Bullying & Harassment Policy

Practice Leads

  • Doctors: Ramesh Mehay & Sudhir Krishnan
  • Admin: Chris Rushton & Pam Brown

Date Reviewed

8th August 2016

Date of Next Review

September 2017

At Ashcroft Surgery we believe that workers should be treated with dignity and respect at work.     Bullying and harassment of any kind is in no-ones interest and goes against principles promoting dignity and respect in the workplace.  It is disruptive and will not be tolerated in the organisation.  In addition, the Health and Safety Executive advise that employers have a “legal duty to take reasonable care to ensure health is not placed at risk through excessive and sustained level of stress”.

Why we have a policy

  • To create a climate in which all types of bullying and harassment are regarded as unacceptable.
  • To promote a secure and happy environment free from threat, harassment and any type of bullying behaviour.
  • To take positive action to prevent bullying and harassment from occurring
  • To show commitment to overcome bullying and harassment by practising zero tolerance

 What to do if you think you are being harassed or bullied

  • In the first instance make it clear to the person causing the offence, that their behaviour is unacceptable to you.
  • It may be helpful to keep diary or record of any incidents
  • If you feel unable to do this, seek a confidential meeting with any one on the list of contact persons (see below). You may bring a friend or colleague if you wish.

Who to raise your concerns with (Contact Persons)

  1. Assistant Practice Manager (Pam Brown)
  2. Practice Manager (Chris Rushton)
  3. GP Partner  (Drs. Mehay, Khan, Krishnan & Vijayakumar).

What will the surgery do?

  • To treat all incidents fairly, sensitively and in the strictest confidence.
  • Listen to all parties involved in the incident.
  • Investigate as fully as possible.
  • Take appropriate action to resolve.   (May be necessary for management to refer to grievance procedures/treat as disciplinary offence)
  • Record all incidents of bullying
  • Promote the use of strategies which challenge bullying behaviour.

Advice for Line Managers

More about Harassment and Bullying

Harassment (Equality Act 2010) is behaviour which:

  • violates an individual's dignity (i.e. they are demeaning) OR
  • creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for that individual AND
  • is based around breaking one or more of the 9 protected characteristics.
    1. Age
    2. Disability
    3. Gender reassignment
    4. Marriage and civil partnership
    5. Pregnancy and maternity
    6. Race
    7. Religion and belief
    8. Sex - man or woman
    9. Sexual Orientation

Bullying is behaviour which

  • can be offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting
  • involves an abuse or misuse of power
  • attempts to undermine, humiliate or hurt someone's feelings
  • is usually repeated and habitual.

One essential prerequisite is the perception, by the bully or by others, of an imbalance of social or physical power.  It is unacceptable to say to a work colleague something like 'Don't worry, he's often like that, you'll get used to it' - this implies unacceptable behaviour that needs challenging.   A failure to do something about it (i.e. inaction) puts the organisation at risk in terms of vicarious liability.

Examples of Harrasment

Remember, in all the examples below, determine which of the 9 protected characteristics are being broken.  Again, we consider these unacceptable.

  • Using provocative language
  • patronising manner
  • Innuendo/mockery
  • Unwanted comments on dress/appearance
  • Unwelcome touch/physical contact
  • Assault/ Sexual Assault
  • Pin-ups and displays of explicit material
  • Denigration of religion or belief  (it's okay to have a discussion about beliefs, but not to be offensive or insulting of someone else's beliefs if they don't marry with yours).

Examples of Bullying

We consider the following examples as unacceptable behaviour.

  • Shouting at people
  • Ignoring or excluding people
  • Unpredictable behaviour
  • Non-constructive criticism
  • Personal Insults
  • Setting impossible targets (=setting up people to fail!)
  • Making inconsistent demands (=setting up people to fail!)
  • Undermining confidence by threatening job security
  • Removing areas of responsibility
  • Intentionally blocking training or promotion opportunities (e.g. 'Oh, forget it.  It's easier just to do it myself')

The key factor is the effect on the individual NOT the intention of the 'bully'.

The differences between bullying and harassment

  • Harassment can be a single act (e.g. pinching someone's bum) but bullying is usually repeated and persistent.
  • Did you know that harassment is defined under a legal framework but bullying is not.  That means that you cannot take someone to court for bullying but you can for harassment.   However, this should not deter anyone from bringing up cases of bullying or harassment with their line managers at the work place.   Both are treated seriously at Ashcroft Surgery and our remit is to make things better.