Policy on Harassment

Introduction

The GLOCAL recognizes the rights of every member and affiliate to be able to participate without being subjected to sexual  or any form of harassment. It is the obligation and responsibility of every member and affiliate of The GLOCAL to ensure that the organizations is free from any harassment. As such, The GLOCAL is fully committed to its obligation of eliminating harassment.

Purpose

The purpose of this document is to outline the position of The GLOCAL on harassment and to document the process which is to be followed should grievances or issues of salience arise.

Definitions

  • Harassment is belittling or threatening behavior directed at an individual or a group.
  • Harassment is known by many names, including
    • Mobbing
    • Bullying
    • Mistreatment
    • Aggression
    • Molestation
    • Abuse
  • Harassment includes various types of discrimination and acts of violation that are not confined to one specific group. These wide-ranging types of harassment can be categorized into emotional and physical abuse, all of which target various groups, including women, racial minorities, groups with particular sexual preferences, people with disabilities, immigrants, people wit particular religious preferences, and so forth.
  • The resolution of harassment requires pluralistic understanding, as it cannot be delineated in one coherent definition.
  • Any act of discrimination or assault that systematically disadvantages others is considered harassment, while contributing to the deterioration of physical and emotional health of those involved.

Types

The vast range of different harassments imposed on the victims can be categorized into two types, physical abuse and emotional abuse.

  • Physical abuse refers to sexual assault and violence on the body. Physical harassment takes many forms. Sexual assault is one form of widely known physical harassment. Sexual assault has gained media and academic attention majorly in the 90s after a series of famous sex scandals.
  • Another form of physical harassment is violence. Violence is defined as physical threats and assaults targeted people. There are two main perpetrators for workplace violence: criminals who approached as clients, and co-workers.[13] The criminals assert violence through the forms of robberies and homicides, and the rate of homicides in the workplace has risen significantly over the past 20 years.
  • Emotional abuse refers to imposing stress and bullying. Unlike physical harassment, emotional harassment is unnoticeable and also viewed as being more socially acceptable.[16] Naturally, emotional harassment gets less attention than physical harassment, which perpetuates the issue of emotional harassment. Emotional harassment can be defined as hostile behaviors directed at gaining compliance from others, and hence by manipulation of people’s actions through social behaviors.One common form of emotional abuse is bullying.
  • Specific bullying includes:
    • false accusations of mistakes and errors
    • hostile glares and other intimidating non-verbal behaviors
    • yelling, shouting, and screaming
    • exclusion and silent treatment
    • withholding resources and information necessary
    • behind-the-back sabotage and defamation
    • put-downs, insults, and excessively harsh criticism
    • unreasonably heavy work demands designed to ensure failure

Often, leaders exhibiting harassing behavior maintain their jobs as their behavior is seen to increase productivity. These behaviors can range from subtle emotional cues to outward physical threats, including

  • silence.
  • direct insults.
  • angry outbursts.

These actions can bring the humiliation to people, who may become isolated and this may result in the harassed person themselves lashing out at others, or committing suicide.

Victims

The victims of harassment can be separated into three categories:

  • Sex – All sexes are victims of harassment. The most common form of harassment that women face is sexual harassment, such as unwanted, unavoidable, uncomfortable sexual attention.
  • Sexuality – Despite that a great percentage of current populations identifies as LGBT,  these communities face constant discrimination and harassment. Harassment for LGBT communities include
    • the psychological and physical strain in hiding their sexuality in a heteronormative environment.
    • the direct harassment from the public after disclosing one’s sexuality. Here, as LGBT individuals experience verbal assault, physical violence, and hate crimes after disclosing their sexuality, these communities often conceal their sexuality.
  • Race – Culturally stigmatized groups face a great level of harassment. With changes in the political and social scenes globally, subtle and daily harassment is more common than blatant and explicit harassment. The mistreatments and harassments do not explicitly “reference race or discrimination as the cause of the treatment”, because overt racism is prohibited. However, race is associated with mistreatment.

