Anti-Bullying and harrasment policy
The purpose of this policy is to provide the best possible working environment, based on goodwill and respect for all Somerset Film employees and associated persons including (but not limited to) contractors (including artists), board members, volunteers, project participants and members of the Seed consortium.
Somerset Film will ensure that all staff, contractors, volunteers and participants are treated and treat others with dignity and respect, free from harassment and bullying. All persons should take the time to ensure they understand what types of behaviour are unacceptable under this policy.
Everyone working or participating with Somerset Film and Seed is expected to recognise that each individual has a right to a working environment which encourages respectful, considerate, dignified and non-sexualised working and creative relationships.
It is everyone’s duty to treat each other with dignity and respect. Somerset Film is opposed to harassment and bullying in any form.
Every employee, contractor, board member, volunteer and participant is responsible for their own behaviour in this regard and any threatening, aggressive, bullying behaviour, harassment or unwanted sexual attention, language or behaviour may result in disciplinary action.
This policy covers harassment or bullying in all of its forms, and its potential to occur both in and out of the workplace, such as on business trips, location shoots, at events or work related social functions.
This policy applies to all staff and Board members of Somerset Film, as well as contractors and members of the community acting as volunteers, committee members and working parties, including the Seed Consortium. It also extends to project participants. It covers bullying and harassment by staff and also by third parties such as customers, suppliers or visitors to our premises.
Harassment is any unwanted physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct which has the purpose or effect of violating a person’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for them. A single incident can amount to harassment. It also includes treating someone less favourably because they have submitted or refused to submit to such behaviour in the past.
Unlawful harassment may involve conduct of a sexual nature (sexual harassment), or it may be related to age, disability, gender reassignment, marital or civil partner status, pregnancy or maternity, race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation. Harassment is unacceptable even if it does not fall within any of these categories.
Harassment may include, for example:
• physical conduct or “horseplay”, including touching, pinching, pushing, grabbing, brushing past someone, invading their personal space, and more serious forms of physical or sexual assault;
• unwelcome sexual advances or suggestive behaviour (which the harasser may perceive as harmless), and suggestions that sexual favours may further a career or that a refusal may hinder it;
• continued suggestions for social activity after it has been made clear that such suggestions are unwelcome;
• sending or displaying material that is pornographic or that some people may find offensive (including e-mails, text messages, video clips and images sent by mobile phone or posted on the internet);
• offensive or intimidating comments or gestures, or insensitive jokes or pranks;
• mocking, mimicking or belittling a person’s disability;
• racist, sexist, homophobic or ageist jokes, or derogatory or stereotypical remarks about a particular ethnic or religious group or gender;
• outing or threatening to out someone as gay or lesbian; or
• ignoring or shunning someone, for example, by deliberately excluding them from a conversation or a workplace social activity.
A person may be harassed even if they were not the intended “target”. For example, a person may be harassed by racist jokes about a different ethnic group to their own should that create an offensive environment for them.
Bullying is offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behaviour including the misuse of power that can make a person feel vulnerable, upset, humiliated, undermined or threatened. Power does not always mean being in a position of authority, but can include both personal strength and the power to coerce through fear or intimidation.
Bullying can take the form of physical, verbal and non-verbal conduct. Bullying may include, by way of example:
• shouting at, being sarcastic towards, ridiculing or demeaning others; physical or psychological threats;
• overbearing and intimidating levels of supervision;
• inappropriate and/or derogatory remarks about someone’s performance;
• abuse of authority or power by those in positions of seniority; or
• deliberately excluding someone from meetings or communications without good reason.
• Legitimate, reasonable and constructive criticism of a worker’s performance or behaviour, or reasonable instructions given to workers in the course of their employment, will not amount to bullying on their own.
Bullying extends to cyber bullying. Cyberbullying is bullying online and any form of antisocial behaviour over the internet, on a social network or via a mobile device, using tools such as a computer or laptop, a mobile phone, a camera or recording device, a tablet or games-console or simply email or mobile text messaging .It is an attack or abuse using technology, or any interaction via technology which causes distress or harm. Some examples of cyberbullying can include:
• Online behaviour which mimics or replicates face to face bullying;
• Spreading malicious and abusive rumours and gossiping;
• Emailing or texting threatening or intimidating remarks;
• Mobbing (a group or gang that target you);
• Harassing you repeatedly;
• Intimidation and blackmail;
• Stalking you on-line and continually harassing you;
• Posting embarrassing or humiliating images or video content without your consent;
• Posting your private details on-line without consent; or
• Setting up a false profile.
