Bullying and harassment
The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) believes that an open and supportive working and learning environment that values everyone and is free of intimidation, bullying and harassment is essential for our work to defeat cancer.
Everyone should be alert to the possibility of bullying or harassment occurring to them and others; the responsibility for intervening to prevent or address unacceptable behaviour when it does occur lies with us all.
The ICR does not tolerate bullying or harassment of any kind and will always take any such allegations extremely seriously.
The ICR defines bullying as conduct – often, but not necessarily, involving the abuse or misuse of power – with the intention or the effect of undermining, humiliating, demeaning, oppressing or intimidating the recipient. In many cases it takes the form of aggressive, offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behaviour. There may be no direct intention to bully. This definition is based on the ACAS definition of bullying.
Examples of bullying include: public reprimands, ridicule, sarcasm or humiliation; making demeaning or hurtful comments; verbal or physical intimidation; setting wholly unreasonable targets; the imposition of unjustifiable workloads; shouting; repeated and/or unreasonable criticism; the unjustified withholding of information; giving false information; making threats about job security or dismissal; and ostracism
Harassment is legally defined by the Equality Act 2010 as unwanted conduct relevant to a related protected characteristic which has the purpose, or effect, of violating an individual’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for that individual.
The Equality Act 2010 defines the following as protected characteristics:
- Gender reassignment
- Marriage and civil partnership
- Pregnancy and maternity
- Religion or belief
- Sexual orientation
Harassment may be persistent or a single incident and is likely to constitute unlawful discrimination. Some forms of harassment can be a criminal offence.
Harassment can also be based on association (i.e. because you associate with someone with a particular protected characteristic) and perception (i.e. because you are incorrectly assumed to have a particular protected characteristic)
Examples of harassment include: conduct (ranging from lewd, suggestive or over-familiar behaviour to serious assault); offensive or hurtful remarks; gossip; innuendo; insensitive jokes or pranks; obscene gestures or language; spreading malicious rumours; insults; the display or electronic transmission of offensive material, pictures or graffiti; and isolation or exclusion from social activities.
Sexual misconduct relates to all unwanted conduct of a sexual nature as defined above, including but not limited to: unwanted sexual advances; promises made in exchange for sexual favours; assault; rape; speculation about an individual's sexuality or sexual behaviour; and the distributing of private and personal explicit images or videos of an individual without their consent.
Victimisation is unfavourable treatment (i.e. detriment) of an individual because they have, in good faith, raised a concern about bullying or harassment or assisted another individual who has done so, or are perceived (likely) to.