Harassment and Bullying Policy

Our aim is to create a healthy environment where you feel valued and respected, where you can make full use of your abilities, skills and experiences and participate with others to:

LEARN, LAUGH AND LIVE

As part of this, we want to do everything we can to prevent and eradicate harassment and bullying, and all forms of inappropriate behaviour in our groups.

WHAT WE MEAN BY HARASSMENT

We define harassment as any behaviour which someone finds unwanted, offensive, demeaning, humiliating or unreasonable, whether it is intentional or unintentional. This could be related to (but not limited to) individual differences, such as race, religious beliefs, creed, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origins, sexual orientation, marital or parental status, sex, age or disability.

Whether someone considers certain behaviour to be harassment is also down to the impact it has on them – and whether that impact is negative. It is the impact of the behaviour that’s important, not the intent.

The main characteristics of harassment is that it’s unwanted. Harassment can take the form of a single act or a series of acts over a period of time, and it can include abuse of power or position.

Examples of harassment

  • Derogatory remarks which are offensive, such as jokes or banter relating to race, creed, colour, nationality, ethic or national origin, sexual orientation, marital or parental status, gender, age or disability.
  • Expression of racist, sexist or similarly offensive views.
  • Suggestive remarks, gestures, innuendo, leering, unwanted advances, compromising invitations or requests for sexual favours.
  • Physical threats and abuse or unwanted physical contact.
  • Physical assault.
  • Offensive language or gestures.
  • Offensive, threatening or demeaning electronic communication.
  • Offensive or objectionable literature, graffiti or pictures.

WHAT WE MEAN BY BULLYING

Bullying is a form of harassment. It is unwanted. Offensive, humiliating, malicious behaviour, that undermines someone’s self-esteem and confidence. It can include persistently negative or malicious attacks on an individual or group of people.

Examples of bullying

  • Abuse of power that results in any form of unfair discrimination.
  • Controlled unjustifiable criticism.
  • Humiliating and overly hostile behaviour.
  • Physical assault
  • None co-operation, isolation or exclusion by other group members.
  • Any other conduct which creates an intimidating, hostile or humiliating social environment.

IF YOU HAVE ANY CONCERNS ABOUT HARASSMENT OR BULLYING:

  • It is important that you raise them as soon as you can, to ensure we can take appropriate and effective action, as soon as possible.If you feel able:
  • You should approach the individual you believe is acting inappropriately, and ask for their behaviour to stop. In some instances, an individual may not be aware their behaviour is upsetting you, and will willingly change once they know it’s causing offence.
  • If the harassment or bullying continues, or you feel unable, for whatever reason, to approach the person who is causing you offence: you can discuss the situation confidentially with an appropriate friend or group member, or you may wish to go straight to a Committee Member for help. After your discussion that person may speak confidentially with the individual you’ve complained about, on your behalf, to ask them to stop the inappropriate behaviour.

LEVELS OF DISCIPLINARY ACTION

  1. A verbal warning about future conduct by two elected officers and confirmed in writing.
  2. A written warning which clearly states what will happen if the situation is repeated.
  3. A final written warning.
  4. Exclusion from an interest group.
  5. Termination of membership of Becconsall U3A.
  6. If any act of extreme conduct occurs, then the individual concerned will immediately have their membership terminated and the stated disciplinary process will be negated.

RIGHT OF APPEAL

If exclusion or termination of membership happens, there is a right of appeal and this must be lodged within 7 days in writing and it will then be considered by the Committee. You have the right to make a personal representation with a friend to the Committee when it is discussed. A final decision will be communicated to you by letter.

Remember everyone is here to:

LEARN, LAUGH AND LIVE

and we want to create an environment for you to be able to just do