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Bullying, harassment and violence

Everyone at Serco has the right to be treated respectfully at all times in a workplace free from any kind of bullying, harassment or violence.

What seems to you like a harmless comment or action may offend someone whose culture is different from yours. So take care that your behaviour isn't making someone else uncomfortable.

Bullying - means any offensive, abusive, intimidating or insulting behaviour or abuse of power that makes someone feel upset, threatened, undermined, humiliated or vulnerable.

Harassment - means any behaviour that offends someone, violates their dignity or intimidates or humiliates them. This includes: bullying, using threatening, abusive or insulting words, physical threats or assault, unwanted physical or psychological contact, or open hostility in the workplace.

Violence - violence isn't just physical violence. It is any behaviour that makes someone else feel threatened. Examples of violence include: verbal abuse, offensive language, racist or sexist remarks, threatening to do harm, or physical attacks, including spitting and throwing objects.

These behaviours are unacceptable, we will not tolerate them, and we will take action against individuals who behave in this way.

If you see or hear violent or harassing behaviour, do not let it go unreported. Always Speak Up - the sooner the better.

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What you can expect from us:

We will do all we can to make sure everyone is treated with respect in the workplace.

We won't tolerate bullying, harassment or violence of any kind, whether by a colleague, third party or a member of the public.

Whenever there is violence, we will investigate. If it is appropriate we will encourage police intervention, and pursue criminal charges.

We take violence extremely seriously. If you are a victim of violence, and suffer physical or mental trauma as a result, we will support you in your recovery, and in any civil proceedings against those responsible.

We expect you to:

  • Treat everyone at work with courtesy, dignity and respect.
  • Recognise and respect differences in culture and beliefs.
  • Never behave in a way that could be offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting.
  • Never threaten anyone with physical or verbal violence.
  • Never humiliate or injure another person, or spread malicious gossip about them.
  • Report all incidents of bullying, harassment or violence, or any concerns you have that these might be taking place.
  • Assist in any investigation into an incident.
  • Never retaliate against someone who Speaks Up.

Bullying, Harassment and Violence

Everyone at Serco has the right to be treated respectfully at all times in a workplace free from any kind of bullying, harassment or violence.

These behaviours are unacceptable, we will not tolerate them, and we will take action against individuals who behave in this way.

For the second time you've seen a manager humiliate an individual in front of others.

You approach this individual, who urges you to do nothing. But you are still concerned.

Should you take it further?

1. You can't fight a manager. I'd advise them to try to find another position.

Wrong. Please try again.

2. No, I can't go against this individual's wishes.

Wrong. Please try again.

3. It’s my duty to report this, no matter what my colleague asks me to do.

Right answer because:

Our Code tells us,

"Everyone at Serco has the right to be treated respectfully at all times in a workplace free from any kind of bullying, harassment or violence. These behaviours are unacceptable, we will not tolerate them, and we will take action against individuals who behave in this way."

This is how our Code defines Bullying: "Any offensive, abusive, intimidating or insulting behaviour or abuse of power that makes someone feel upset, threatened, undermined, humiliated or vulnerable."

And this is the definition of Harassment: "Any behaviour that offends someone, violates their dignity or intimidates or humiliates them."

What you have witnessed is bullying, harassing behaviour. And it's not a one-off. It must be reported, so it can be stopped.

Because the bully in this case is a manager, Speaking Up can feel very difficult. Your colleague may well be frightened of retaliation. You may feel that too. But we provide ways for you to Speak Up safely. And we will protect you from any retaliation.

The only way to stop bullying in the workplace is to Speak Up.

A new colleague from overseas joins your team. He's young and it's his first ever job. Some on your team have teased him about this age and "funny" accent.

They say it's just a joke, and he seems to have taken it well and be enjoying his work.

Do you need to act?

1. Come on! It is his first job, he's got to get used to this banter

Wrong. Please try again.

2. Yes, Serco should be a great place to work and this isn't great behaviour

Right answer because:

We should all be able to joke at work – but not at the expense of someone else. We believe that Serco should be a great place to work. A place where you can do a good job, in a mutually respectful environment.

