As members of staff and students, we all have a responsibility to consider the impact of our behaviour on other people, and not to cause unreasonable offence or distress. Anyone who feels offended or upset by another person’s behaviour (even if it was unintentional) also has the right to ask for that behaviour to stop. Occasionally, the level of seriousness of behaviour or conduct may mean that the Police become involved.
Raising a concern about someone’s behaviour or conduct can be difficult and stressful for both parties involved – the person making the complaint and the person who the complaint is about.
Advice and support are available for everyone involved in such situations - whatever the circumstances, you are not on your own.
If you have been accused of something, no assumptions or decisions will be made until the issue has been investigated and both parties have had a fair opportunity to give their side of events. Occasionally, measures might need to be taken to limit interactions between individuals or the University based on assessed risks. This does not imply any guilt and is simply to allow an investigation to take place. Where possible, concerns are dealt with informally in the first instance.
Whether you think you have acted rightly or wrongly, you may find the following points useful to consider:
- Is your understanding of the University’s Dignity at Work and Equality, Diversity and Inclusion policies and principles up to date?
- Do you have a clear understanding of the types of behaviour which might be seen to constitute sexual harassment, bullying, hate crime etc?
- Are you familiar with the likely next steps in an investigation? See here for information about what happens after a report is made
- What support do you need to access?
Sources of Support for Staff
- Trade unions. If you are a member of either UNISON, Unite, UCU or GMB, you can contact your representative for advice and support
- Human Resources. Contact your HR Adviser or HR Manager for advice and support.
- Line manager. Depending on the circumstances, you may also feel able to contact your line manager for advice and support.
- Wellbeing and Support. You can access information and support through our Wellbeing pages, including the Staff Helpline and Counselling Service 0800 028 1947
- In cases where there is - or may be - Police involvement, you may need to seek professional or legal advice
- ACAS. The website includes information, advice and guidance on a range of issues including conflict at work, equality and discrimination.
- Respect. A confidential and anonymous helpline for anyone concerned about their violence and/or abuse towards a partner or ex-partner. Phoneline 0808 802 4040 (open Monday to Friday, 9am–5pm). A webchat service is available Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10am–4pm.
- Samaritans. Provide services based on listening without judgement. Call 116 123 or www.samaritans.org/how-we-can-help/contact-samaritan/