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Personal approach by the complainant

When responding to a personal approach by a complainant:

  • You may want to ask for the support of a Dignity@Work Contact or a work colleague, to help you formulate how you wish to respond, verbally or in writing, to the complainant, (see the section Sources of Support in the Toolkit for information on Dignity@Work Contacts).

  • Listen carefully to what the complainant says to you, or read carefully what s/he has written. You may find that you have unintentionally caused offence, or you may believe that your words or actions have been misinterpreted or misjudged. In any of these cases you will need to keep calm in order to try to reach an understanding with the person who has raised the concern.

  • If you realise that you have, or appear to have, behaved unacceptably towards another person, you may wish to seek support in changing your behaviour in future.Options, including coaching or training, can be discussed with your Institutional Administrator or HR Business Manager/Adviser.  Other sources of support are listed in the section Sources of Support in the Toolkit.

  • If you believe the accusation to be unfounded say so, but arrange to seek advice and support as soon as possible, whether the situation is resolved informally or formally.

  • Be prepared to participate in facilitated meetings or mediation if an attempt is made to resolve the matter informally (see section 5.4 of the Dignity at Work Procedure).

  • However the complaint is taken forward, you should make every effort to work constructively with the person who has complained about you both during and after the process

Informal approach by the complainant with support

  • If the complainant feels unable to approach you on their own they may seek advice or support from their manager, local HR staff Institutional Administrator, or Human Resources Business Manager/Adviser attached to the School ask for help in finding an informal resolution (see section 5.4 of the Dignity at Work Procedure).

  • The informal procedure is set out in the Informal procedure flow chart.

Formal procedure

If informal action has been unsuccessful or if the alleged behaviour is deemed by the complainant, or Head of Institution, in consultation with the Director of Human Resources, to be sufficiently serious, it may warrant an immediate formal investigation under the formal Dignity at Work procedure.