The University of Leeds believes that every member of staff has the right to work in a supportive environment, free from harassment, bullying and victimisation. Similarly, every student at the University has the right to study and be taught in an environment that is supportive and free from such behaviours.
The University has produced a policy document to incorporate clearer guidance and complaints procedures for staff. The document is called “Policy on dignity and mutual respect” which contains useful information for people who are making or dealing with a complaint of bullying or harassment and is the correct policy to follow.
The University provides a number of services to support staff experiencing bullying, harassment or victimisation. These include:
Your Manager/Line Manager
Ideally, you should talk to your manager if you have experienced or observed harassment, bullying or victimisation, or if a complaint is made against you. Managers have a key responsibility for your general well-being and have prescribed roles to investigate and manage complaints.
Human Resources Managers (HR Managers)
If you are uncomfortable talking to your manager, you can consult your HR Manager to discuss any concerns. HR Managers will be able to discuss these issues with you sensitively and without involving your manager initially. In many cases, however, your manager may need to become involved at a later stage, as this is often necessary to investigate or address issues that are raised. You can find out the details of your local HR Manager on the HR website.
If you are experiencing a conflict with a colleague or colleagues, the University’s mediation service can help you communicate and work towards a solution. It is an impartial service and it is up to you whether or not you choose to try mediation.
The process focuses on the future and on rebuilding relationships, rather than blame. The starting point will generally be for you to arrange to meet with people from the mediation service on your own to discuss your situation and decide how to proceed.
For more information, visit the Mediation page.
Staff Counselling Service
The Staff Counselling and Psychological Support Service deals with a wide range of personal difficulties ranging from anxiety states and depression through to life and relationship issues, both at home and at work.
Staff can access the service by telephoning 0113 34 33694 and leaving contact details on the answering machine. Calls will be returned as soon as possible to arrange an appointment.
Leeds Citizens Advice Bureau
Leeds Citizen Advice Bureau (CAB) provide staff with a dedicated social welfare and legal rights advice service by telephone. The service is available exclusively for staff at the University and can provide advice on a wide range of issues including legal issues, employment rights and discrimination.
Staff can access the service by telephoning 0844 47 75772 on Tuesdays between 10am and 2pm to speak to an advisor. More information, and advice on what to do outside of these times, can be found on the HR website.
Trade Unions (for those who are members)
Employees of the University of Leeds are free to join a union of their choice, although union membership is not a condition of working here. Trade unions are able to provide assistance and support to members in relation to a wide range of issues, including bullying, harassment and victimisation.
The University recognises the following trade unions:
Advice to Managers from the Equality Policy Unit
Where a manager or Head of School/Service is considering how best to respond to issues raised within their area in relation to harassment or discrimination (on grounds of gender, race, sexual orientation, religion, age or disability), the Equality Policy Unit can provide advice on the way forward and act as an independent sounding board.
Although the Equality Policy Unit does not generally provide advice to individual staff members who have experienced discrimination or harassment, the service can signpost staff members to appropriate sources of advice and support. You can email the Equality Policy Unit at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
In 2018, Leeds University Union set up a project, ‘Hate Crime Reporting Project’, which allows anonymous reporting incidents of harassment and/or hate crimes. The online reporting system, which was launched in May 2018, is for both staff and students to use. Users can report any incidents of hate crime, sexual assault and online harassment they might experience or have witnessed. The form is completely anonymous but provides options for extra support.
As per their site: ‘You may not want to report a hate crime for many reasons, you may be worried you won’t be believed or you may not think you’ll be taken seriously or it will change anything. This is not the case. There are loads of positives to reporting a hate crime to us, whether they have happened on or off campus. Reporting it could stop incidents from happening to others. It can also help the police understand the extent of hate crime in the area, so that they can better respond to it. You can report a hate crime anonymously and don’t have to talk to the police, but if you do, we can help you.’
Access to the online form can be found here: https://www.luu.org.uk/student-help-support/hate-crime-reporting-project/
Other external sources of advice and support
External sources of advice and support for staff and managers on issues relating to harassment, bullying and victimisation include:
- The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) – ACAS offers a helpline service, which can provide advice to employers and employees who are involved in an employment dispute or are seeking information on employment rights and rules.
- The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) is a statutory body charged with enforcing anti-discrimination legislation. The Commission operates a helpline for employers and employees.
- Your local Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) can provide free and impartial advice. You can find your local office on the CAB website.