Whether you’re a student or a staff member, bullying and harassment is never okay.

Both bullying and harassment are contrary to the Equality Act 2010 and the University of Warwick’s Principles and Dignity Policy. 

What is Bullying? 

Bullying is offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behaviour involving the misuse of power.

Power does not always mean being in a position of authority, but can include both personal strength and the power to coerce through fear or intimidation.

Bullying can take the form of physical, verbal, non-verbal and online conduct. Actions may constitute bullying whether or not the person behaving in that way intends to cause offence. This also applies to people who are not the subject of the bullying, but who may witness and be offended by it. 

Examples of bullying include, but are not limited to: 

  • shouting at, being sarcastic towards, ridiculing or demeaning others 
  • overbearing and intimidating levels of supervision 
  • inappropriate and/or derogatory remarks about someone's performance 
  • abuse of authority or power by those in positions of seniority 
  • deliberately excluding someone without good reason. 

Bullying can take the form of persistent behaviour or a single action. 

Important to note: There are differences between bullying and assertive management. Bullying is always unfair and may undermine someone’s efforts to perform well. Assertive management, on the other hand, may involve setting demanding – but fair and achievable – targets and standards of behaviour appropriate to someone’s job, grade and level of responsibility. 

 

What is Harassment? 

Harassment (as defined by Section 26 of the Equality Act 2010) includes unwanted behaviour or conduct which has the purpose or effect of violating a person’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment because of, or connected to, one or more of the following protected characteristics:

  • age
  • disability
  • gender reassignment
  • race
  • religion or belief
  • sex
  • sexual orientation
Under our definition, we understand harassment to include domestic violence and abuse (which can also involve control, coercion and threats) and stalking.

We would also consider harassment to include any incidents of physical violence towards another person(s) on the basis of a protected characteristic.


Unwanted behaviour could be, but is not limited to: 

  • Deliberate physical and/or verbal abuse including embarrassing or derogatory remarks, jokes, name-calling and obscene gestures. 
  • Ridiculing an individual because of physical differences, the way they present their masculinity or femininity, in terms of dress or attitude.
  • Making stereotypical assumptions about colleagues, friends or members of the public based on their sexuality.
  • Deliberate interference with wheelchair or support equipment. 
  • Racist, sexist, homophobic or ageist 'jokes', or derogatory or stereotypical remarks about a particular ethnic or religious group or gender.
  • Outing or threatening to out someone as gay, lesbian, bisexual or trans.
  • Ridiculing an individual because of the way they dress or their religious observance customs. 
  • Using blasphemous or offensive language against any religion or belief, or making inappropriate or derogatory references to religious figures or customs. 


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