”. Harassment also includes treating someone less favourably because they have submitted or refused to submit to such behaviour in the past.
It is unlawful under the Equality Act 2010 to harass a person because of their age, disability, gender, reassignment, marital or civil partner status, pregnancy or maternity, race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation. It also includes conduct of a sexual nature (sexual harassment). Harassment is unacceptable even if it does not fall within any of these categories.
Examples of harassment include, but are not limited to:
- unwanted physical conduct including touching, pinching, pushing and grabbing;
- unwelcome sexual advances or suggestive behaviour;
- offensive e-mails, text messages or social media content or the display of offensive materials;
- unwanted jokes, banter, mocking, mimicking or belittling a person.
What is bullying?
Bullying is offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behaviour, an abuse or misuse of power through means that undermine, humiliate, denigrate or injure the recipient. Bullying can include the use of personal strength or the power to coerce through fear or intimidation, not necessarily from someone in a position of authority.
Bullying may be physical, verbal or non-verbal. It can include conduct that is not face-to-face, including via text message, email and social media. Examples of bullying include:
- physical or psychological threats;
- overbearing and intimidating levels of supervision;
- inappropriate derogatory remarks about a person or their performance;
- shouting at staff;
- persistently picking on people in front of others or in private;
- blocking promotion and training opportunities;
- regularly and deliberately ignoring or excluding staff from work activities or work related social events;
- setting a person up to fail by overloading them with work or setting impossible deadlines;
- regularly making the same person the butt of jokes.
Legitimate and reasonable criticism of a staff member’s performance or behaviour, or reasonable management instructions, do not amount to bullying.
Breaches of this Policy
Bullying and harassment are not tolerated in our workplace and all staff are required to treat each other, along with our customers, suppliers, and visitors, with dignity and respect.
Breaches of this policy will be dealt with in accordance with our disciplinary procedure. Serious cases of bullying or harassment may amount to gross misconduct resulting in dismissal. Staff who make complaints or who participate in good faith in any investigation must not suffer any form of retaliation or victimisation as a result. However, making a false allegation deliberately and in bad faith will be treated as misconduct and dealt with under our disciplinary procedure. Anyone found to have retaliated against or victimised someone in this way will be subject to disciplinary action under our disciplinary procedure.
If you believe you are being Harassed or Bullied
If you believe you are being harassed or bullied, you may wish to raise the problem informally with the person responsible. Explain the situation and how it has made you feel. It can be helpful to describe the event so the other person is clear about your concerns. Use the opportunity to ask the person to change or stop their behaviour. Alternatively you may speak to your manager who can provide confidential advice and assistance in resolving the issue formally or informally.
If you do not feel that informal steps are appropriate, or they have been unsuccessful, you should raise the matter formally under our grievance procedure. All complaints will be investigated in accordance with our grievance procedure.
If we consider that there is sufficient evidence to suggest you have been harassed or bullied we will consider the appropriate action to take. If the person accused is an employee, this may include invoking our disciplinary procedure. Whether or not your complaint is upheld, we will consider how best to manage any ongoing working relationship between you and the person concerned.