Dignity at Work – Guiding Principles

The University of Sheffield is committed to protecting the dignity of staff in their work regardless of age, disability including mental health, gender re-assignment, gender identity, marriage & civil partnership, pregnancy & maternity, race, religion or belief, sex & sexual orientation. The University expects all members of staff to treat each other with dignity, courtesy and respect at all times.

The University of Sheffield is fully committed to sustaining a positive and mutually supportive working environment free from harassment, discrimination, bullying and victimisation where staff can work collaboratively and productively together, and where all staff are equally valued and respected.

The University of Sheffield is a talented and diverse community, where staff and students have a right to expect high standards from each other and to work together to maximise the benefits of difference.

Key Principles:

  1. The University expects all members of the University to recognise their responsibilities and:
    • behave in a way that respects the rights and dignity of others
    • treat others fairly
    • value differences in others and the contribution they make
    • be open and constructive in our communications
    • demonstrate a commitment to upholding the University’s policies on equality and diversity.
  2. The University will not tolerate bullying, harassment, discrimination or victimisation and so far as possible, complaints will be managed speedily, confidentially and communicated effectively.
  3. The University will promote an environment in which people who are subject to inappropriate behaviour or witness it feel able to raise complaints without fear of victimisation.
  4. All staff are encouraged to bring to the attention of managers any examples of any unfair treatment they have witnessed or strongly suspect is taking place.
  5. The University encourages staff to deal with any harassment, discrimination, bullying or victimisation through informal resolution where appropriate. Seeking to address the situation informally can lead to a quicker resolution that causes minimal disruption to relationships.
  6. On occasion, individual perceptions of behaviour may differ, perhaps due to differences in attitude, values, experience or culture, and what one person would consider acceptable behaviour may be unacceptable to another. The defining factor in determining if behaviour amounts to harassment is that the behaviour is unacceptable to the recipient and could ‘reasonably be considered’ to amount to harassment. When considering allegations of harassment, the University will therefore apply a test of ‘reasonableness’ to determine if harassment has taken place.
  7. If, at any time, there is evidence that allegations of harassment, discrimination or bullying have been made vexatiously or maliciously, or that false information has been provided or that the complainant has otherwise acted in bad faith then disciplinary action may be taken.
  8. Any allegation of harassment, discrimination, bullying or victimisation will be treated seriously and anyone found to have behaved unacceptably will be investigated and may be the subject of disciplinary action.
  9. The University ensures that Academic Staff, Teaching Staff and Research Staff have freedom within the law to question and test received wisdom, and to put forward new ideas and this will not be considered to be bullying or harassment provided that those involved are treated with dignity, respect and courtesy.