Human Resources

Support & well-being

If your issue does not concern harassment and bullying, the Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) maybe more appropriate. The EAP offers information, advice and support on a range of matters – from mental health and well-being, through to legal, relationships and money matters. 

Confide

Loughborough University takes the matter of harassment and bullying very seriously and is committed to the elimination of all forms of harassment and bullying. A wide range of cases are dealt with but tend to be mainly staff to staff issues.

What is Harassment and Bullying?

Harassment and Bullying can take many forms, often involving the abuse of power or position. These terms refer to behaviour which is hostile and/or offensive to the recipient or others, and which unreasonably interferes with an individual's work, academic performance or social life.

Such behaviour can create an intimidating environment which undermines the integrity or dignity of the individual.  It is unwelcome and can make an individual feel uncomfortable, unsafe, frightened or embarrassed.  Such behaviour may be physical, verbal or non-verbal, but the common link is that the behaviour is unwanted by the recipient or others, is unwarranted by the relationship and would be regarded as harassment or bullying by any reasonable person.

What does the law say?

The Equality Act 2010: outlines three types of harassment:

  • Unwanted conduct that has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for the complainant, or violating the complainant's dignity (this applies to all the protected characteristics such as disability, ethnicity, gender etc. apart from pregnancy and maternity, and marriage and civil partnership)
  • Unwanted conduct of a sexual nature (sexual harassment)
  • Treating a person less favourably than another person because they have either submitted to, or did not submit to, sexual harassment or harassment related to sex or gender reassignment.

Harssment may occur if, for example, a member of staff, student, contractor or visitor makes comments on an applicant's sexuality or age in a way that makes that applicant feel uncomfortable.

The perceptions of the recipient of the harassment are very important and harassment can have been deemed to have occurred even if the intention was not present, but the recipient felt they were being harassed.

Human Rights Act 1998: Inhuman and degrading treatment is prohibited under Article 3 of the Act.  Employers that do not try to prevent bullying and harassment outside the context of discrimination may be in breach of the Human Rights Act.

The Human Rights Act also has some bearing on certain harassment matters, including sexual orientation, in that it provides a right to respect for private and family life under Article 8.

Health and Safety at Work Act 1974: Employers have a duty of care, so far as is reasonably practical, to ensure the health, safety and welfare of their employees.  Harassment and bullying are recognised as serious health hazards because of the stress they can cause. 

If the employer fails to carry out these duties then they may be found to be negligent and therefore liable to prosecution.

Protection from Harassment Act 1997: This Act was passed following concern that stalking was not well dealt with under existing legislation, however it does not refer solely to stalking and covers harassment in a wider sense. The Act says that it is unlawful to cause harassment, alarm or distress by a course of conduct and states that’

'A person must not pursue a course of conduct

(a) which amounts to harassment of another, and
(b) which he knows or ought to know amounts to harassment of the other.'

If someone is harassed at their place of work they could decide to take action for damages using the Protection from Harassment Act rather than by going to an Employment Tribunal. An individual will need to establish the fact that harassment occurred and the damage it caused .

A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable on summary conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months, or a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale, or both.  The Police have powers to issue restraining orders under this legislation.

Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994: This defines a criminal offence of intentional harassment, which covers all forms of harassment, including sexual. A person is guilty of an offence if, with intent to cause a person harassment, alarm or distress, s/he:-

  • uses threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, or disorderly behaviour, or
  • displays any writing, sign or other visible representation which is threatening, abusive or insulting thereby causing that or another person harassment, alarm or distress.
Malicious Communications Act 1998: A particularly unpleasant form of harassment is that involving malicious communications either through the post, the telephone, Fax, by cyberstalking through the internet or, an increasing problem, by the use of Text or SMS messages sent to mobile phones.

Under this legislation it is an offence to send an indecent, offensive or threatening letter, electronic communication or other article to another person and under section 43 Telecommunications Act 1984 it is a similar offence to send a telephone message which is indecent offensive or threatening. Both offences are punishable with up to six months imprisonment and/or a fine. Because the Malicious Communications Offence is wider ranging than the Telecommunications offence it is more likely to be charged by the Police than is the Telecommunications Act offence.

