Harassment policy

BCE are committed to a working and learning environment where people can achieve their full potential. The policy and procedure on harassment is designed to provide:

  • an environment where it is clear that harassment is unacceptable, thereby reducing the chance that harassment will occur in the first instance; and
  • a mechanism to resolve complaints where it is felt that harassment has occurred. 

Disciplinary action may be taken to deal with actions or behaviour, intentional or unintentional, which results in a breach of this policy. Disciplinary action may also be taken if allegations of harassment are found to be malicious or vexatious.

It should be noted that harassment can also lead to civil and criminal claims beyond BCE’s own disciplinary proceedings. For example, victims may be able to apply to the Civil Courts for an injunction to restrain the offending behaviour or claim damages for anxiety caused.

This policy applies to all learners and staff and relates to harassment perpetrated by:

  • a learner against a learner
  • a learner against a member of staff
  • a member of staff against a learner
  • a member of staff against a member of staff

Harassment is not necessarily confined to the behaviour of senior staff towards more junior staff; it can take place between colleagues at the same level or involve staff behaving inappropriately towards more senior staff.

Definition of harassment

For the purpose of this policy, harassment is defined as unwelcome comments (written or spoken) or conduct which violates an individual's dignity, and/or creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment. This reflects the statutory definition of harassment. It should be noted that racial harassment and harassment relating to disability are now considered to be examples of direct discrimination.

Responsibility of all staff and learners

All staff and learners can help to:

  • Prevent harassment by being sensitive to the reactions and needs of others, and ensuring that their conduct does not cause offence;
  • Discourage harassment by others through making it clear that such conduct is unacceptable, and supporting colleagues and peers who are taking steps to stop the harassment.

BCE is responsible for:

  • providing an environment where it is clear that harassment is not acceptable;
  • taking action when it is aware that harassment may be or is taking place;
  • ensuring that managers are aware of their responsibility for trying to prevent and, in the first instance, resolve problems in the immediate workplace.

Monitoring of policy and procedures

The Management team will record cases of harassment and will provide an annual report to the Director containing information about the number and nature of complaints and any disciplinary action taken, without naming the individuals involved. This policy will be reviewed at least annually.