Anti-Bullying


Last updated 1 July, 2018

Principle and statement of intent

Bumbles Day Care fully supports the rights and opportunities of all people to seek, attain and hold employment without discrimination.

Bumbles Day Care believes every person has the right to be treated with respect and dignity and is committed to promoting a good and harmonious working environment in which no-one is made to feel apprehensive because of their:

  • Religious belief
  • Political opinion
  • Gender, including gender reassignment
  • Disability
  • Marital or Civil Partnership status
  • Age
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Race (including colour, nationality, ethnic or national origins, being an Irish Traveller)
  • Having a criminal record.

Bumbles Day Care believes that any form of harassment is unacceptable and due to the serious and genuine adverse consequences it may cause individuals, it will not permit or condone bullying/harassing behaviour. Bullying/harassment detracts from a productive working environment and can affect the health, confidence, morale and performance of those affected by it including anyone who witnesses or knows about the unwanted behaviour. It may also be a civil offence, a criminal offence and may contravene Health and Safety Legislation. Employees who engage in bullying/harassing behaviour may find themselves personally liable for damages in respect of such actions. Bumbles Day Care will take positive steps to secure and promote a working environment which allows respect for the individual and freedom from any form of bullying/harassment.

Bumbles Day Care will treat bullying/harassing behaviour as misconduct up to including Gross Misconduct warranting dismissal.

In addition to Bumble’s view on unacceptable behaviour, there are specific legal protections under the following legislation:

  • Fair Employment & Treatment (NI) Order 1998, as amended
  • Fair Employment (Monitoring) Regulations (NI) 1999 (as amended)
  • Sex Discrimination (NI) Order 1976 (amended 1988).
  • Race relations (N.I.) Order 1997, as amended
  • Disability Discrimination Act 1995, as amended
  • Equal Pay Act (N.I.) 1970, as amended
  • Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations (N.I.) 2003
  • Employment Equality (Age) Regulations (N.I.) 2006

The anti-bullying / harassment procedure

Bumbles Day Care fully recognises the rights of employees to complain about bullying/harassment should it occur. It has developed a procedure through which employees can confidentially raise complaints relating to bullying/harassment.

In addition to our internal procedures, employees have the right to pursue complaints of discrimination to an Industrial Tribunal or the Fair Employment Tribunal under the following anti-discrimination legislation:

  • Sex Discrimination (N.I.) Order 1976, as amended
  • Disability Discrimination Act 1995, as amended
  • Fair Employment & Treatment (NI) Order 1998, as amended
  • Race relations (N.I.) Order 1997, as amended
  • Equal Pay Act (N.I.) 1970, as amended
  • Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations (N.I.) 2003
  • Employment Equality (Age) Regulations (N.I.) 2006

Every effort will be made to ensure that employees making complaints will not be victimised. Victimisation constitutes discrimination contrary to the Fair Employment & Treatment (NI) Order 1998.

Any complaint of victimisation will be dealt with promptly, seriously and in complete confidence. Victimisation will result in disciplinary action and may warrant dismissal.

Definition of harassment

In general terms harassment is unwanted conduct related to a particular characteristic (age, disability, marital or civil partnership status, gender including gender reassignment, sexual orientation, race, religious belief or political opinion) which violates the dignity of women and men at work. This can include unwelcome physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct.
Harassment is defined as ‘unwanted conduct which has the purpose or effect of violating a person’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for that person.

Harassment may take many forms. It can change from extreme forms such as violence and bullying to less obvious actions like ignoring someone at work. The following, though not an exhaustive list, may constitute harassment:

  • Verbal Abuse:
    • Discriminatory, sexist remarks
    • Inappropriate or intimate questioning about one’s private life
    • Sectarian or sexually suggestive jokes or name calling
    • Abusive language
    • Offensive remarks or propositions
    • Demeaning statements of a sexual or sectarian nature
    • Aggressive shouting or rages linked with sex, marital status, religious belief, political opinion, disability, race or criminal records
    • Demeaning gossip or slander
    • Offensive slogans or songs
  • Physical Abuse:
    • Unwanted physical contact
    • Physical threats
    • Suggestive gestures
    • Unnecessary touching or assault
    • Exclusion from normal workplace/social events
    • Deliberate and recurring isolation at work
    • Initiation ceremonies
    • Intrusion by pestering, spying, following etc.

Whether or not harassment has occurred depends on the nature of the behaviour and it’s adverse consequences to the victim; not on the intention of the person(s) taking the action.

Bullying occurs where one person or persons engage in unwanted conduct in relation to another person which has the purpose or effect of violating that persons’ dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for that person. The conduct shall be regarded as having this effect only if, having regard to the circumstances and in particular the alleged victim’s perception, it should be reasonably considered as having that effect.

Responsibility of employees

All employees have a responsibility to:

  • Observe and abide by the terms of this policy.
  • Create and maintain a working environment which respects the dignity of all employees.
  • Be aware of the serious and genuine problems which bullying/harassment can cause.
  • Ensure that their behaviour is beyond question and could not be considered in any way to be bullying/harassment.
  • Provide support to colleagues who are being bullied/harassed, by encouraging them to follow the agreed complaints procedure.
  • Alert a Manager or Supervisor to any incidents of harassment of which they are aware.
  • Inform management in the event that they have any queries in relation to this policy or require specific training on it.