Our success depends on the skills and diversity of our people. Our Code asks us to stop and think about our behaviour and the effect it is having on others:

"What seems to you like a harmless comment or action may offend someone whose culture is different from yours. So take care that your behaviour isn't making someone else uncomfortable. "

Though it may appear "harmless", this is inappropriate behaviour that is actually treating someone else unfairly based on discrimination against their culture and accent. This person is being made to feel like an outsider, and it's behaviour that can quickly take root and become the norm unless it is challenged at the outset.

If you think it's happening, and say nothing, you are participating in it.

So raising this matter with your manager, Human Resources or Ethics Lead is the right thing to do.

Always ask yourself, "Is this how I'd like to be treated?" "Is this what we stand for?"

3. No, he's taking the teasing well and they'll get bored soon

Wrong. Please try again.

A female colleague is visibly upset at constant comments about her figure. She has mentioned it to her supervisor who advised her to ignore it, as it will soon blow over.

Is the advice given correct?

1. The best way to stop it is for her to on a diet.

Wrong. Please try again.

2. No, nobody should be upset at work over this sort of thing, it's not fair

Right answer because:

At Serco, we don't tolerate any form of harassment in the workplace.

Harassment means any behaviour that offends someone, violates their dignity or intimidates or humiliates them.

In this case a colleague is visibly upset by constant comments. This is harassment, and it is a cause for concern.

At Serco, we don't tolerate any form of harassment in the workplace.

We will do all we can to make sure everyone is treated with respect in the workplace and no one feels stressed or unhappy because of the behaviour of others.

These sorts of things can blow over, but the best chance of that happening is if a situation like this is monitored so comments like this stop.

So here this woman's supervisor should have supported her, and the advice should have been to ask where these comments are coming from so he or she can take action to stop the behaviour without further humiliating this woman.

Always ask yourself, "Is this how I'd like to be treated?" "Is this what we stand for?"

3. Yes, everyone will soon get bored

Wrong. Please try again.

Recently you've noticed a change in a colleague. They are quick to criticise and reluctant to engage in conversation.

This morning you say them shouting aggressively at a junior team member who made a simple mistake.

What should you do?

1. Talk to their manager to see if they've noticed anything too

Right answer because:

While it would be good to have a chat to check if your colleague is aware their behaviour is upsetting, aggressively shouting at a colleague is never acceptable. Whatever the junior has done, we do not tolerate shouting in the workplace.

And since this is not normal behaviour for your colleague, they may need help.

So this behaviour must be addressed, and the sooner that happens the easier it is to deal with the situation.

Our Code gives you both the context and the action you should take:
We expect you to:

  • Treat everyone at work with courtesy, dignity and respect
  • Never behave in a way that could be offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting
  • Never threaten anyone with physical or verbal violence
  • Report all incidents of bullying, harassment or violence, or any concerns you have that these might be taking place
  • If you see or hear violent or harassing behaviour, do not let it go unreported. Always Speak Up – the sooner the better.

 

2. Nothing. They're probably going through a rough patch, and it's not their usual behaviour

Wrong. Please try again.

3. Have a chat with them and say you've noticed a change in them

Wrong. Please try again.

Dilemma 1

For the second time you've seen a manager humiliate an individual in front of others.

You approach this individual, who urges you to do nothing. But you are still concerned.

Should you take it further?

1. You can't fight a manager. I'd advise them to try to find another position.

Wrong. Please try again.

2. No, I can't go against this individual's wishes.

Wrong. Please try again.

3. It’s my duty to report this, no matter what my colleague asks me to do.

Right answer because:

Our Code tells us,

"Everyone at Serco has the right to be treated respectfully at all times in a workplace free from any kind of bullying, harassment or violence. These behaviours are unacceptable, we will not tolerate them, and we will take action against individuals who behave in this way."

This is how our Code defines Bullying: "Any offensive, abusive, intimidating or insulting behaviour or abuse of power that makes someone feel upset, threatened, undermined, humiliated or vulnerable."

And this is the definition of Harassment: "Any behaviour that offends someone, violates their dignity or intimidates or humiliates them."

