Harassment1 is defined under this policy as unwanted behaviour related to a protected characteristic which has the purpose or effect of violating someone's dignity or which creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment.
The protected characteristics are:
- gender reassignment
- pregnancy and maternity
- marriage and civil partnerships
- religion, belief or non-belief
- sexual orientation
Harassment may occur where an individual or group is targeted on the grounds of:
- an actual protected characteristic, for example, a disabled person,
- a perceived protected characteristic, for example, a manager decides not to support the advancement of a member of staff because they believe they have a disability,
- a person who is linked to one of the protected characteristics via association, for example, a student who has a disabled child is not allowed to attend a graduation ceremony because of fears about the child's behaviour.
Harassment may be a single event, sporadic events or a continuing pattern and includes behaviour via any means including verbal, non-verbal, physical, written or by means of electronic communication including social media.
Examples of behaviours that may amount to harassment under this policy include but are not limited to the following:
- derogatory name-calling, derisory remarks, verbal abuse, insults and threats, ridicule or belittling of an individual
- tone of voice such as shouting, raising one's voice unnecessarily or inappropriate or intimidating body language
- repeated gibes in respect of personal traits or appearance, practical jokes or invasions of privacy, any or all of which may cause physical or psychological distress
- verbal or practical 'jokes' which mock, offend or cause distress to individuals or groups
- deliberately using the wrong gender pronoun or the birth name of a trans person, known as mis-gendering or dead-naming
- exclusion from normal workplace / academic conversations or activities, and social events
- unfair allocation of work and responsibilities
Harassment (or bullying) may not be deliberate or intentional. In some cases the person against whom a report has been made may be unaware that their behaviour is having a detrimental impact on another person, has caused offence or has been interpreted in a particular way.
- The definition of harassment used in this Policy is that defined by the Equality Act 2010.
Sexual harassment1 is defined under this policy as an incident where a person engages in unwanted conduct of a sexualised nature that has the purpose or effect of violating someone's dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment.
Sexual harassment may occur between members of the same sex or of the opposite sex. It can be a single incident that may or may not be directed at an individual but may be witnessed or overheard by a third party. It may be carried out by an individual who is in a position of authority over another or to undermine the position of authority of another.
Examples of unwanted conduct of a sexualised nature include a range of behaviours that are not limited to the following:
- sexual comments, gestures or jokes
- leering, staring or suggestive looks which are unwanted or unwelcome once someone has made their disinterest clear
- unwanted touching, hugging or kissing
- unwanted sexual advances, attention and demands for sex,
- making promises in return for sexual favours
- intrusive questioning about a person's private sexual activity and sharing own sexual activity which is unwanted,
- displaying sexually graphic pictures, posters or photographs, including those in electronic forms such as computer screensavers or posts/contacts on social media
- sending sexually explicit emails or text messages which are unwanted
- sharing sexual images of another person without their consent- often referred to as revenge porn
- other behaviour, including offensive communications.
In addition, misogyny, which differs from harassment, defines sexist attitudes and ideology forming the basis of prejudice or discrimination towards women2.
- The definition of Sexual Harassment used in this Policy is that defined by the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
- Currently not recognised as a hate crime under UK legislation.
Bullying may be broadly defined as behaviour which is: usually persistent, unwarranted and unwelcome, offensive, intimidating, humiliating, malicious or insulting. It undermines another's confidence, leading to reduced self-esteem and self-worth.
Bullying covers a range of behaviours and may often - but not always - be committed by a person in a position of authority. Bullying may be carried out by one individual against another, or could involve groups of people (for example a group of colleagues against one member of staff or against another group of colleagues).
Bullying may be verbal, non-verbal, physical or by another means of communication including electronics. Examples of behaviours that may amount to bullying include but are not limited to:
- physical or verbal abuse, including threats
- psychological intimidation, humiliation, excessive and/or unreasonable criticism
- unjustifiable removal of areas of responsibility
- setting unreasonable and unrealistic workplace goals/targets
- asserting a position of intellectual superiority in an aggressive, abusive or offensive manner; threats of academic failure; public sarcasm and humiliation.
It should be noted that in a workplace, proportionate, constructive and fair criticism of a member of staff to address performance concerns is not considered bullying. Likewise, workplace practices such as reallocation of responsibilities and associated changes, and circumstances such as competing pressures of work and spikes in workload are not generally considered to be harassment or bullying.
Cyber bullying is a form of bullying which takes place online via social networking sites, messaging apps, gaming sites and chat rooms. It involves sending offensive, hostile, rude, insulting or threatening messages or sending fake information about another person that is damaging and untrue.
Hate incidents are incidents which appear to the individual, groups or anyone else to be based on prejudice towards them because of their race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or transgender identity. Examples of hate incidents are verbal abuse, intimidation, abusive phone calls, online abuse, graffiti or threats of violence. Where there is an overlap with criminal law, a hate incident may also be a criminal offence and if so, is referred to as a hate crime1.
Hate incidents include:
- Antisemitism2 - discrimination, prejudice or malicious acts against individuals, communities or organisations because of their Jewish identity
- Bi-phobia - discrimination, prejudice or abusive behaviours towards bisexual people
- Disableism - discrimination, oppression or malicious acts towards individuals with a physical, learning and mental health disability3
- Homophobia - umbrella terms defining discrimination, prejudice or malicious acts towards lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer or questioning people
- Islamophobia - discrimination, prejudice or malicious acts against individuals, communities or organisations because of their Muslim identity
- Racism - the discrimination, prejudice or malicious acts towards individuals or communities because of skin colour, ethnicity, nationality, language, customs or practices and place of birth
- Transphobia - umbrella term defining discrimination, prejudice or malicious acts towards trans people and gender identities
Hate crimes denote criminal acts such as assault, harassment, sexual offences, criminal damage and hate mail, which are perceived to be motivated by hostility or prejudice based on race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or transgender identity.
Hate speech (which differs from verbal abuse) is a subset of a hate crime and is described as using 'threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviours, or displaying writing, signs or other visual representations that causes or is likely to cause another person harassment, alarm or distress'4 which may be deemed a criminal offence.
- Our approach to defining hate crimes and hate incidents is informed by the Universities UK Changing the Culture report.
- The University also adopts the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism: Anti Semitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.
We also add the following caveat recommended by the Home Affairs Select Committee, that:
It is not antisemitic to criticise the government of Israel, without additional evidence to suggest antisemitic intent
It is not antisemitic to hold the Israeli government to the same standards as other liberal democracies, or to take a particular interest in the Israeli government's policies or actions, without additional evidence to suggest antisemitic intent.
- The policy describes a disability as defined in the Equality Act as a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on the individual's ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.
- Section 4 of the Public Order Act 1986 (POA).
Victimisation is defined in this policy as being treated less favourably because you have taken or intend to take action under this Policy, or because you're supporting someone who is taking action.
Examples of victimisation:
- Penalising someone by excluding them from work activities because they have made a report of harassment or bullying.
- A student makes a report alleging that their tutor has made discriminatory remarks and as a result they are ignored by other staff members.