Advice to Members

Created on: 02 Aug 2023 | Last modified: 14 Sep 2023

It is in your best interests to seek advice from your EIS representative.

Advice to Members: If you are a victim of bullying and harassment

  • Always seek advice
  • Do not ignore it
  • Your employer is obliged to have good policies to deal effectively with bullying and harassment. If you feel you are being subjected to bullying or harassment do not feel that you have to ignore it or that it is your fault
  • Seek help and support
  • Seek advice from an EIS representative. They will be able to offer support and advise you of the best course of action
  • Take notes
  • Keep a note of incidents and the dates, times and places and the effects on you, as soon as possible after the event. This will be valuable if you decide to pursue your complaint formally. Wherever possible get witnesses and/or medical evidence if appropriate
  • Record tasks you are asked to do and timescales. Keep a note of good reports about your work
  • Consider whether or not you are alone or if other people feel the same way or have been subjected to similar behaviour. You may well find you are not alone
  • Asking for the behaviour to stop
  • You may feel confident enough to ask those responsible for this behaviour to stop or you may wish to do this with the help of your representative. It is important to let the person know that you do not like the behaviour
  • If you feel you cannot face the person you may wish to write. If you do decide to put it in writing seek advice from your EIS representative. Ensure that you state clearly the behaviour you find objectionable and that you wish it to stop
  • If the behaviour continues after you have asked the person to stop, you may wish to consider, with the assistance of your EIS representative, pursuing a formal complaint using your employer’s agreed procedures
  • Some incidents may be so serious that your EIS Representative may wish to refer your case to the local association secretary for your area.
  • In the event of disciplinary action being taken with regard to the allegations, you may be required to give evidence at a hearing and your EIS Representative will be able to provide you with advice.

Advice to Members: If you are a witness to bullying and harassment to another colleague

Everyone has a responsibility to prevent this behaviour. Often inaction encourages the behaviour to continue. Seek advice on what to do from your EIS Representative. If the victim decides to pursue a formal complaint you may be called upon to give oral or written evidence.

Members should not experience bullying/harassment as a result of taking part in trade union activities or supporting or giving evidence on behalf of a colleague. If this occurs, members should seek advice from their EIS Representative as soon as possible.

Any incident of assault or violence should be reported to the police.

Advice to Members: If you are accused of bullying or harassment

  • Bullying and Harassment are serious matters. Most authorities, colleges and universities have agreed policies on bullying and harassment. Employers have a duty of care towards their employees and a duty not to discriminate on grounds of any of the protected characteristics
  • If you are advised that your behaviour is causing distress or upset to a colleague then you should stop and consider why this is the case. What you consider to be harmless fun, strong management or a personality trait may be causing distress to others
  • Listen carefully to the complaint
  • It may be that this is an informal approach alerting you to the behaviour
  • Do not assume the person complaining is overreacting
  • People rarely make such complaints frivolously
  • Stop the behaviour at once
  • Consider what has been said and try to put yourself in the position of the other person. You may not realise that your behaviour has caused distress
  • Seek advice
  • If you do not understand the complaint seek advice from your EIS representative. If you were acting in a management capacity consult the authority. If your authority fails to provide advice and assistance you should seek advice from your EIS Representative
  • If you feel the complaint is unjust or malicious
  • Seek advice from your representative
  • Ensure you are familiar with the existing agreed procedures
  • In the event of any formal proceedings ensure you have proper advice and representation