- Policy outline
Study Mind recognises that all employees have a right to work and students the right to study in an environment in which the dignity of individuals is respected and which is free from harassment and bullying. It is committed to eliminating intimidation in any form.
The Policy applies to harassment on the grounds of disability, gender, marital status, sexual orientation, age, creed, colour, race or ethnic origin.
Harassment breaches Study Mind Policy as outlined and it is classified as a serious offence which may result in disciplinary action including summary dismissal under the Disciplinary Procedure.
The Policy applies to all staff, students, partners and representatives.
2a. Harassment is generally described as “unwanted conduct which affects the dignity of women or men at work; it encompasses unwelcome physical, verbal or non-verbal behaviour which denigrates or ridicules or is intimidatory”. The essential characteristic of harassment is that the action(s) is unwanted by the recipient.
The following interpretations and examples of harassment may be helpful in determining whether harassment has taken place.
“Harassment can take many forms and may be directed in particular against women and ethnic minorities or towards people because of their age, disability, gender / gender reassignment, marriage / civil partnership, pregnancy / maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, or sexual orientation. It may involve action, behaviour, comment or physical contact which is found objectionable or which causes offence; it can result in the recipient feeling threatened, humiliated or patronised and it can create an intimidating work environment.”
“Sexual harassment can be defined as an uninvited, unreciprocated and unwelcome behaviour of a sexual nature which is offensive to the person involved and causes that person to feel threatened, humiliated or embarrassed. Examples of sexual harassment are:
- requests for sexual favours, including implied or overt promises of preferential treatment or threats concerning present or future employment status;
- offensive gestures or comments;
- sexually-orientated jibes, innuendo or jokes;
- unwanted physical contact;
- the display of sexually offensive visual material such as calendars, photographs, books or videos.
Sexual harassment may be experienced by men or women as a result of the conduct of men or women. It applies equally regardless of grade or level of job and may also occur when dealing with external clients and/or members of the public”.
Racial or Sectarian Harassment
“In the workplace, racial or sectarian harassment may take the form of actual or threatened physical abuse or it may involve offensive jokes, verbal abuse, language, graffiti or literature of a racist or sectarian nature or offensive remarks about a person’s skin colour, physical characteristics or religion. It may also include repeated exclusion of a person from an ethnic or religious minority from conversations, patronising remarks, unfair allocation of work or pressure about the speed and/or quality of their work in a way which differs from the treatment of other employees.”
“Bullying is the intimidation or belittling of someone through the misuse of power or position which leaves the recipient feeling hurt, upset, vulnerable or helpless. It is often inextricably linked to the areas of harassment described above. The following are examples of bullying:
- Unjustified criticism of an individual’s personal or professional performance, shouting at an individual, criticising an individual in front of others.
- Spreading malicious rumours or making malicious allegations.
- Intimidation or ridicule of individuals with disabilities and /or learning difficulties.
- Ignoring or excluding an individual from the team / group“.
Cyberbullying may be defined as ‘the use of electronic communication, particularly mobile phones and the internet, to bully a person, typically by sending messages of an intimidating or threatening nature: children and adults may be reluctant to admit to being the victims of cyberbullying’. It can take a number of different forms: threats and intimidation, harassment or ‘cyber-stalking’ (e.g. repeatedly sending unwanted texts or instant messages), sexting (e.g sending and receiving sexually explicit messages, primarily between mobile phones) vilification/defamation, exclusion/peer rejection, impersonation, unauthorised publication of private information/images and ‘trolling’ (abusing the internet to provoke or offend others online). It can be an extension of face-to-face bullying, with technology providing the bully with another route to harass their target.
However it differs from other forms of bullying in several significant ways:
• by facilitating a far more extreme invasion of personal space. Cyberbullying can take place at any time and intrude into spaces that have previously been regarded as safe and personal.
• the potential for anonymity on the part of the bully. This can be extremely distressing for the victim
• the potential for the bully to play very rapidly to a larger audience so the scale and scope of cyberbullying can be greater than for other forms of bullying.
• through the knowledge that the data is in the world-wide domain, disproportionately amplifying the negative effect on the victim, even though the bully may feel his / her actual actions had been no worse than conventional forms of bullying
• the difficulty in controlling electronically circulated messages as more people get drawn in as accessories. By passing on a humiliating picture or message a bystander becomes an accessory to the bullying.
• the profile of the bully and target can be different to other forms of bullying as cyberbullying can take place between peers and across generations. Teachers can be victims and age and size are not important.
