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Report it

Report it

Reporting inappropriate behaviour

While we would always encourage you to try and resolve any issues initially by talking about them (see Call It or Discuss It), there are also ways you can report inappropriate behaviour.

There are different reporting mechanisms according to whether you have experienced discrimination or harassment. You can also make an informal report of discrimination.

Therefore to enable you to access the most appropriate support and procedures it is helpful if you know whether what you have experienced is discrimination or harassment.

While there are times when the categories of ‘discrimination’ and ‘harassment’ may blur or overlap, generally they can be defined as the following:


Discrimination occurs when someone is treated less favourably (known as ‘direct discrimination’) because of their age, disability, sex, gender reassignment, race, pregnancy/maternity, marriage/civil partnership, religion/belief or sexual orientation. These are the ‘protected characteristics’ under the Equality Act 2010.

Discrimination can also occur if a policy, practice or process puts someone with one, or more, of these protected characteristics at an unfair disadvantage (known as ‘indirect discrimination’).

Discrimination can only occur if it takes place as a result of one of these nine specific characteristics defined by the Equality Act.


Harassment is unwanted conduct that occurs with the purpose or effect of violating the dignity of an individual or creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment.

It can be carried out by an individual or group of individuals, and bullying is a form of harassment.

Harassment can be related to the nine protected characteristics mentioned above, but it can also be much more wide ranging and can occur for any reason.

Harassment can be persistent or a single occurrence.

How can I report discrimination or harassment?

If you feel that you have experienced discrimination or harassment please see the following pages for details of the relevant informal and formal reporting mechanisms:

Reporting discrimination: What to do if you experience discrimination

Reporting harassment: What to do if you experience harassment

What if I witness discrimination or harassment happening to someone else?

If you feel able, you could speak up about the incident at the time (see Call it). You can also encourage the recipient of the discrimination or harassment to access support (see Discuss it).

In addition you can report the incident to a relevant colleague (eg your line manager). This is called ‘third-party reporting’. With third-party reporting there may be limitations to action that can be taken, however it is still important to report such incidents.

You can also informally report this via our Reporting Form [opens in a new window].

You can also contact the Exeter University Speak Out Guardians (For staff)

More information can be found on the Exeter Speaks Out webpages