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Dignity at Work Policy

Latest revision: 18 November 2019

Everyone has the right to be treated with dignity and respect at work.
Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch operates a zero-tolerance approach to harassment, bullying and victimisation

This policy explains:
• the behaviours that you are expected to demonstrate at work
• what bullying, harassment and victimisation means
• what you need to do if you think you are being bullied, harassed or victimised.

This policy applies to all staff members, agency workers, contractors, associates and anyone else engaged to work with the Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch, whether by direct contract with the organisation or otherwise.
It covers bullying and harassment in the workplace and in any work-related setting outside the workplace, for example, tours, business trips and work-related social events.

What is my responsibility?
Everyone is responsible for their own behaviour and you should:
• treat everyone with dignity and respect
• not bully or harass anyone
• not victimise or attempt to victimise anyone who has made complaints of discrimination, or provided information to support a complaint
• report incidents to your manager if you think they are inappropriate
• you may also contact your union, if you are a member of one, for an informal discussion of your concerns.
Managers will make sure that staff reporting to them are aware of this policy and must take action if they become aware that bullying, harassment or victimisation is happening.

What is harassment?
Harassment can be any unwanted attention or behaviour due to a person’s race, sex or any other equality
characteristic (e.g. sexual orientation) that a person finds objectionable or offensive, and which makes them feel threatened or uncomfortable, leading to a loss of dignity or self-respect. It may be persistent or an isolated incident.
Harassment can take many forms and may include the following, which is not exhaustive:
• Unnecessary and unwanted physical contact ranging from touching to serious sexual or physical assault.
• Derogatory or degrading comments about a person’s race, sex or any other equality characteristic.
• Unwanted non-verbal conduct, including sexually suggestive gestures, staring and leering.
• Unwelcome sexual advances, propositions or pressure for sexual activity including offensive suggestive remarks, innuendoes or lewd comments and suggestions that sexual favours may result in employment benefit (or that refusal of such suggestions may result in some form of detriment).
• Continued suggestions for social activity outside the work place after it has been made clear that such suggestions are unwelcome.
• Display, storage or circulation of offensive material (including pictures, objects, written materials or information held on computer).
• Unfair treatment, which might include deliberate exclusion from conversations or events at work, for reasons based on a person’s race, sex or any other equality characteristic.
• Comments which have the effect of isolating or humiliating a member of staff by reason of their race, sex or any other equality characteristic.
• Making gestures that mock a person’s race, sex or any other equality characteristic.
• Offensive, hostile, intimidating, malicious or insulting behaviour, an abuse or misuse of power which is meant to undermine, humiliate or injure the person on the receiving end.
• Serious forms of harassment could be a criminal offence and where it is considered to be such, will be referred to the police for further investigation.

What is bullying?
Bullying is a more general form of harassment that is not based on race, sex or any other equality characteristic.
As with harassment it can be defined as words, actions or other conduct which ridicules, intimidates or threatens and affects individual dignity and well-being. It is generally behaviour that can be identified as a misuse of power.
Bullying behaviour is largely identified not so much by what has been done, but rather by the effect that it has on the recipient.
Examples of bullying could include the following which is not exhaustive:
• Persistently criticising unnecessarily, although legitimate, constructive and fair criticism of an employee’s performance or behaviour at work is not bullying.
• Shouting aggressively at colleagues in public or private without reason.
• Deliberate isolation by ignoring or excluding a person.
• Withholding information or removing areas of responsibility without justification.
• Spreading malicious rumours.
• Blocking leave or training requests without reason.
• Deliberately setting objectives with impossible deadlines.
• Undermining a person’s self-respect by treatment that denigrates, ridicules, intimidates, demeans or is physically abusive.

Bullying or Harassment?
The terms ‘bullying’ and ‘harassment’ are used interchangeably by most people.
Harassment or bullying is not dependent on an intention to cause distress or hurt but is assessed by the impact the behaviour has on the recipient. As a result, it is possible that behaviour that is acceptable to some staff members may cause embarrassment, distress or anxiety to others. Therefore, harassment or bullying relates essentially to the perceptions and feelings of the recipient.
What is victimisation?
Victimisation is treating colleagues less favourably because of action they have taken, for example making a formal complaint about someone or giving evidence against a colleague.

I think I’m being bullied / harassed / victimised – what can I do?
• You could firstly try to sort out matters informally. The person may not know that their behaviour is unwelcome or upsetting.
• An informal discussion or even an email may help them to understand the effects of their behaviour and agree to change it.
• If you don’t think this is possible, there are other options. You could talk in confidence to your Company Stage Manager or line manager to get advice on how to handle this informally. You can also talk to your union, if you are a member of one, for an informal discussion of your concerns.
If your concerns are about your manager, you should speak to their manager.
Bullying and harassment may not always be clear cut and consequently, people may be unsure as to whether the behaviour is unacceptable.
If this applies to you there are several things to consider, including:
• Has there been a change of management or organisational style to which you just need time to adjust – perhaps because you have a new manager or work requirements?
• Can you talk over your worries with your line manager or Company Stage Manager?
• Can you agree with your manager changes to ways of working that will make it easier for you to cope?

I’ve tried to handle the situation informally, but this hasn’t worked. What should I do?
If you have not been able to resolve matters informally, or the situation is too serious to be dealt with informally, you can raise a grievance by using the Grievance Procedure. Other sources of information/help include the UK Theatre Helpline and Equity, who can be contacted on the following numbers:
UK Theatre Helpline: 0800 915 4617
Equity: London (Head Office), South East England & the Midlands: 020 7379 6000
Scotland & Northern Ireland: 0141 248 2472
Wales & South West England: 02920 397971
Northern England & Isle of Man: 0161 244 5995

Dignity at Work Policy


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