Bullying and Harassment

The RNCM has a zero tolerance policy to bullying and harassment.

We believe that every member of staff has the right to work in a supportive environment, free from harassment, bullying and victimisation. Similarly, every student at the RNCM has the right to study and be taught in an environment that is supportive and free from harassment, bullying and victimisation.

Our policies on Dignity at Work (staff) and Bullying and Harassment (students) explain the standards of behaviour the RNCM expects from its staff and students. It also tells you what you should do if you feel you’re being bullied, harassed or victimised, or if you witness any inappropriate behaviour.

All staff must treat colleagues/staff/students/customers with courtesy and respect, and not participate in, or condone, any act of harassment, bullying or victimisation. We expect everyone to be familiar with the RNCM Codes of Conduct.

You can read more about bullying, harassment and victimisation below. If you’re a member of staff and would like to view the Dignity at Work training, please contact HR on ext 439 or email human.resources@rncm.ac.uk.

What is bullying?

Bullying is offensive, intimidating, malicious, insulting or humiliating behaviour, often associated with the misuse of power or authority, which aims to undermine, humiliate or injure the person on the receiving end. It is different from the way you feel when you are under pressure, or when you make a mistake and are legitimately called to account for this in private.

Examples of bullying are:

  • You are singled out for criticism when others have made the same mistake
  • Criticism is not constructive and does not help you improve
  • Criticism is in public and deliberately humiliating
  • You are set targets that are known to be unachievable
  • You are physically abused

What is not bullying:

  • Acting assertively
  • Requesting someone to amend their behaviour
  • Disagreeing with someone point of view
  • Making a single critical remark about another person (provided it is not classed as racist, sexist etc.)
  • A single instance of behaviour which is not repeated.

 

What is Harassment?

Harassment is unwanted conduct that violates your dignity or creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for you, having regard to all the circumstances including your perception of the conduct. The behaviour may be intentional which is obvious or violent but it can also be unintentional or subtle and insidious. Examples are:

  • Sexual harassment: unwelcome comments, jokes, innuendo, teasing and verbal abuse; displaying sexually suggestive material; unwelcome comments on your dress, appearance or marital status; condemnation or ridicule of you because of your sexual orientation; unwelcome physical contact.
  • Racial harassment: conduct or comments based on race, colour or ethnicity which is offensive to you (or others); derogatory remarks or jokes; display of racially offensive material or graffiti; deliberate isolation.
  • Personal harassment: inappropriate comments about your disability, socio-economic group, sexual orientation, religion or any other form of personal victimisation.

What is Victimisation?

Victimisation is treating you (or others) less favourably than other people because you have, in good faith, complained that someone has been bullying or harassing you or someone else, or where you have supported someone else who has made a complaint. This includes isolating you (or someone else) or giving you more/worse work because you have made a complaint.

Support for Students

Support is available from a number of other sources at the College and within the pages of our RNCM Zero campaign. More information on these and help for student wellbeing are available on Moodle and the Students’ Union website.

Support for Staff

Staff being bullied, harassed or victimised by another member of staff

If you believe you’re being bullied, harassed or victimised by another member of staff, there is a process outlined in the RNCM policy on Dignity at Work (‘the policy’), which is summarised below. Wherever you find yourself in the process, you should seek support from your Line Manager, HR or your trade union representative.

Step 1

If this is a person who has management responsibility for you, consider whether this behaviour could be standard management practice. Bullying and harassment are more than a ‘firm’ management style. Positive, clear management action which relates to conduct or performance or legitimate operational needs, providing this action is taken in a fair and consistent way and in line with RNCM policies, does not constitute bullying or harassment.

Similarly, a manager may sometimes make a decision or issue an instruction which a member of staff considers unreasonable. If such action does not fall within the definitions of bullying, harassment or victimisation, as described in previous pages, the member of staff may still have a legitimate grievance, however, this would need to be pursued under the RNCM’s normal grievance procedures. These procedures take into account the fact that a manager will sometimes have to take action or make a decision which staff may not agree with (if, for example, this action or decision is in the best interests of the RNCM or of the school/department/team concerned) and balance this fact with the individual circumstances of the case.

Step 2
If your colleague’s behaviour isn’t standard management/learning and teaching practice, would you feel comfortable trying to resolve the issue informally? Section 5.1 of the policy will give you some ideas on how to go about this.

Step 3
If you don’t feel you can resolve the issue informally, or you’ve already tried and this didn’t work, would you consider mediation? HR can arrange mediation if you think this would be helpful.

Step 4
If you’re not comfortable trying mediation, or it hasn’t resolved the issue, the next step is to submit an informal complaint.  Section 5.1 will tell you how to do this.

Step 5
If your informal complaint hasn’t resolved the issue, the final step in the process is to submit a formal complaint through the RNCM’s grievance procedures.  The grievance policy advises how to go about this. Your complaint will be investigated fairly and thoroughly by a trained investigator.

If you need help, support, advice or clarification throughout any of the process, please don’t hesitate to contact HR.

Staff being bullied, harassed or victimised by a student

If you believe you’re being bullied, harassed or victimised by a student, the process to be followed is broadly the same as for dealing with a complaint against a member of staff. This is summarised below.  Wherever you find yourself in the process, you should seek support from your Line Manager or HR.

Step 1
Do you feel comfortable trying to resolve the issue informally? Section 5.1 of the policy will give you some ideas on how to go about this.

Step 2
If you don’t feel you can resolve the issue informally, or you’ve already tried and this didn’t work, you should discuss the matter with your Line Manager or Head of School/Programme/Department to help you liaise with the student (or they could on your behalf).

Step 3
If discussion with your line Manager or Head of School/Programme/Department has not helped to resolve the issue, you should submit a formal complaint in writing through the RNCM’s disciplinary regulations.

If you need help, support, advice or clarification throughout any of the process, please don’t hesitate to contact HR.

Additional Support

Support is also available from your Line Manager, HR, or you can contact CareFirst, our employee assistance programme provider. You may also find this advice from ACAS helpful.