Harassment Policy


Statements of Beliefs

Project 6 has a strong value base which guides our work with service users, each other, our partners and other providers. We actively promote kindness and compassion within our workplace.

Project 6 as an organisation is opposed to any form of discrimination, including harassment and bullying being practiced against its employees, volunteers and service users on any grounds (these may include sex, race, religion or culture, marital status, age, physical and or mental disability, or sexuality (this list is not exhaustive)).

Project 6 is committed to achieving genuine equality of opportunity for all of its employees, and fully utilising the talents and resources of its employees (see Project 6’s Equal Opportunities and Diversity Policy – Working for Project 6 Handbook). Project 6 wishes to promote an environment of mutual trust and respect amongst all of its work force.

Early Intervention: There is strong evidence that early and informal intervention is critical in both preventing and managing bullying. Therefore, Project 6 will do all it can to ensure early and inform resolution of issues of bullying or harassment. If these are not successful, the following procedures are available.

Other Project 6 Policies that Relate to and Compliment this Policy

  • Code of Conduct (Working with Service Users Handbook)
  • Equal Opportunities and Diversity Policy (Working for Project 6 Handbook)
  • Terms and Conditions (Working for Project 6 Handbook)
  • Disciplinary and Grievance Procedure (Working for Project 6 Handbook)
  • Whistleblowing Policy (Organisation Handbook)
  • Perform

Definitions of Bullying and Harassment

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.

Harassment as defined in the Equality Act 2010 is:

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.

Various patterns of behaviour are considered acceptable between people as normal forms of social and business interaction, others are considered inappropriate and the recipients may feel harassed or bullied. Harassment and bullying can take many forms and may involve:

  • Inappropriate actions.
  • Persistent offensive, abusive or intimidating behavior.
  • Abuse of power or unfair penal sanctions.
  • Malicious or insulting language.
  • Physical contact that is objectionable or causes offence.
  • Name calling.
  • Excluding a colleague from the team.
  • Non-verbal conduct, for example the displaying of distasteful pictures.

Conduct which may be acceptable or tolerable to one individual, can make another individual feel upset. Being harassed or bullied may be considered to be a form of harassment, for example where it makes an individual feel upset or humiliated.

Project 6 will not condone any form of harassment or bullying in any guise and will support anyone that is receiving such unwelcome behaviour, by undertaking and enforcing its own policies, and any legislation provided by government.

Role of the Manager

The management of Project 6 under no circumstance accepts any form of bullying or unacceptable behaviour from its employees, volunteers and service users:

  • All employees, volunteers and service users will be treated with dignity and respect however it must be understood that such actions should be reciprocated.
  • Project 6 managers must be aware of what is, and what is not acceptable behaviour, and also to be alert to any signs as such. Certain elements of unacceptable behaviour can be covert so particular attention should be made in identifying elements of this type of behaviour.
  • All employees and volunteers of Project 6 should be made aware of the organisations policy on anti-bullying and harassment, and understand their role in implementing this policy.
  • All new volunteers and employees that commence work with Project 6 are to be expected to comply with this policy as part of their induction.
  • Any manager who receives a complaint concerning bullying or harassment will need to understand their role in supporting that individual before, during, and after any investigation surrounding such allegations.
  • Any complaint received by a manager should be dealt with promptly, fairly and with total confidentiality, the rights of all parties must be respected at all times. Anyone seeking further advice or information should refer their query to a member of the Senior Leadership Team.
  • Managers should be aware it is the impact that this behaviour has on the victim or claimant which determines bullying or harassment, not the intent.
  • Many problems in the past have been put down to ‘personality clashes’. Managers must not fall into this trap and be dismissive of any allegation; they should investigate the situation thoroughly.
  • Support for the complainant is vital. It is the manager’s responsibility to ensure that the complainant is not victimised or retaliated against for bringing such a complaint forward.
  • Managers need to ensure that this policy is fully implemented and adhered to.

