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10.  How we will support you

10.1.    Support services

10.1.1.    The University is committed to providing support for employees and workers affected by these issues. The following support resources are available to any employee or worker whether they are considering raising an issue about inappropriate behaviour, actually disclosing an incident, or the subject of a complaint.

10.1.2.    Confidential support can be accessed from the Dignity at Work Contacts on issues relating to bullying, harassment, discrimination and sexual misconduct.

10.1.3.    Help for any employee or worker who has been subjected to sexual misconduct, including sexual assault or rape, is available through the University’s Breaking the Silence website. This includes the details of services provided by both the University and external specialist organisations that support women, men and people of any gender or sexual orientation affected by sexual misconduct.

10.1.4.    Where appropriate, the University Mediation Service is available to help find a mutually acceptable resolution as part of an informal, confidential and independent process (see section 7.6 for further details).

10.1.5.    Talking confidentially to a member of one of the University’s Diversity Networks may also be helpful, particularly if the inappropriate behaviour is perceived to be harassment or discrimination due to a protected characteristic (see sections 5.5 and 5.7).

10.1.6.    Information about further sources of support is also available on the University wellbeing pages and includes an extensive list of internal and external providers. These include the University Staff Counselling Service and the University Occupational Health Service, as well as support for those who have experienced sexual assault and emergency support for staff in distress.

10.1.7.    Trade Unions are also a source of guidance for individuals experiencing inappropriate behaviour and can directly support members in the process of resolving these issues.


10.2.    Confidentiality

10.2.1.    Confidentiality – and trust in that confidentiality – is critical when dealing with allegations of inappropriate behaviour. Details of the complaint (including the names of the person making the complaint and the person accused) must only be disclosed on a 'need-to-know' basis (for example, under the University’s duty of care). Breach of confidentiality in either an informal or formal resolution process may give rise to disciplinary action under the relevant disciplinary procedure.

10.2.2.    Information about a complaint by or about an individual may be placed on their personnel file, along with a record of the outcome and any notes or other documents compiled during the process. Notes and records will be treated as confidential and be kept no longer than necessary in accordance with the data protection principles set out in the relevant data protection legislation.


10.3.    Victimisation

10.3.1.    The University will not tolerate any form of victimisation against an individual who has raised or supported an informal complaint, co-operated in a formal investigation, challenged inappropriate behaviour, or in each case is believed to have or is believed to be likely to take such steps. This includes behaviour targeting an individual’s career progression, such as deliberately providing unbalanced or overly negative references or blocking opportunities for that individual to participate in workshops and other development activities.

10.3.2.    If a formal complaint of victimisation is made about a member of staff’s behaviour it will be fully investigated and, if upheld, will be dealt with in accordance with the relevant disciplinary procedures.


10.4.    Malicious or vexatious complaints

10.4.1.    A malicious complaint is one that is made with the intention to intimidate, to lower the reputation of, or otherwise injure or harm a colleague or manager, through knowingly providing false or misleading information or withholding information about an incident or issue.

10.4.2.    A vexatious complaint is either one that is made with the sole or main intention to harass, annoy or subdue somebody, or one that is unreasonable, without foundation, frivolous, repetitive, deliberately burdensome or unwarranted.

10.4.3.    If it is found that an individual has made a complaint that is malicious or vexatious, the University may instigate a disciplinary process against them. Disciplinary action will not be taken, however, where a grievance is mistaken or otherwise ill-founded but not malicious or vexatious.