All employees are entitled to be treated with respect and are expected to treat others likewise. Harassment, sexual harassment or bullying in any form will not be tolerated. Such wholly unacceptable forms of behaviour will be in breach of Company policy and are likely to constitute gross misconduct warranting dismissal. In many instances they will also be illegal.
Each employee is required to support this Company policy by bringing instances where such behaviour has occurred to the attention of the HR department or a Director at an early stage and by co-operating with an investigation whether as complainant, the person complained of or as a witness.
The monitoring, review and appraisal of performance is an essential part of the management function and all Managers are required to monitor effectively the performance of their staff. Managers should be open with staff about performance, attendance or general conduct and effective management may require critical comments to individuals about issues relevant to their responsibilities. However, such criticism should not be personalised but directed against the conduct or performance of a member of staff. Bullying does not arise, where critical comments are made in an honest and constructive manner, are backed up by clear facts and are imparted in a reasonable way.
Any employee who believes himself or herself to be a victim of harassment, sexual harassment or bullying should:-
v Where possible, make it clear to the offending person that the behaviour is offensive; keep a record of the first and any subsequent incident of harassment, sexual harassment or bullying as it occurs and request witnesses, if any, also to note them;
v Report the matter to her or his line Manager or, if the line Manager is the person against whom the complaint is being made, report the matter to the HR department or Company Secretary;
v The Manager receiving the complaint shall, where appropriate and with the consent of the complainant and the person against whom the complaint is made, seek to resolve the matter informally;
v If it is not appropriate or possible to resolve the matter informally, initiate the grievance procedure.
If the complaint is upheld the HR department, having regard to the nature of the behaviour alleged, the report of the chairman of the initial grievance hearing or the appeal hearing (if held) and any other appropriate information, shall decide whether the matter should be pursued as a disciplinary issue.
Even if a complaint is not upheld, staff can be assured that genuine complaints will not be viewed as malicious. While a malicious complaint will generally be treated as serious misconduct under the disciplinary procedure,
The appeal will be a rehearing of the case. The director hearing the appeal will review the evidence already produced at the previous stage and make such enquiries as may seem appropriate. The employee will be given the opportunity to state his/her case. Where new evidence comes to light, it may be appropriate to adjourn the meeting for further investigation.
The Company will notify the employee of the decision as soon as is practicable, usually within five days, and confirm what action, if any, is to be taken.