The University is committed to creating a fair, welcoming and inclusive environment where bullying and harassment are unacceptable and where members of its community treat each other with dignity and respect.

Policies and procedures are in place to protect you and to ensure that complaints are resolved.

What is bullying and harassment?

The Equality Act 2010 defines harassment as:

'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.'

A relevant protected characteristic may be the recipient's actual or perceived age, gender, disability or race, for example.

Harassment on the grounds of protected characteristics is against the law. If someone is treated less favourably because they have taken or intend to take action under the Equality Act 2010, or are supporting somebody who is doing so, this is called victimisation and is also unlawful.

Bullying may be characterised as offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behaviour, an abuse or misuse of power through means that undermine, humiliate, denigrate or injure the recipient.

What does it look like?

Examples of harassment include:

  • Making derogatory sexist comments
  • Remarks, banter or jokes about people from different racial backgrounds
  • Calling someone a name linked to his or her age
  • Using insulting terminology when referring to a disabled colleague

Examples of bullying include:

  • Excessive criticism
  • Setting unrealistic deadlines
  • Selective application of rules
  • Being singled out for unfair treatment
  • Offensive behaviour
  • Unwelcome look or remarks
  • Unjustified threats about job security
  • Patronising language
  • Hostility
  • Inappropriate physical contact
  • Social exclusion

It may be verbal, non-verbal, physical, written or by other means of communication including phone, email etc.

Who does it affect?

It can happen to anyone, at any level, in any role. The source of bullying or harassment could be:

  • Another member of staff at the University
  • Your manager or supervisor
  • A member of your staff
  • Student/s from the University
  • Staff or visitors from other organisations

Where bullying or harassment is perceived to come from a manager or supervisor, their management style may be a consideration. Fair and reasonable actions taken by a manager to address performance issues would not be considered to be bullying or harassment. The line between strong management and bullying and harassment is crossed when there is a purposeful, malicious agenda; when intimidating, upsetting or humiliating someone becomes more important than the job or task itself.

What can I do about it?

If you feel you have been harassed or bullied you should act promptly: