17 January 2010
The CWU believes that every worker should be treated with dignity and respect.
The Union does not tolerate harassment, bullying or discrimination. We aim to do all we can to ensure our workplaces are free from the misery caused by harassment and that all workers can expect to be treated with dignity and respect.
Harassment is: conduct related to age, disability, creed, race, nationality, religion, sex, sexual orientation or any other personal characteristic, that is unwanted or unwelcome by the individual or offensive to that person.
Simply telling the person who is harassing you that their attention is unwanted can sometimes be enough to persuade them to stop. However if the offender is persistent or you feel unable to confront them we will help members to try and resolve the issue in confidence. This may be done informally or formally.
If you feel you are being harassed, remember:
- You are not to blame
- You must not feel that this is acceptable
- You have the right to get it stopped
- You have the right to complain
- You have a right to confidentiality
- You have the right to be treated with dignity and respect
Your Employer’s Responsibility
In law your employer has a duty of care to provide a safe working environment for you to come to work in. The employer is responsible for acts of harassment committed by any of their employees. The employer has to prove that they have acted firmly enough against the perpetrator/s and that they have procedures in place for dealing with harassment and their workforce is aware of those procedures.
This means that no matter how good their procedures are on paper if they are ignored or the workforce is not made aware of them, then it is the employer who is to blame for acts of harassment committed by its employees. It is your employer’s responsibility to respond to the complaint and to resolve the matter fairly.
Your Union’s Responsibility
As a member, you are entitled to seek assistance and representation from the CWU. If a member comes to the union for help they will be given clear advice and where appropriate, representation to help them challenge the behaviours they are complaining about. You should also be informed of your legal rights to take your case to an Employment Tribunal if you have grounds.
Contact the Branch Equal Opportunities Officer: Ian Laker.
CWU Harassment Helpline
This service is available free to all members: 0800 107 1909
Members who feel unable to talk to anyone locally will be able to log their issues with the helpline 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you need, you will be able to talk confidentially to a professional counsellor.