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In the first instance, unacceptable behaviour should be dealt with informally as this is often the most effective method for resolving issues raised under the Dignity at Work Policy.  The University has support measures in place to help facilitate this.  If informal action has been unsuccessful or if the alleged behaviour is deemed by the Head of Institution, in consultation with the relevant HR Business Manager/Adviser, to be sufficiently serious, it may warrant an immediate formal investigation.

The Head of Institution should make every effort to protect the rights of both parties and make it clear that at this stage the complaint has not been substantiated and no decision has been taken as to culpability.

Where (because of particular circumstances) it would be inappropriate for the Head of Institution to take part in the process, the matter should be referred to the Director of Human Resources who will ask the Head of the School or other appropriate senior person, or in Council institutions, the Registrary, to initiate action. References to the Head of Institution herein will include, where relevant, references to their appointed deputy or alternative.

 Members of staff who feel that they have been or are being subjected to unacceptable behaviour, or are accused of unacceptable behaviour, are advised to seek advice and support.

 Staff can obtain advice from their Manager, local HR staff, Institutional Administrator, or the HR Business Manager/Adviser assigned to their School, , who may be able to support them in finding an informal resolution.   For other sources of support see the section Sources of Support in the Toolkit.

  If requested, the HR Business Manager/Adviser will be able to meet and discuss the matter confidentially with the complainant and/or the person against whom the complaint has been made, explain the University procedures and agree the best approach to try and resolve the problem so that a constructive way of working in the future can be agreed.  They may also be able to provide further support to resolve the matter informally (for instance facilitating a meeting between the parties). 

HR Business Manager/Adviser may advise, for example, that the individuals discuss the matter with the Head of Institution or the Institutional Administrator, and/or advise that they meet with a Dignity @ Work Contact or refer the case to the Mediation Service, if both parties agree.  For further information on Dignity @ Work Contacts and the Mediation Service, see the section, Sources of Support in the Toolkit.

Employees may also wish to discuss the matter confidentially with a colleague.  Additionally, a member of staff may wish to seek support from a trade union representative or the Chaplain to University staff.  Information on the University’s Diversity Networks can be found at:  For more information on sources of support see the section Sources of Support in the Toolkit.

The University's Equality & Diversity webpages explains some of the principal concepts underpinning UK equalities law.