5. Legal Protections:
The Equality Act 2010 prohibits harassment related to age, disability, gender reassignment, marital or civil partner status, pregnancy or maternity, race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation. For more information see our Equal Opportunities Policy.
The Protection from Harassment Act 1997 also makes it unlawful to pursue a course of conduct which you know or ought to know would be harassment, which includes causing someone alarm or distress.
Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 staff are entitled to a safe place and system of work.
Individual members of staff may in some cases be legally liable for harassment of colleagues or third parties including customers, and may be ordered to pay compensation by a court or employment tribunal.
Everyone working at or with Somerset Film is expected to consider the impact that their actions or comments may have on others and to take responsibility for their own behaviour.
Staff must treat colleagues and others with dignity and respect, and should always consider whether their words or conduct could be offensive. Even unintentional harassment or bullying is unacceptable.
We will take allegations of harassment or bullying seriously and address them promptly and confidentially where possible. Harassment or bullying by an employee will be treated as misconduct under our Disciplinary Procedure. In some cases it may amount to gross misconduct leading to summary dismissal.
This policy does not form part of any employee’s contract of employment and we may amend it at any time or depart from it where we consider appropriate.
7. Informal Steps:
If you feel that you are being bullied or harassed, you should initially consider raising the problem informally with the person responsible, if they feel able. You should explain clearly to them that their behaviour is not welcome or makes you uncomfortable. If this is too difficult or embarrassing, you should speak to your line manager, who can provide confidential advice and assistance in resolving the issue formally or informally.
If you are not certain whether an incident or series of incidents amount to bullying or harassment, you should initially contact your line manager informally for confidential advice.
If informal steps have not been successful or are not possible or appropriate, you should follow the formal procedure set out below.
8. Raising a formal complaint
If you wish to raise a formal complaint, this should be done in writing to your line manager, or if you are not an employee of Somerset Film, with the main point of contact for your relationship with Somerset Film. If you do not feel comfortable making a written complaint, talk to that person who can assist you in doing so. If that person is the subject of your complaint, you can approach either the Creative Director or Ambassador, Community Engagement.
If a project participant or customer makes a disclosure of bullying or harassment to a staff member or contractor, they should seek permission to make this report on their behalf.
Your written complaint should set out full details of the conduct in question, including the name of the harasser or bully, the nature of the harassment or bullying, the date(s) and time(s) at which it occurred, the names of any witnesses and any action that has been taken so far to attempt to stop it from occurring.
As a general principle, the decision whether to progress a complaint is up to you. However, once aware of an issue, we have a duty to protect all staff and may pursue the matter independently if, in all the circumstances, we consider it appropriate to do so.
9. Investigation procedure
The procedure for reporting is outlined below and all cases will be taken seriously and treated sensitively. Anonymity is guaranteed when requested in relation to a complaint. If it becomes apparent that revealing a complainant’s identity is essential to resolving the issue at a point in the process, permission will be sought prior to doing so.
If your complaint is about an employee, we may consider suspending them on full pay or making other temporary changes to working arrangements pending the outcome of the investigation, if circumstances require. Where your complaint is about someone other than an employee, such as a contractor, customer, volunteer, committee member, service user, project participant, supplier or visitor, we will consider what action may be appropriate to protect you and anyone involved pending the outcome of the investigation, bearing in mind the reasonable needs of the business and the rights of that person.
We will also seriously consider any request that you make for changes to your own working arrangements during the investigation. For example, you may ask for changes to your duties or utilise flexible working conditions so as to avoid or minimise contact with the alleged harasser or bully.
It may be necessary to interview witnesses to any of the incidents mentioned in your complaint. If so, the importance of confidentiality will be emphasised to them.
Any staff member who deliberately provides false information or otherwise acts in bad faith as part of an investigation may be subject to action under our Disciplinary Procedure.
Stage One: Report in writing (including by email) received by the line-manager (or a more senior manager, if the complaint is about the line-manager). The report should indicate if there are any persons the complainant does not want involved in the handling of the issue, or if they are a part of the issue, and include who they are. Reports should include as much
information as you can and are comfortable sharing about the incident or incidents when you are reporting it including details of anyone who can corroborate the report.