What you have witnessed is bullying, harassing behaviour. And it's not a one-off. It must be reported, so it can be stopped.

Because the bully in this case is a manager, Speaking Up can feel very difficult. Your colleague may well be frightened of retaliation. You may feel that too. But we provide ways for you to Speak Up safely. And we will protect you from any retaliation.

The only way to stop bullying in the workplace is to Speak Up.

Dilemma 2

A new colleague from overseas joins your team. He's young and it's his first ever job. Some on your team have teased him about this age and "funny" accent.

They say it's just a joke, and he seems to have taken it well and be enjoying his work.

Do you need to act?

1. Come on! It is his first job, he's got to get used to this banter

Wrong. Please try again.

2. Yes, Serco should be a great place to work and this isn't great behaviour

Right answer because:

We should all be able to joke at work – but not at the expense of someone else. We believe that Serco should be a great place to work. A place where you can do a good job, in a mutually respectful environment.

Our success depends on the skills and diversity of our people. Our Code asks us to stop and think about our behaviour and the effect it is having on others:

"What seems to you like a harmless comment or action may offend someone whose culture is different from yours. So take care that your behaviour isn't making someone else uncomfortable. "

Though it may appear "harmless", this is inappropriate behaviour that is actually treating someone else unfairly based on discrimination against their culture and accent. This person is being made to feel like an outsider, and it's behaviour that can quickly take root and become the norm unless it is challenged at the outset.

If you think it's happening, and say nothing, you are participating in it.

So raising this matter with your manager, Human Resources or Ethics Lead is the right thing to do.

Always ask yourself, "Is this how I'd like to be treated?" "Is this what we stand for?"

3. No, he's taking the teasing well and they'll get bored soon

Wrong. Please try again.

Dilemma 3

A female colleague is visibly upset at constant comments about her figure. She has mentioned it to her supervisor who advised her to ignore it, as it will soon blow over.

Is the advice given correct?

1. The best way to stop it is for her to on a diet.

Wrong. Please try again.

2. No, nobody should be upset at work over this sort of thing, it's not fair

Right answer because:

At Serco, we don't tolerate any form of harassment in the workplace.

Harassment means any behaviour that offends someone, violates their dignity or intimidates or humiliates them.

In this case a colleague is visibly upset by constant comments. This is harassment, and it is a cause for concern.

At Serco, we don't tolerate any form of harassment in the workplace.

We will do all we can to make sure everyone is treated with respect in the workplace and no one feels stressed or unhappy because of the behaviour of others.

These sorts of things can blow over, but the best chance of that happening is if a situation like this is monitored so comments like this stop.

So here this woman's supervisor should have supported her, and the advice should have been to ask where these comments are coming from so he or she can take action to stop the behaviour without further humiliating this woman.

Always ask yourself, "Is this how I'd like to be treated?" "Is this what we stand for?"

3. Yes, everyone will soon get bored

Wrong. Please try again.

Dilemma 4

Recently you've noticed a change in a colleague. They are quick to criticise and reluctant to engage in conversation.

This morning you say them shouting aggressively at a junior team member who made a simple mistake.

What should you do?

1. Talk to their manager to see if they've noticed anything too

Right answer because:

While it would be good to have a chat to check if your colleague is aware their behaviour is upsetting, aggressively shouting at a colleague is never acceptable. Whatever the junior has done, we do not tolerate shouting in the workplace.

And since this is not normal behaviour for your colleague, they may need help.

So this behaviour must be addressed, and the sooner that happens the easier it is to deal with the situation.

Our Code gives you both the context and the action you should take:
We expect you to:

  • Treat everyone at work with courtesy, dignity and respect
  • Never behave in a way that could be offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting
  • Never threaten anyone with physical or verbal violence
  • Report all incidents of bullying, harassment or violence, or any concerns you have that these might be taking place
  • If you see or hear violent or harassing behaviour, do not let it go unreported. Always Speak Up – the sooner the better.

 

2. Nothing. They're probably going through a rough patch, and it's not their usual behaviour

Wrong. Please try again.

3. Have a chat with them and say you've noticed a change in them

Wrong. Please try again.