Policy

  • The GLOCAL will not tolerate sexual harassment under any circumstances. Responsibility lies with every GLOCAL member to ensure that harassment does not occur.
  • The GLOCAL very explicitly states that harassment is unlawful and establishes minimum standards of behavior for all people perpetuating this harassment. This policy applies to conduct that takes place in any context, including conferences, a universal range of functions, social events and research excursions.
  • No person at any level should subject any other person to any form of harassment.
  • A breach of this policy will result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination of membership or involvement.
  • The GLOCAL strongly encourages any person who feels they have been harassed to take immediate action. If a person feels comfortable in doing so, it is preferable to raise the issue with the person directly with a view to resolving the issue by discussion. The person should identify the harassing behaviour, explain that the behaviour is unwelcome and offensive and ask that the behaviour stops. Alternatively, or in addition, they may report the behaviour in accordance with the relevant procedure. Once a report is made, the organisation has the right to determine how the report should be dealt with in accordance with its obligations and this policy.
  • Any reports of harassment will be treated seriously and promptly with sensitivity. Such reports will be completely confidential up to the point where a formal or informal complaint is lodged against a particular person, at which point that person must be notified under the rules of natural justice.
  • Complainants have the right to determine how to have a complaint treated, to have support or representation throughout the process, and the option to discontinue a complaint at any stage of the process.
    The alleged harasser also has the right to have support or representation during any investigation, as well as the right to respond fully to any formal allegations made. There will be no presumptions of guilt and no determination made until a full investigation has been completed.
    No person will be treated unfairly as a result of rejecting unwanted advances. Disciplinary action may be taken against anyone who victimises or retaliates against a person who has complained of harassment, or against any person who has been alleged to be a harasser.
  • All people have the right to seek the assistance of the relevant tribunal or legislative body to assist them in the resolution of any concerns.
    People of authority who fail to take appropriate corrective action when aware of harassment of a person will also be subject to disciplinary action.

Responsibilities

It is the responsibility of every member and affiliate of The GLOCAL to ensure that:

  • they are committed to the rights and entitlements of all people to ineract and to perform their duties, without fear of being sexually harassed in any form;
  • they are understand what constitutes an act of harassment;
  • all reasonable steps are made to eliminate harassment;
  • all members and affiliates are regularly made aware of their obligations in relation to providing an environment free from harassment;
  • they provide an environment which discourages harassment and victimization and set an example by their own behavior;
  • Equal Opportunity Contact Officers are appointed, trained and known to all staff;
  • they treat all complaints seriously and confidentially; and
  • they take immediate and appropriate corrective action if they become aware of any offensive action.
  • policies and procedures are regularly reviewed and (if necessary) amended;
  • policies and procedures are complied with regular guidance and education is provided to all regarding harassment and inappropriate behavior;
  • The GLOCAL is aware of its obligations and responsibilities in relation to  harassment, and the rights and entitlements of relevant people;
  • ongoing support and guidance is provided to all people in relation to the prevention of harassment.

Procedures

Complaint Process

  • Harassment can occur at any level of the organisation, can be experienced by both men and women, and may involve associates, volunteers, and any other member. Lack of intent is no defense in harassment cases.
  • Members or affiliates who believe they are the subject of harassment should take firm, positive and prompt action. Where possible, the members or affiliates should make the perceived harasser(s) aware that they find their behavior offensive, unwelcome, unacceptable, and that it must immediately cease.
  • If the behaviour continues, or if the person feels unable to speak to the person(s) directly, they should contact The GLOCAL.
  • The GLOCAL will provide support and ascertain the nature of the complaint and the wishes of the complainant.

Informal Intervention

  • The GLOCAL will explain the person’s rights and responsibilities under organisation’s policy, procedures and Equal Opportunity or anti-discrimination legislation.
  • Informal intervention may be undertaken through a process of mediation or conciliation. During informal intervention the alleged harasser will be made aware of the allegations being made against them and given the right to respond.
  • This procedure will be complete when the complainant and the respondent come to an agreement on the procedure to be followed. If this occurs, no record will be made of the proceedings, and any subsequent proceedings will begin de novo. If this does not occur, the formal procedure should be followed.

