Bullying is defined as repeated inappropriate behaviour, direct or indirect, whether verbal, physical or otherwise, conducted by one or more persons against another or others, at the place of work/study and/or in the course of employment/study which could reasonably be regarded as undermining the individual’s right to dignity at the place of work/study. An isolated incident of the behaviour described in this definition may be an affront to dignity at work but, as a once off incident, is not considered to be bullying.
The University will apply the following criteria set out by the Code of Practice on Bullying 2021:
- an on-going series of accumulation of seriously negative targeted behaviours against a person or persons to undermine their esteem and standing in a harmful, sustained way
- behaviour is offensive, on-going, targeted and outside any reasonable “norm'
- a pattern and trend are involved so that a reasonable person would regard such behaviour as clearly wrong, undermining and humiliating
- involves repeated incidents or a pattern of behaviour that is usually intended to intimidate, offend, degrade or humiliate a particular person or group of people – but the intention is not important in the identification process
Examples of bullying behaviour
The following are common, but not exclusive examples of bullying behaviour:
- Verbal abuse/insults
- Physical abuse
- Being treated less favourably than colleagues
- Intrusion – pestering, spying or stalking
- Unjustifiable exclusion e.g. withholding information, isolation or non-co-operation, non-response or repeated unavailability, exclusion from classroom and social activities.
- Menacing behaviour
- Offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behaviour, open aggression, threats, shouting
- Undermining behaviour
- Controlling, coercive and threatening behaviour
- Excessive monitoring of work
- Withholding work-related information
- Blame for things beyond the person’s control
- Misuse of power through means intended to undermine, humiliate, denigrate or injure the recipient
- Bullying and Harassment on Social Media whether conducted on a personal device or University equipment
Bullying at work does not include reasonable and essential feedback or constructive criticism or discipline arising from the management of the conduct or performance of an employee at work or actions taken which can be justified on grounds such as safety, health and welfare at work. For example, an employee whose performance is justifiably signalled in a proper and reasonable manner as being below required standards may feel threatened and insecure in their work but this in itself does not indicate bullying. In addition, differences of opinion, arguments or other interpersonal conflict can occur in the workplace, classroom, in student clubs, teams and in student societies. Bullying or harassment should not be confused with these situations.