• many cyberbullying incidents can themselves act as evidence so it is important the victim saves the information.
Bullying is never acceptable and Study Mind fully recognises its duty to protect all of its members and to provide a safe, healthy environment for everyone.
As with all forms of bullying the best way to deal with cyberbullying is to prevent it happening in the first place. There is no single solution to the problem of cyberbullying but Study Mind’s Designated Safeguarding Lead will take overall responsibility for:
• the co-ordination and implementation of cyberbullying prevention and response strategies.
• ensure that all incidents of cyberbullying at Study Mind are dealt with immediately and will be managed and/or escalated in line with the procedures set out in the Study Mind’s Anti-bullying Policy and and Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy.
• ensure that all policies relating to safeguarding, including cyberbullying are reviewed and updated regularly
• ensure that all employees know that they need to report any issues concerning cyberbullying to the Designated Safeguarding Lead.
• ensure that all staff are informed and attention is drawn annually to the cyberbullying policy so that they are fully aware of Study Mind’s responsibility relating to safeguarding pupils and their welfare.
• The Anti Bullying Policy is available at all times on the company website
As Study Mind also works with children, incidences of bullying could also be Safeguarding issues. Please see further down this policy for specific procedures for under 18s. For further information on this, please see Safeguarding and Code of Conduct policies.
Prejudice-based and discriminatory bullying
Prejudicial bullying and discriminatory bullying is based on prejudice towards people because of a particular aspect of their identity. This type of bullying can result in hate crimes.
Bullying behaviour that relates to actual or perceived differences may be as a result of prejudice. The Equalities Act 2010 identifies 9 protected characteristics in relation to prejudice-based bullying. These are:
- Age (not schools).
- Gender reassignment.
- Marriage and civil partnership (not schools).
- Pregnancy and maternity.
- Religion or belief.
- Sexual orientation.
Study Mind acknowledges that prejudice-based bullying includes the protected characteristics but prejudice can and does extend beyond these and can lead to bullying for a variety of reasons which may include Additional Support Needs, Asylum Seekers and Refugees, Body image and Physical Appearance, Social or Economic status, Looked After Children and Young People, Young Carers, and Mental Health.
Prejudice-related incidents can take many forms, including prejudicial language, ridicule, and jokes, verbal abuse, and graffiti. Not all incidents of bullying will be prejudice-related incidents and not all prejudice-related incidents will involve bullying.
Prejudicial-related incidents do not just impact on the individual involved, but are an attack on someone who is a representative of a community or group, which means the impact is felt more widely. This has the potential to spread fear and/or create a hostile environment.
Study Mind tutors recognise no one deserves to be a person on the receiving end of bullying or prejudicial behaviour. Everybody has the right to be treated with respect. Pupils who are bullying or being prejudiced need to learn different ways of behaving. Study Mind has a responsibility to respond promptly and effectively to issues of bullying and prejudice as outlined below.
What are the signs and symptoms of bullying and prejudice?
A child may indicate by signs or behaviour that he or she is being affected by bullying behaviour or prejudice. Study Mind staff should be aware of these possible signs and that they should investigate if a child:
- is frightened of going to or from school or truants
- changes their usual routine
- becomes withdrawn, anxious or lacking in confidence
- starts stammering
- attempts or threatens suicide or runs away
- cries themselves to sleep at night or has nightmares
- feels ill in the morning
- begins to do poorly in school work
- comes home with clothes torn or books damaged
- has possessions which are damaged or ” go missing”
- asks for money or starts stealing money (to pay bully)
- has dinner or other monies continually “lost”
- has unexplained cuts or bruises
- comes home hungry (money / lunch has been stolen)
- becomes aggressive, disruptive or unreasonable
- is bullying other children or siblings
- stops eating
- is frightened to say what’s wrong
- gives improbable excuses for any of the above
- is afraid to use the internet or mobile phone
- is nervous & jumpy when a cyber message is received.
Please note, these signs and behaviours could indicate other problems, but bullying or prejudice should be considered a possibility and should be investigated.
3a. Every manager has an obligation to prevent harassment / bullying and to take immediate action once it has been identified, whether or not a complaint has been made.
Allegations of harassment or bullying, received either informally or formally, must be dealt with promptly and sensitively.
It is important that managers recognise that sexual harassment is any sexual advance unwanted by the recipient or behaviour which causes offence to the recipient. Similarly, racial harassment is behaviour which is racially offensive to the recipient. Managers must therefore take care to ensure that they do not pre-judge situations based on their own sexual or racial attitudes and perceptions.