Formal Complaints Procedure

  • The GLOCAL may be obliged to carry out a formal investigation in relation to a complaint of sexual harassment.
  • The formal procedure will be coordinated by The GLOCAL, who will be guided by The GLOCAL.
  • Formal investigations may be conducted internally (by a GLOCAL officer) or by an external investigator.
  • An investigation involves collecting information about the complaint and then making a finding based on the available information as to whether or not the alleged behavior occurred. Once a finding is made, the investigator will make recommendations about resolving the complaint.
  • The investigator may need to interview the parties involved (which may include the complainant, the respondent, and any witnesses) to obtain information regarding the complaint. The investigator will comprehensively and accurately document all information obtained during the interviews including the parties involved, timing, location, and nature of conduct complained against.
  • If the investigator considers it appropriate for the safe and efficient conduct of an investigation, participants may be stood down from participation or provided with alternative duties during an investigation in which case they will be paid their normal pay during any such period.
    Throughout the investigation process, all parties involved in the investigation will be regularly kept informed about the investigation.
    Records are to be kept and filed in a confidential and secure place. If no confidential area is available, these notes may be sealed and forwarded to the Human Resources Department, where they will be maintained, unopened, in a confidential filing system. These records should be kept for a period of seven years. Under no circumstances will records be placed on the complainant’s personnel file.
  • The findings as to whether sexual harassment has occurred will be determined on the basis of the evidence, and on the balance of probabilities.
  • On the basis of the findings, possible outcomes of the investigation may include, but will not be limited to, any combination of the following:
    • Counseling;
    • Disciplinary action against the harasser (e.g. demotion, transfer, suspension, probation or dismissal);
    • Official warnings that are noted in the respondent’s personnel file;
    • Disciplinary action against the person who complained if there is strong evidence that the complaint was vexatious or malicious;
    • Formal apologies and undertaking that the behavior will cease;
    • Conciliation/mediation conducted by an impartial third party where the parties to the complaint agree to a mutually acceptable resolution;
    • Reimbursing any costs associated with the harassment;
    • Re-crediting any leave taken as a result of the harassment.
      On completion of the investigation, all parties will be informed about the investigation findings and the outcome of the investigation.
  • Following an investigation concerning a sexual harassment complaint (irrespective of the findings), The GLOCAL will:
    • consult with the parties involved to monitor the situation and their well-being
    • educate and remind all people of their obligations and responsibilities in relation to providing an environment free from bullying
  • Outcomes will depend upon factors such as:
    • The severity and frequency of the harassment;
    • The weight of the evidence;
    • The wishes of the person who was harassed;
    • Whether the harasser could have been expected to know that such behavior was a breach of policy;
    • The level of contrition;
    • Whether there have been any prior incidents or warnings.
    • If the investigation determines that harassment has occurred, The GLOCAL must forward a summary of the complaint and the action taken to the Human Resources Department. A copy may be placed in the respondent’s personnel file by the Human Resources Department, in accordance with Performance Counselling procedures. The GLOCAL will monitor the outcome to ensure that the offensive behavior has ceased, and that neither party has been victimized. This may involve follow-up interviews.
    • If there has been any substantiated victimization, disciplinary procedures will be followed.

Procedures for Dealing with Criminal Conduct

  • Some forms of severe sexual harassment (e.g. sexual assault, stalking, indecent exposure, physical molestation, obscene phone calls) may constitute criminal conduct.
  • While The GLOCAL is committed to treat most harassment complaints as far as possible, this type of conduct is not suited to internal resolution. Such complaints should be treated by the criminal justice system.
  • In relation to alleged criminal offences such as rape or sexual assault, the matter must be immediately referred to The GLOCAL main committee or legal systems. People should be advised of the option of police support or intervention. Despite that The GLOCAL will attempt to do so, it is not the obligation or duty of The GLOCAL to report such matters to the police on behalf of the complainant.