Bullying & Harassment Policy

ASHCROFT LEADS

  • Doctor:   Dr Ramesh Mehay & Dr Sudhir Krishnan
  • Nurse: – 
  • Admin:  Chris Rushton 

DATE REVIEWED:

11th June 2018

DATE OF NEXT REVIEW:

June 2019

The Policy/Protocol

This surgery believes 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.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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.

In some cases, the practice needs to process data to ensure that it is complying with its legal obligations. For example, it is required to check an employee’s entitlement to work in the UK, to deduct tax, to comply with health and safety laws and to enable employees to take periods of leave to which they are entitled. It is necessary to carry out criminal records checks to ensure that individuals are permitted to undertake the role in question.

In other cases, the practice has a legitimate interest in processing personal data before, during and after the end of the employment relationship. Processing employee data allows the practice to:

  • run recruitment and promotion processes;
  • maintain accurate and up-to-date employment records and contact details (including details of who to contact in the event of an emergency), and records of employee contractual and statutory rights;
  • operate and keep a record of disciplinary and grievance processes, to ensure acceptable conduct within the workplace;
  • operate and keep a record of employee performance and related processes, to plan for career development, and for succession planning and workforce management purposes;
  • operate and keep a record of absence and absence management procedures, to allow effective workforce management and ensure that employees are receiving the pay or other benefits to which they are entitled;
  • obtain occupational health advice, to ensure that it complies with duties in relation to individuals with disabilities, meet its obligations under health and safety law, and ensure that employees are receiving the pay or other benefits to which they are entitled;
  • operate and keep a record of other types of leave (including maternity, paternity, adoption, parental and shared parental leave), to allow effective workforce management, to ensure that the practice complies with duties in relation to leave entitlement, and to ensure that employees are receiving the pay or other benefits to which they are entitled;
  • ensure effective general HR and business administration;
  • provide references on request for current or former employees;
  • respond to and defend against legal claims; and
  • maintain and promote equality in the workplace.]

Where the practice relies on legitimate interests as a reason for processing data, it has considered whether or not those interests are overridden by the rights and freedoms of employees or workers and has concluded that they are not.

Some special categories of personal data, such as information about health or medical conditions, is processed to carry out employment law obligations (such as those in relation to employees with disabilities and for health and safety purposes).  Where the practice processes other special categories of personal data, such as information about ethnic origin, sexual orientation, health or religion or belief, this is done for the purposes of equal opportunities monitoring.

HOW TO HANDLE THE VICTIM
  • Listen carefully if someone comes to you with a complaint – don’t interrupt them.  Stop what you are doing and give them all your attention (but you may need to pick a time and venue for a full discussion).
  • Focus on the behaviour, not the individual.  Talk about the effects of the behaviour.
  • Be sensitive – it’s a sensitive matter.
HOW TO HANDLE THE ALLEGED ‘BULLY’
  • Focus on the behaviour, not the individual.  Talk about the effects of the behaviour.
  • Explore reasons (but remember, reasons do not excuse behaviour)
  • Be sensitive – it’s a sensitive matter.
SOME DO’S AND DONT’S
  • Do not be dismissive.   Not wanting to ‘rock the boat’ is not a good reason!   Neither is a fear of the bully.  If the bully is otherwise a good worker – that’s still no excuse for not doing anything about it.  And ignoring it will not mean it will go away.
  • Be approachable.  Show that you take it seriously and want to understand the situation better.   Listen rather than offer excuses for the other person.
  • Stay calm and use non-confrontational language.    Use open questions (rather than closed), explore, reflect and summarise what you have heard.
  • If you don’t know what to do next, seek help and advice (from doctors’ meeting, contact ACAS: www.acas.org.uk 0300 123 1100)
  • Consider counselling, mediation, training or even disciplinary action.
MEDIATION
  • Involves both parties being present and a third party to mediate the discussion between the two.
  • It’s important to get each party (in turn) to say what they wish to convey.
  • But try and facilitate the session so that what is conveyed is the EFFECT of the behaviour on the victim rather than pointing the finger at the perceived aggressor.  The aim is to get the discussion revolving around the victim rather than the aggressor.  In other words, rather than wagging one’s finger at the aggressor (which might result in defensiveness), to explore what it did to the victim (so that the aggressor understand and makes his/her own conclusions for themselves).
  • After one party has spoken, it is always worthwhile getting the other person to summarise in their own words what they have heard before talking about their own thing.   |This helps the other person feel that they have been listened to and their concerns acknowledged and respected.