Responsibilities of Bumbles Day Care

The Owner, Managers and Co-ordinators have a responsibility to ensure that bullying/harassment does not occur in work areas for which they are responsible.

Managers and Co-ordinators also have a responsibility to promote the Bumbles Day Care policy within their areas. They should be responsive and supportive to any member of staff who complains about bullying/harassment, provide full and clear advice on the procedure to be adopted, maintain confidentiality in all cases and ensure there is no victimisation after a complaint has been reviewed. Employees will have the option where possible, to raise complaints of bullying/harassment with someone of their own identity or who is sensitive to issues relating to that identity.

Bumbles Day Care will provide training to ensure that all Managers, Co-ordinators and other staff are fully aware of this policy and the procedures for dealing with bullying/harassment. Any Director, Manager or Co-ordinator who requires specific training on this policy should make this requirement known.

Resolve

Bumbles Day Care intends monitoring the incidence of bullying / harassment.

Procedure for dealing with complaints of harassment

Any employee who believes that he/she has suffered any form of bullying/harassment is encouraged and requested to raise the matter through the following procedures:

The informal procedure

This stage is appropriate when an employee simply wants the behaviour to stop.

  1. If a person feels it is appropriate and may be effective, they may approach the alleged bully/harasser(s) directly and make it clear that their actions are unwelcome. Furthermore they should indicate that it is offensive, makes them feel uncomfortable and interferes with work. They should ask for the behaviour to stop immediately. This may be done either verbally or in writing.
    • A personal approach at this stage may well avert the development of a serious situation particularly where the bully/harasser is unaware of the scope of the offensiveness of their actions.
  2. Bumbles recognises that it may be very difficult for an individual to take such action. Consequently Co-ordinators/Managers can talk through the issue with the person and to advise them about any approach to take, to explain Bumbles Day Care Policy and Procedures or go with them to speak to the alleged bully/harasser(s). In certain circumstances the Co-ordinator/Manager or work colleague may go in place of the victim. At this stage as the approach is still informal, support to the bully/harasser can be provided and the aim is to attempt to resolve any issues. Co-ordinators/Managers will offer sensitive advice on the Formal Procedures if the person experiencing the bullying/harassment wishes to raise a complaint in this way
  3. All parties will retain confidentiality (subject to statutory requirements) at this stage in order that the victim is protected from retaliation.
  4. If the bullying/harassment raises serious issues, or a pattern emerges Bumbles Day Care reserves the right to formally investigate the incidents(s) and take appropriate action.

The formal procedure

Making a complaint

If it is inappropriate to attempt to resolve the problem informally, then a complaint should be raised immediately through the Formal Procedure. The Informal Procedure does not have to be used first.

Investigation under the formal procedure

  1. Time Limits – A complaint under the formal procedure must be made as soon as possible following an action of alleged harassment so that the matter can be dealt with swiftly and decisively.
  2. Making a Complaint – Individuals should make complaints to their Co-ordinator/Deputy Manager/Manager who will acknowledge receipt of the complaint as soon as is practically possible and arrange to meet the Complainant, who may be be accompanied to the meeting by a work colleague or accredited trade union representative where you make a reasonable request to be so accompanied. Whilst it is preferable that a complaint be made in writing this will not preclude the investigation of a complaint made verbally.
  3. The Investigation – The facts of each complaint will be investigated. It is likely that the investigation will involve meeting the complainant, meeting the alleged bully/harasser, and any witnesses or persons who can assist the investigation.
  4. Consideration of information and outcome – Having obtained all the information possible, the Co-ordinator/DeputyManager/Manager will consider whether the complaint of bullying/harassment is substantiated and deliver an outcome. This may involve the Co-ordinator/Deputy Manager/Manager deciding whether:
    • To implement Bumbles Day Care agreed disciplinary procedure against any party as appropriate.
    • To recommend any other management action. For example, the provision of training or counselling.
  5. Right of Appeal – If the employee wishes to appeal against the Co-ordinator/Deputy Manager/Manager’s decision they should apply in writing within 5 working days to the Proprietor or any other appropriate person appointed by Management.

After the investigation is complete

Consideration of transfer

Redeployment if disciplinary action is taken – Where a complaint has been upheld and a serious act of bullying/harassment has taken place the Complainant may wish to avoid any further contact with the bully/harasser. Should the bully/harasser remain in employment with the Nursery, and where it is agreed that further contact between the individuals concerned would be unacceptable, every effort will be made to facilitate this wish. Consideration should always be given to relocating the bully/harasser in the first instance and where the transfer of the Complainant occurs it should not lead to any disadvantage to her/him.

Redeployment where disciplinary action has not been taken – In such cases consideration may still be given, where practicable, to the voluntary transfer of one of the employees concerned.

EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES AWARENESS TRAINING

The Manager of the bully/harasser will be responsible for ensuring that the bully/harasser is made fully aware of Bumbles Day Care policies on equal opportunities and bullying/harassment, of the likely consequences of any further breach of policies and of the law relating to these matters.

Malicious complaints

It is possible that complaints might be brought with mischievous or malicious intent. Where this is found to be the case, those individuals will be appropriately dealt with under Bumbles Day Care disciplinary procedures.

Statutory rights

Nothing in this procedure detracts from a person’s statutory rights.