Dignity at Work and Study
We aim to provide the best possible working environment for all who work with us, one that is based on collaboration and respect to protect the dignity of all.
We expect all to recognise that each individual has a right to a working environment which encourages respectful, considerate, dignified and non-sexualised working relationships. It is the duty of everyone to treat their colleagues with dignity and respect and we are opposed to harassment and bullying in any form. Everyone is responsible for their own behaviour in this regard and any threatening, aggressive, bullying behaviour, harassment or unwanted sexual attention, language or behaviour may result in disciplinary action and will be treated as gross misconduct. In the case of non-employees appropriate sanctions, for example: suspension or exclusion of contracts, will be taken.
This policy extends, and is made available to all, including employees, workers, artists, freelancers, consultants, participants, contractors, trainees, volunteers, casual workers and agency staff, and at any place or venue where work is carried out and is deemed to be a work or training environment of Mascarade Opera, to ensure support and implementation of this policy.
It is the responsibility of all managers, members of staff and people employed by Mascarade Opera to ensure this policy is upheld and clearly communicated to everyone. The organisation is committed to dealing with complaints of bullying and/or harassment in a fair and sensitive manner, and endeavouring to ensure confidentiality with respect to any complaints. The policy applies to bullying/harassment, not only to and by colleagues and artists but also to and by freelancers, consultants, participants, contractors, trainees, volunteers, casual workers and agency staff, or other business contacts to which an individual might reasonably expect to come into contact with in the course of their work.
Bullying is defined as behaviour or language that is offensive, intimidating, malicious, insulting, or an abuse of power through means that undermine, humiliate, denigrate or injure the recipient. Bullying can use either a single factor in the above definition or a combination where there is an intention to undermine or humiliate the recipient. Bullying can include conduct offensive to a reasonable person, e.g., oral or written slurs, physical contact, gestures, jokes, displaying pictures, flags/emblems, graffiti or other material which state/imply prejudicial attitudes which are offensive to others. Other examples of bullying behaviour include:
- Personal insults, name calling and sneering
- Persistent unjustified criticism and sarcasm
- Public or private humiliation
- Shouting at staff in public and/or private
- Instantaneous rage, often over trivial issues
- Continuously refusing reasonable requests without good reasons
- Intimidation and threats in general
Harassment is defined as any conduct based on sex, race, disability, age, gender reassignment, sexual orientation, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, religion or belief or other status which is unreciprocated or unwanted and which affects the dignity of all at work, or creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for an individual. This extends to individuals who identify behaviour that they find offensive even if it is not directed at them, and do not possess the relevant characteristic themselves.
It is important to remember that it is not the intention of the harasser but how the recipient perceives their behaviour, which determines whether harassment has occurred.
The unwanted conduct may consist of acts, requests, spoken words, gestures or the production, display or circulation of written words, pictures or other material. Harassment can also be of a sexual nature, and examples of sexual harassment include:
- Sexual gestures
- Displaying sexually suggestive objectives, pictures, calendars
- Sending suggestive or pornographic correspondence including text messages or emails
- Unwelcome sexual comments and jokes
- Unwelcome physical conduct such as pinching, unnecessary touching, etc.
- Deliberate exclusion from conversation or activities
- Abusive, insulting, or threatening language
- Demands or threats to obtain favours
- Threatened or actual violence
Effects of Bullying & Harassment on the victim
Bullying can have a physical, mental and behavioural impact on an individual’s character. Victims can lose their self-confidence and self-esteem and are at increased risk of suffering stress-related conditions that can trigger further trauma. Apart from the direct impact on a victim’s health, long-term exposure to bullying may also have consequences for the victim’s livelihood, through absenteeism and even resignation from work in order to avoid contact with the bully.
We are conscious of the effects that bullying and harassment can have on an individual and will take all reasonable steps to support them.
No form of intimidation, bullying or harassment will be tolerated. If you believe that you may have suffered any of these, you should refer to Mascarade Opera’s Grievance Procedure if you are an employee or artist. If you are not an employee, please refer to the organisation’s Complaints Procedure. If appropriate, it is worth considering the use of the informal options available in both these procedures as they are likely to produce solutions that are speedy, effective and minimise embarrassment and the risk of breaching confidentiality.
Everyone has a responsibility to respect the dignity of their colleagues and contacts in the workplace and to create and contribute to a work environment that is free from bullying and harassment or from conduct likely to contribute to bullying or harassment.
Management and others in positions of authority have a particular responsibility to ensure that bullying, sexual harassment and harassment does not occur and that complaints are addressed speedily through the appropriate procedures. In particular, management should:
- provide a good example by treating all in the workplace with courtesy and respect;
- promote awareness of the organisation’s policy and complaints/grievance procedures;
- be vigilant for signs of bullying or harassment and take action before a problem escalates;
- respond sensitively to anyone who makes a complaint/grievance involving bullying or harassment;
- explain the procedures to be followed if a complaint/grievance involving bullying or harassment is made;
- endeavour to ensure that anyone making a complaint/grievance is not victimised for doing so; and
- monitor and follow up the situation after a complaint/grievance is made so that the bullying or harassment does not recur.
We are aware that sometimes an allegation of sexual harassment will not be reported at the time it occurs, but much later than this. We will always take such an allegation very seriously, and will handle the allegation in a way that is sensitive and fair to the individual who has made the allegation, anybody who has witnessed it and anybody who is being accused of sexual harassment. As a first step, we will discuss with the individual who has experienced the sexual harassment what outcome is desired in these circumstances.
Although we will always take these matters seriously and investigate accordingly, there is a time limit for action to be taken under Employment Law, through the Employment Tribunal system. This limit is three months after the incident took place (this limit applies to any incident not only those involving sexual harassment). If an allegation of bullying or harassment of any nature is made outside this time frame, we will still take the matter seriously using our internal procedures to reach appropriate outcomes, but in most cases, there will not be an option to take action under Employment Law.
Training and communication
Mascarade Opera will provide relevant training to all employees and management on how best to implement this policy and maintain the values of dignity and respect in the workplace. The organisation is committed to communicating this policy in so far as is practicable to all relevant persons to whom it may apply.