Stage Two: The person receiving the complaint will normally take the role of investigating officer and will meet with the complainant in a safe, confidential environment to talk more about the events and to assess how they feel. If the person receiving the complaint does not feel equipped to undertake this role, they may bring the matter to the attention of their own line manager, or another suitable senior manager for assistance, support or to hand the matter on as appropriate.
This meeting is informal and the complainant may bring a colleague, friend or support person to this meeting. The investigator may bring a designated safeguarding member of additional senior management staff member of Somerset Film to this meeting if/as appropriate. The meeting will collect as much information in addition to the previous report as possible, and will determine with the complainant how they would like the complaint handled. A formal record of the meeting will be made.
Stage Three: The investigating officer will meet with the person against whom the complaint is made. This meeting is informal and will take place in a safe, confidential environment. The investigating officer may bring an additional senior staff member to this meeting if/as appropriate. The person against whom the complaint has been made may bring a colleague, friend or support person to this meeting. The investigator may bring a designated safeguarding member of additional senior management staff member of Somerset Film to this meeting if/as appropriate.
Stage Four: The investigating officer will discuss the outcomes of these meetings with a committee of at least two other people such as another senior staff member, a designated safeguarding officer, or a Board or Consortium member as appropriate, to agree proposed actions.
Stage Five: A formal report on the issue will be completed in writing, including actions to be undertaken. This report will be provided to both parties prior to implementation. The Board of Somerset Film and/or the Seed Consortium (as required) will receive a report on the complaint and the outcome, with anonymity of the people involved respected as appropriate. In some cases, the Board may be required to approve actions prior to implementation.
If at any stage this process indicates a case of gross misconduct or a criminal matter, this procedure will be replaced by a formal process to address the gross misconduct and/or referral to the police.
10. Post Investigation
Whether or not your complaint is upheld, we will consider how best to manage any ongoing working relationship between you and the alleged harasser or bully. It may be appropriate to arrange some form of mediation and/or counselling, or to change the duties, working location or reporting lines of one or both parties.
If you are not satisfied with the outcome you may appeal in writing to the person indicated as responsible in your outcome letter stating your full grounds of appeal, within one week of the date on which the decision was sent or given to you.
We will hold an appeal meeting, normally within one week of receiving your written appeal.
This will be dealt with impartially by a manager or Board member who has not previously been involved in the case (although they may ask anyone previously involved to be present).
You may bring a colleague or trade union representative to the meeting.
We will confirm our final decision in writing, usually within one week of the appeal hearing.
This is the end of the procedure and there is no further appeal.
Anyone who makes complaints or who participates in good faith in any investigation conducted under this policy must not suffer any form of retaliation or victimisation as a result.
If you believe you have suffered any such treatment you should inform your line manager. If the matter is not remedied you should raise it formally using our Grievance Procedure or this procedure if appropriate.
Anyone found to have retaliated against or victimised someone for making a complaint or assisting in good faith with an investigation under this procedure will be subject to disciplinary action under our Disciplinary Procedure.
11. Confidentiality and data protection
Confidentiality is an important part of the procedures provided under this policy. Everyone involved in the operation of the policy, whether making a complaint or involved in any investigation, is responsible for observing the high level of confidentiality that is required.
Details of the investigation and the names of the person making the complaint and the person accused must only be disclosed on a “need to know” basis.
Information about a complaint by or about an employee may be placed on the employee’s personnel file, along with a record of the outcome and of any notes or other documents compiled during the process. Any such information will be managed in accordance with our Data Protection Policy.
Breach of confidentiality may give rise to disciplinary action under our Disciplinary Procedure.
12. Responsibilities under this policy
This policy is shared with all employees, contractors, and volunteers at the commencement of their duties with Somerset Film, and is available to programme participants and other potential stakeholders at any time.
Adherence to the Policy will be a condition of entering into a contractor agreement with Somerset Film.
All line managers have a specific responsibility to operate within the boundaries of this policy, ensure that all staff understand the standards of behaviour expected of them and to take action when behaviour falls below its requirements. This includes stepping in whenever they observe bullying or harassing behaviour rather than only in response to reports.
Similarly, staff should disclose any instances of harassment or bullying of which they become aware to their line manager.
The consortium will review this policy periodically and update it as required to reflect industry standards and experience working with the policy. Seed undertakes to seek feedback on the operation of the policy and input to its ongoing development.
13. Monitoring and review
We will review the effectiveness of this policy on an ongoing basis to ensure it is achieving its stated objectives. It will be reviewed by the Board of Somerset Film every two years.