Bullying and Harassment (Staff)

 

Adopted 17th June 2019.

Reviewed August 2020

The next review date is Agust 2023

Policy Statement

At KingsGate School we are committed to treating all people with dignity and respect. KingsGate School firmly believes in the right of all people to work in an environment that is harmonious and free from unlawful discrimination or harassment, bullying and victimisation, collectively known as "Unacceptable Conduct".

The purpose of this policy is to provide guidance to employees on how to identify, report, and help prevent Unacceptable Conduct from occurring at KingsGate School.

 

Bullying

Bullying is any repeated unreasonable behaviour directed towards a person, or group of people, that creates a risk to their mental or physical health and safety.

"Unreasonable behaviour" means behaviour that a reasonable person, having regard to all the circumstances, would expect to victimise, humiliate, undermine or threaten.

"Behaviour" includes actions of individuals or a group, and may involve using a system of work as a means of victimising, humiliating, undermining or threatening. Some examples of behaviour that may constitute bullying are:

1. continually making jokes or remarks about a person, or making more remarks about one member of a team compared to other team members.

2. verbal abuse, swearing or name-calling.

3. excluding or isolating employees.

4. intimidation

5. assigning meaningless tasks unrelated to a person's job.

6. deliberately changing work rosters to inconvenience particular employees.

7. deliberately withholding information that is vital for effective work performance.

 

Overt bullying can include:

Threats and intimidation

Manipulation and coercion

Verbally abusive or degrading language or gestures

Shouting, yelling; using a raised voice and unpleasant tone

Unexplained displays of rage

Nitpicking and fault finding without justification

Constant humiliation

Belittling remarks either to the recipient or behind their back

Unjustified threats of dismissal or other disciplinary procedures

Punishment imposed without reasonable justification.

On the other hand, bullying is not:

Free and frank discussion about issues or concerns in the workplace, without personal insults.

Legitimate criticisms made to an employee about their behaviour or work performance (not expressed in a hostile, harassing manner).

Issuing reasonable instructions in line with delegated authority and expecting them to be carried out

Warning or disciplining an employee in line with NZSTA policy.

Insisting on satisfactory standards of performance in terms of quality, safety and team cooperation.

Giving negative feedback, including in a performance appraisal, and requiring justified performance improvement.

Occasional differences of opinion, non-aggressive conflicts, and problems in working relations.

Allocation of work in accordance with NZSTA systems.

Workplace counselling, constructive feedback, managing underperformance and other disciplinary action in accordance with NZSTA policies and processes.

 

Step 1 - Self Resolution

In many cases, simply telling the person concerned that their behaviour is causing distress, explaining why it is unwelcome, and asking for it to stop will be sufficient. In dealing with all situations of a difficult or delicate nature we endorse the Matthew 18 principle for resolving problems – in the first instance going to the person involved. We recommend employing the following approach:

Focus on their behaviour – don’t make it personal.

Be as specific as possible and give examples of the behaviour that is causing you concern.

Explain why the behaviour is unwelcome and ask for it to stop. Often the person may not know their behaviour is causing distress and will stop immediately once told.

Be firm and confident - not aggressive or confrontational.

 

Covert bullying can include acts such as:

Deliberately overloading someone with work and imposing impossible deadlines.

Sabotaging someone’s work by withholding information that is required to fulfil tasks.

Hiding documents or equipment.

Constantly changing targets or work guidelines.

Preventing someone from receiving necessary resources and training.

Isolating or ignoring an employee on a consistent basis.

Changes in the duties or responsibilities of an employees member to their detriment, without reasonable justification.

If you feel uncomfortable with this approach then proceed to Step 2.

 

Step 2 - Speak with the Principal or Chair of the Board

If a complaint cannot be resolved by direct discussion, or you do not feel comfortable addressing the issue face to face, you should discuss the matter with, and seek guidance from the Principal. If the staff member initiates this process because of alleged Unacceptable Behaviour from the Principal, they should speak with the Chair of the BOT. Initiating a discussion with the Principal or BOT Chair may help to determine whether the behaviour you have experienced constitutes Unacceptable Conduct and will help you to understand the process, and develop options for resolving your concerns in the future. For example, they can help you to:

 

1. formulate a strategy to facilitate a dialogue between yourself and the other person about your concerns

2. develop skills to address the alleged behaviour

3. clearly understand the further options available to you if the matter cannot be resolved by direct discussion e.g. facilitated discussion/ mediation

 

Step 3 - Formal Investigation (if required)

The first stage in requesting a formal investigation of a complaint of Unacceptable Conduct is to speak with the Principal or Chair of the BOT. After speaking they will determine whether the behaviour you are concerned about constitutes Unacceptable Conduct (i.e. whether the behaviour would amount to unlawful harassment, discrimination, bullying or victimisation if it is found to have occurred) and whether the matter requires a formal investigation. Details regarding the process for a formal investigation can be found in the KingsGate School Procedures Manual. NOTE: Not all complaints will be appropriate for a formal investigation.

 

False accusations, vexatious complaints and defamation

Allegations of Unacceptable Conduct such as discrimination, harassment and bullying are serious matters and can potentially damage an individual's reputation.

 

If you intentionally make false allegations that a person has been unlawfully discriminating against, harassing, bullying or victimising another person, then you may be defaming the person. It is therefore very important that all complaints of Unacceptable Conduct are based on truth and fact. Intentionally false accusations or allegations that are found to be unsubstantiated because they are of a frivolous or vexatious nature will be viewed seriously and, where found to be intentional or malicious, may result in KingsGate School taking disciplinary action.

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