If you feel that you have been subjected to bullying or harassment, one option is to make the person causing the alleged offence aware them that their behaviour is unwelcome and request that it stops or changes. If you think you are unable to contact or approach the person by yourself, you may have someone accompany you as a source of support, such as a colleague/trade union representative or a student or member of the Students Union or a Dignity and Respect Report and Support Advisor. Alternatively, a Dignity and Respect Report and Support Advisor may approach the person on your behalf. It may be the case that the person causing the alleged offence does not realise that they are perceived to be behaving in a manner which is negatively affecting someone else and this approach can often resolve the situation. Whilst this is not a defence, the unwelcome behaviour may cease if they are made aware of it.
The following can be used as a guide to try and resolve the matter informally using this approach and you can seek further guidance from the supports that are available to you as outlined above.
- Ask to meet with the person causing the alleged offence in a location where you can speak confidentially. You may want to bring a support person/friend with you.
- Resolving matters informally can be more successful when having a face-to-face conversation with someone rather than sending an email or text message as sometimes the tone can get lost in the message, however it may the case that making contact in writing is the best approach for you.
- Writing down the behaviours/incidents, dates they occurred and the impact they had on you can help to prepare for the meeting with the person
- Start by giving examples of the type of behaviour that you feel is unwelcome and how it makes you feel i.e. “when you addressed me in that manner in front of other people, I felt embarrassed”
- Try to avoid labelling the behaviour as “bullying or harassment and instead focus on how that behaviour made you feel. i.e. embarrassed, uncomfortable, undermined.
- Ask for the behaviour to change or to stop.
- Allow appropriate opportunities to respond.
- If you feel comfortable, you can explain that this type of behaviour is contrary to the Policy.
- Each person should keep a written record of their interpretation of the meeting.