We have a duty to protect the welfare and safety of staff and have a zero-tolerance policy where abusive behaviour is concerned. Where individuals behave unacceptably or unreasonably, we will refer to this policy.
We understand that people may act out of character in times of distress or due to frustration. However, if that frustration develops into aggression or abuse towards our staff, we will not accept that.
Our staff have the right to undertake their work free from aggression or abuse and we expect them to be treated with courtesy and respect. Aggressive or abusive behaviour may include:
- behaviour or language (verbal or written) that may cause staff to feel offended, upset, afraid, threatened or abused
- insulting or degrading language
- personal grudges toward certain staff members
- making serious allegations against staff without any evidence
- threats of physical harm or actual physical harm
We may also decide that comments aimed not at us but at third parties are unacceptable because of the effect that listening to or reading them may have on our staff.
Examples of unacceptable behaviour:
- verbal abuse, shouting, obscene / derogatory remarks, and rudeness
- commenting on a person’s ability to do their job
- racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, disablist comments, or other harassment based on personal characteristics, whether direct or indirect
- repeatedly demanding disciplinary action be taken against staff
- recording meetings or telephone conversations without consent
How we manage unacceptable and unreasonable behaviour
If we feel behaviour is unacceptable or unreasonable, we may take any of the following actions:
- restrict or end contact on the matter
- restrict contact on all matters
- ask that all future contact is made through a third-party advocate
- end contact entirely for a period of time
- report incidents to the police (for example, if verbal abuse has taken place or if violence has been threatened)
- take any other action that we consider appropriate (in extreme cases, this may include blocking calls/emails and returning correspondence)
In making our decision, we may consider:
- how the behaviour has affected our staff
- how it has affected the individual (including their personal circumstances and any reasonable adjustments)
- the extent to which we are able to engage or assist
- the extent to which the transaction or subject matter has been exhausted
This process may be reconsidered by us if the individual commits to behaving with courtesy, respect, and fairness and:
- some time has passed
- an apology is made where unacceptable behaviour towards an individual member of staff has occurred
- there is a more suitable alternative available
- we receive evidence that there were exceptional reasons for the behaviour.