Guidance for staff - appropriate behaviours and boundaries

This information is designed to provide staff who, as part of their job are required to work with students, with advice on appropriate behaviours and boundaries to observe when working with students, and on what action to take if unwanted attention is received.

 1.

Remember at all times that you are a member of staff and not a friend. Although your relationship with your students may become relaxed and informal, it is imperative that you do not become too familiar with them.

2.

Socialising with students on Departmental occasions is perfectly acceptable whilst socialising individually or at events unrelated to their studies should not normally be encouraged. Private relationships should be avoided.

3.

Students may come to you with their personal problems. If you are a Lecturer, you are expected to support students through any difficulties they are experiencing, but remember to keep a professional distance. Don’t start fighting their battles for them and do refer them to appropriate people as necessary, e.g. Counselling, the Head of Department, etc.

4.

Ensure that you treat all students fairly and equally. You are bound to develop a better rapport with some students than others, but always make sure that you give similar attention to all students.

5.

International students may have different ideas or perceptions about appropriate boundaries or behaviours. It is important to be aware of cultural differences and to treat any issues sensitively.

6.

The law states that an adult in a position of responsibility (such as Lecturer) having a relationship with a child who is over the age of 16 but under the age of 18 and who is in full time education constitutes a breach of trust and could result in criminal prosecution.

What Lecturers should do if they receive unwanted attention

Sometimes, students want to develop their relationship with their Lecturer and this is not reciprocated. Examples include wanting to spend a lot of time with their Lecturer, wanting to know personal information about their Lecturer, inviting their Lecturer to go out with them or declaring their feelings to their Lecturer. Whilst this behaviour is rare, it is important that you are aware that it could happen and that you understand how you should deal with it. 

Below is some guidance if you should find yourself in that situation:

 1.

Document what is happening and your response to it.

2.

Make it clear to the student that this attention is unwanted and you want it to stop. This might be quite difficult, as you don’t want to offend or embarrass the student as you will still have to teach them, so try to be as sensitive as you can.

3.

If the student continues to harass you, become more firm with your rebuffs and tell them that their behaviour is unacceptable. Remember to document everything, and retain email messages, etc.

4.

Try to avoid being alone with the student, and if you do have to be alone with them, keep your office door open.

5.

Talk to a member of the Confide Panel who may be able to advise you.

6.

Talk to your Head of Department or other senior colleague so that they are aware of the problem. They may be able to give you support and advice on dealing with the problem and may also be able to speak to the student to advise them that they must change their behaviour.

7.

If the problem persists, you can make a formal complaint of harassment to the Chief Operating Officer. This will be investigated in line with the Harassment Policy Complaints Process.

What is Confide?

A support network called Confide is available to provide support, advice and assistance to staff who are feeling harassed and/or bullied. Staff are encouraged to try to resolve incidents of harassment and bullying informally, where possible using this service.

Confide consists of a variety of staff from across the University who have received training in dealing with cases of harassment and bullying and are available to talk to staff in confidence.

Staff may seek an informal, confidential meeting with a member of Confide at any time. Confide members are willing to discuss any incidents or problems, no matter how serious or trivial they may seem.

Confide contact details

The following contact details are for staff enquiries. For student enquiries please contact Student Services via email or call 01509 222769.

Name

Department

Telephone

Email

Kirstie Taylor

Human Resources

Tel: 222331

K.L.Taylor@lboro.ac.uk 

Lindsey Brown

Human Resources

Tel: 222171

L.A.Brown@lboro.ac.uk

Jayshree Lakha

Civil and Building Engineering

Tel: 223771

J.Lakha@lboro.ac.uk

Shelly Duckworth

Human Resources

Tel: 222247

R.Duckworth@lboro.ac.uk

Robert Pearson

Academic Registry

Tel: 222230

R.Pearson2@lboro.ac.uk

Phil Wilkinson-Blake

School of Business and Economics

Tel: 223134

P.S.Wilkinson-Blake@lboro.ac.uk

 

 

 

This contact form is for staff use only. For student enquiries, please contact Student Services via email or call 01509 222769.

Confide contact form

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