It may not always be appropriate for a line manager to be involved with specific complaints. For example, if the complainant is male and wishes to speak to a male, but the manager is female, or, if the complaint relates to the conduct of the line manager. The procedure below sets out the alternatives for such instances.
3b. Every employee has a personal responsibility NOT to harass or bully other members of staff.
An employee who becomes aware of harassment or bullying occurring should bring the matter to the attention of his/her manager.
An employee who feels that he/she has been harassed or bullied has a right to seek redress via the procedures set out below.
An employee who feels that he/she is being subjected to harassment or bullying may attempt to resolve the matter informally in the first instance. In some cases it may be possible and sufficient for him/her to explain clearly to the person(s) engaged in the unwanted activities that the behaviour is unwelcome, that it offends or makes him/her uncomfortable.
- If at the initial informal discussion stage the circumstances are too difficult or embarrassing to approach the harasser alone, the complainant may wish to be accompanied by a friend or colleague;
- the complainant may wish to write a letter to the harasser (research has shown this to be very effective);
- the complainant should keep a record of any incidents, detailing when, where, what occurred, and witnesses (if any);
- in some cases victims of harassment or bullying may not be sufficiently confident to tell the harasser that his or her behaviour is unacceptable. Study Mind emphasises therefore that staff are not required to approach the harasser in an attempt to resolve the problem informally, and are entitled to report the matter immediately if they so wish.
Where the steps outlined above are unsuccessful or inappropriate, the complainant should raise the matter informally and in confidence with his/her manager. Alternatively, the matter may be raised with a more senior manager (if felt necessary this could be of the same sex as the complainant).
If the complaint relates to the conduct of the complainant’s manager, the complainant may choose to discuss the matter with his/her manager’s line manager.
The Manager will discuss the matter with the complainant and agree a course of action. The complainant may be accompanied by a representative or work colleague at these meetings. The alleged harasser will also have the right to state their version of events to the manager and to also be accompanied by a representative or colleague.
The complainant must be assured that he/she will not be discriminated against or victimised for raising the complaint. Confidentiality will be observed throughout and the need for any disclosure of the details of the case will be discussed and agreed.
At any stage of the process the complainant, the manager dealing with the complaint or the accused may feel that they need the help of an independent person before deciding on the best course of action. The Company will seek the advice of a suitable trained persons who can give confidential advice and assistance, including:
- advising on the nature of harassment;
- offering guidance on resolving harassment problems, including acting as an independent broker
If the situation cannot be resolved informally then the complainant has the right to pursue his or her complaint formally via the Company’s Complaints Policy.
Where management consider that there may be evidence of harassment, they may consider it appropriate to undertake a full investigation of the circumstances. In this case a manager not connected with the department involved, or an individual external to the Company will be commissioned to undertake this investigation. Best practice in relation to confidentiality will be maintained during this investigation; and both the complainant and alleged harasser will have the opportunity to have their say. The investigator will also interview and take statements from any appropriate witnesses to the alleged harassment.
Where there is evidence that harassment has occurred, prompt and corrective action will be taken, including disciplinary action where appropriate. Harassment is a serious offence which may result in summary dismissal.
All staff will be informed of the Harassment and Bullying Policy and Procedure. They must be re-assured regarding:
- fear that others will consider the behaviour trivial and not take complaints of harassment seriously;
- fear that no action will be taken against a person guilty of harassment;
- fear of retaliation or victimisation in registering a complaint either informally or formally through the Complaints Policy.
The Harassment and Bullying Policy will be part of staff induction.
Training will be provided for those employees who have a specific responsibility for implementing this Procedure or who may be involved in dealing with complaints which arise. Please see job descriptions for further information.
- Under 18s
7a. There is no such thing as an adult bullying a child- this is abuse. Any incidences of harassment or bullying for a child by an adult comes under the Safeguarding Policy.
7b. Students under 18 are not permitted to have direct contact. Measure put in place to help are (but not limited to):
- Secure, individual group chats
- Secure personal information
- No sharing of personal information such as emails or phone numbers in group settings
- No sharing of social media accounts in group settings
- Strict rules around sharing of materials and set up of any groups
7c. Study Mind can not be held responsible for incidences of bullying in a non-Study Mind setting (for example, during an in-school class) but will report all and any incidences between students to responsible parties and provide evidence where needed and possible.
In order to assess the effectiveness of the Procedure, statistics will be maintained in respect of the complaints of harassment. Strict confidentiality will be maintained and the monitoring process will comply with the Data Protection Act.
The effectiveness of this policy will be reviewed regularly.