It is always better to try and resolve any issues informally if possible, but anyone who feels they are the subject of harassment or bullying can make a formal complaint.

Formal action

While it is always better to try and resolve any issues of harassment and bullying informally if possible, anyone who considers that they are the subject of harassment or bullying in any form can make a formal complaint.

It is important to note that, in proceeding with an investigation, the University will need to be satisfied that a complaint of this nature is injurious to maintaining good order within our academic community and is not simply a case of individuals navigating challenging interpersonal relations.

A formal complaint must be made in writing using the appropriate procedure.

If you are a member of staff

If you are a member of staff and you wish to complain about harassment and bullying by another member of staff or a student, you should use the University’s Grievance Procedure.

Your grievance should include the following information:

  • the name(s) of the person(s) whose behaviour is causing offence
  • full details of what has happened; including dates and times, how it is affecting you, the names of any witnesses and copies of any supporting evidence

The Grievance Procedure will be followed. On receipt of your complaint the Director of Human Resources (or his/her nominee) will consider whether mediation is appropriate. Where mediation is not considered suitable at that stage, consideration will be given to whether the complaint should be referred to the Student Disciplinary Procedure or the Health, Wellbeing and Support for Study procedure (as appropriate).

Otherwise there will be an investigation appropriate to the nature of the complaint. You may if you wish be accompanied to meetings by a work colleague, trade union representative or Dignity and Respect Advisor. Such investigation will seek to establish the factual evidence and will be conducted in a sensitive manner (see Safeguards).

Following this initial assessment, the Director of Human Resources (or his/her nominee) may:

  • determine that there is not a prima facie case of inappropriate conduct. You will be advised of this in writing, and your right of appeal. 
  • recommend that the formal Grievance Procedure be progressed with a stage 2 Grievance Meeting

The Grievance Procedure also includes a right of appeal.

If you are a student

If you are a student and you wish to complain about harassment and bullying by another student or staff member, and if you have endeavoured to resolve the issue informally (see the informal stage of the Student Complaints Procedure), you should submit your complaint using the form contained in the Student Complaints Procedure. Your complaint should include the following information:

  • the name(s) of the person(s) whose behaviour is causing offence
  • full details of what has happened; including dates and times, how it is affecting you, the names of any witnesses and copies of any supporting evidence

Your completed Complaints Form should be submitted to the relevant Pro Vice Chancellor or Head of Service (as appropriate) as a Formal Complaint.

The formal complaints procedure will be followed for a Formal Complaint which will include an investigation appropriate to the nature of the complaint. This investigation may be carried out by appropriate staff in the College/Service or, if the complaint is against a staff member, by an Investigating Officer commissioned by the University’s HR Casework Manager. You may be accompanied at all times by a friend or supporter who should usually be a member of the University, the Students’ Guild Advice Unit or FXU or a Dignity and Respect Advisor. Such investigations will seek to establish the factual evidence and will be conducted in a sensitive manner (see Safeguards).

The Student Complaints Procedure includes a right of appeal (as a Complaint Review).

Exceptional cases

In exceptional cases, where the University becomes aware of concerns of very serious bullying or harassment, the University may investigate the situation in accordance with its duty of care to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all staff and/or students who may be affected by the alleged behaviour, even if an individual decides not to make a formal complaint. Where there is found to be evidence of bullying and harassment then this could result in action being taken under the HR Disciplinary procedure or the Student Disciplinary procedure as appropriate.