Harassment & Bullying
What is Harassment and Bullying?
Both the MDP and MoD have policies and policy statements making it clear that this behaviour will not be tolerated and these are enforced through the MDP Harassment Complaints Procedure and JSP 763 respectively.
Harassment and bullying complaints, in cases where the alleged offender is a Ministry of Defence Police officer, are dealt with under the MDP Harassment Complaints Procedure and not under the Grievance Procedure.
Harassment is defined by the MDP Harassment Complaints Procedure as any behaviour that is:
Any form of unwanted verbal, non-verbal or physical conduct that has the purpose or effect of violating the dignity of a person or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment.
Bullying is defined by the same procedure as:
The abuse of power by the persistent use of behaviour which is offensive, abusive, intimidating, malicious or insulting and which makes the recipient feel upset, threatened, humiliated or vulnerable.
Harassment and Bullying complaints can be informal or formal. The member making the complaint will become known as the Complainant and the person/s complained of will be the Respondent/s.
Note: If the complaint is regarding MGS, Civilian or Service personnel then it must be channelled through the MOD Complaints Procedures in line with JSP 763.
Effects of Harassment and Bullying
Harassment and Bullying can be harmful and can cause both psychological and physical effects which can be many and varied. These effects can also account for periods of time off on sick leave and affect team work and efficiency.
What do I do if I am a victim?
It can be very daunting for a member embarking on action for harassment or bullying and because it is such a vast subject covering many situations in a variety of circumstances, it is important to be directed to the correct contacts and procedure from the outset. If you are unfortunate enough to experience harassment or bullying you should, in the first instance, contact your Branch Representative or other Federation Official (Area Support Officer or Secretary) to seek advice as you are entitled to be represented at any stage in proceedings.
The Federation Representative will advise the member of the best course of action and will explain the role of the Assisting Officer who will assist in the preparation and subsequent representation of the member. They will also explain the role of the Line Manager in the situation and any other Departments that may become involved, such as Occupational Welfare or PSD.
The Complainant is always advised to try and resolve the matter informally where possible. An informal complaint can be made by completing and submitting Annex C of the MDP Harassment Complaints Procedure.
If this is not possible then a formal complaint should be pursued and Annex E of the same policy should be completed and submitted at the earliest opportunity. The member must liaise with the appointed Assisting Officer and listen carefully to the advice given and be prepared to answer questions that the Investigating Officer (if a formal investigation is deemed necessary) may wish to put.
Above all, ensure that accuracy is maintained at all times!
It is important that the member gives a fully detailed explanation with copies of any supporting evidence and policy details that are relevant. The member should be clear as to what they require as an outcome to resolve the complaint.
Beware of time limits!
There are time limits in that a complaint should be made within 3 months of the last incident, although in harassment and bullying cases they may be considered over the 3 month limit on their merits. The time limit for an Employment Tribunal remains the same at 3 months less one day in most cases, which is why it is important to seek assistance at the earliest opportunity.
You are advised in all cases to read and fully understand the MDP Harassment Complaints Procedures and, where applicable, JSP 763.