Policy on dealing with Harassment

Wholegrain is committed to ensuring equal opportunities and fair treatment in the workplace for all employees. One of the key aims of this policy is to enable the organisation to provide a working environment in which all staff feel comfortable and in which everyone is treated with respect and dignity, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, transgender status, marital or family status, colour, race, nationality, ethnic or national origins, creed, culture, religion or belief, age, disability or any other personal factor or quality.

Policy Aim

This policy aims to ensure that no employee, or other worker within the organisation, is subjected to any form of harassment or bullying. The purpose of this policy is to provide a route for employees who believe that they have been harassed or bullied to raise a complaint, either informally or formally.

The company will treat all complaints of harassment seriously and will investigate them promptly, efficiently and in confidence. The main aim of this policy is to provide a framework for resolving complaints of harassment or bullying and for stopping any behaviour that is causing offence or distress.

Your right to raise a complaint

Employees have an absolute right to complain if they are treated in a manner that they believe constitutes harassment or bullying. This will include behaviour that has caused offence, humiliation, embarrassment or distress. Apart from complaints about the behaviour of colleagues, employees have the right to complain if they believe that they have been bullied or harassed by a third party, for example, a client or supplier. Employees who raise a genuine complaint under this policy will under no circumstances be subjected to any unfavourable treatment or victimisation as a result of making a complaint.

However, if it is established that an employee has made a deliberately false or malicious complaint against another person about harassment or bullying, disciplinary action will be taken against that employee.

Any employee who witnesses an incident that they believe to be the harassment or bullying of another member of staff should report the incident in confidence either to the Company Directors or Team Admin. The company will take all such reports seriously and will treat the information in strict confidence, as far as it is possible to do so.

How to make a complaint

Before raising a formal complaint, the employee is encouraged in the first instance to talk directly and informally to the person whom they believes is harassing them and explain clearly what aspect of the person’s behaviour is unacceptable, or is causing offence, and request that it stop. It may be that the person whose conduct is causing offence is genuinely unaware that their behaviour is unwelcome or objectionable and that a direct approach can resolve the matter without the need for formal action. Where an employee would like support to make such an approach, they should contact the Directors or Team Admin.

If, however, the employee feels unable to take this course of action, if they have already approached the person to no avail, or if the harassment is of a very serious nature, they may elect to raise a formal complaint. Formal complaints may be raised with Directors or Team Admin.

In bringing a complaint of harassment/bullying, the employee should be prepared to state:

  • The name of the person whose behaviour they believe amounts to harassment or bullying
  • The type of behaviour that is causing offence, together with specific examples if possible
  • Dates and times when incidents of harassment or bullying occurred, and where they occurred
  • The names of any employees who witnessed any incidents, or who themselves may have been the victims of harassment or bullying by the same person; and
  • Any action that the employee has already taken to try to deal with the harassment.

The responsible person who receives a complaint of harassment has a duty to investigate the matter thoroughly and objectively and to take corrective action in order to ensure that the organisation’s policy is complied with. The responsible person should be responsive and supportive towards any employee who raises a genuine complaint of harassment or bullying. All incidents of harassment/bullying should, in any event, be reported to the appointed person.

The organisation reserves the right, at its discretion, to suspend any employee who is under investigation for harassment or bullying for a temporary period whilst investigations are being carried out. Such suspension will be for as short a time as possible and will be on full pay.

Any employee accused of harassment or bullying will be informed of the exact nature of the complaint against them and afforded a full opportunity to challenge the allegations and put forward an explanation for their behaviour in a confidential interview, with a companion present if they wish. No employee will be presumed guilty following an allegation of harassment or bullying against them.

The organisation regards all forms of harassment and bullying as serious misconduct and any employee who is found to have harassed or bullied a colleague will be liable to disciplinary action, up to and including summary dismissal.

The organisation will maintain records of investigations into alleged incidents of harassment or bullying, the outcome of the investigations and any corrective or disciplinary action taken. These records will be maintained in confidence and in line with the provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998.

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