If necessary any employee should approach the Senior Leadership Team or another Project 6 Manager if they:

  • Do not feel comfortable approaching their line manager.
  • Consider that their line manger may have a conflict of interest.
  • Consider any punitive measure may be brought against them.

Role of the Employee

Employees and volunteers of Project 6 can contribute immensely in preventing any potential cause of harassment and/or bullying from taking place, for example:

  • Employees and volunteers need to be aware that bullying could potentially occur, and they should make sure that they understand the circumstances surrounding such issues.
  • Employees and volunteers need to be aware of their own conduct and behaviour. They may unknowingly be causing offence. What they see as harmless banter or ‘just a bit of fun’ may be misconstrued by others.
  • Some people will not take offence to personal remarks, sarcasm or put downs, but others will. Employees and volunteers need to be absolutely sure that their own prejudices and beliefs are not interfering with how they treat others.

If any employee or volunteer of Project 6 is being bullied or harassed then that individual will not be expected to have to put up with it. However, before any grievance is issued or before any discussions are entered into with line managers, the harassed individual will need to consider the following course of action:

  • Keep a log or journal of actual incidents that occur.
  • Retain any written or physical evidence that would be construed as bullying.
  • Seek support from colleagues or peers.
  • If you have a partner or friend seek reassurance and discuss the issue with them.
  • Visit your GP and ask for their professional help.
  • Any psychiatric injury must be entered into the accident book held by the Finance and Resources Team. Any such entry must be accompanied by a written confirmation to either the CEO or Finance and Resources Manager, especially if this “accident” results in any absences from work.
  • Any unwarranted criticisms in public or on record can be dealt with officially by legal means through a solicitor.
  • Only as a last resort should any consideration of leaving employment be taken into account. Any employee or volunteer that has reached such a stage should see the CEO or member of the Senior Leadership Team prior to any final decision.

Any employee or volunteer working for Project 6 should remember that if they see or hear something relating to harassment or bullying, and do not undertake any form of action, they will be seen as condoning this kind of behaviour and colluding with the bully.

Procedure – for when informal attempts have not been successful.

The staff member makes a complaint in writing
Stage 1a & 1bWithin 5 working days or as soon as reasonably practicableThe written complaint is acknowledged by the CEO/SLTThe CEO/SLT will appoint a designated Manager/Trustee1.   Written complaint to Manager/CEO2.   Identify complaint type3.   Record4.   Appoint Designed Manager/Trustee5.   Offer support to both complainant and subject of complaint
Stage 2aWithin 2 weeks or as soon as reasonably practicableInvestigation of the complaint.Identify any witnesses. Both the complainant and the subject of the complaint may be accompanied by a colleague or union representative.1.   Record2.   Interview complainer3.   Interview subject of complaint4.   Interview witnesses5.   Summary of evidence6.   Managers decision
Stage 2bWithin 2 WD or as soon as reasonably practicableTake action, if required, to separate the subject of the complaint from the complainant.1.   Talk to Line Mangers2.   Consider the impact on the rest of the team3.   Where the subject of the complaint will work, the communication required.4.   Involve VAS for support and guidance
Stage 3Within 5WDCEO/SLT will make the final decision based on evidence provided.1.   Record2.   Make decision on outcome of investigation
Stage 4Within 5WDAfter the investigation, the result will be confirmed to both parties in writing.1.   Record2.   Letter to complainer and complaint
Stage 5Within 5WDDecision on outcomeTake appropriate action1.   Record2.   Identify relevant policy.3.   Identify training and support plan
Stage 6Within 7WDIf complainant is unhappy, with either the outcome or the procedure, appeal to the Chair of the Board of Trustees.1.   Appeal in writing to the Chair of the Board of Trustees2.   Record3.   Written outcome to both parties, final decision.
Stage 7Within 7WDEmployee who is disciplined for harassment / discrimination / victimisation or bulling may appeal against the decision under Project 6 Disciplinary Procedure.1.   Appeal in writing.2.   Record.3.   Outcome in writing.