Fair policy at work on the agenda

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Councillors at next week’s Policy and Resources Committee will be asked to approve a draft Fair Treatment at Work Policy for Dumfries and Galloway Council.

The single policy is expected to replace two previous policies on Bullying and Dignity at Work.

Council leader Ronnie Nicholson said: “This is a great example of our human resources team working in partnership with the joint trades unions (including the teaching unions). Our council has existing policies which had been refreshed in 2010, but it was time for a more in-depth review. I hope this single policy will prevent any confusion or delay in dealing with complaints.

“There is not a widespread problem within our council and policies such as Fair Treatment at Work will help this to remain the case. This is an inclusive council that places great importance on our workforce. I would like to thank the joint trades unions for their work in developing this policy.”

The draft policy deals with complaints related to unfair treatment.

These are defined as follows.

• Bullying: persistent and repeated behaviour which is targeted, offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting and can include the misuse of power intended to undermine, humiliate or harm.

• Harassment: unwanted conduct which is related to a “protected characteristic” under the Equality Act 2010 which has the purpose or effect of violating a person’s dignity or creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading or offensive environment for that person. In this respect, it is the effect of the behaviour on the recipient, not how it was intended which is the key in determining whether or not the behaviour constitutes harassment. Harassment may be a single incident or persistent and may affect one person or a group of individuals.

• Victimisation: a person is subject to unfair treatment because they have, in good faith, made a complaint. Or when a person who has supported a colleague to make a complaint is subject to unfair treatment.