At SSGC we strive diligently to offer a work environment in which all employees are treated with respect and dignity. This means a workplace free from harassment and bullying based on an employee's race, colour, ethnic origin, nationality, national origin, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, age, marital or civil partnership status or disability. SSGC has a zero-tolerance approach to harassment, bullying, or intimidation on these grounds.
We pride ourselves on policies that strictly uphold existing legal protections against unlawful discrimination. We treat this behaviour as potentially gross misconduct and have in place a robust disciplinary procedure under which such violations could render employees liable to summary dismissal, personal liability, and guilt of a criminal offence.
All our employees are responsible for upholding this policy, and SSGC will not condone or tolerate any form of harassment, bullying or intimidation, whether by employees or by outside third parties with whom we do business. In return we fiercely protect our employees. We will not hesitate to take action should any third parties commit an act of improper or unlawful harassment against any member of our team.
It is a priority at SSGC that employees should feel safe and welcome when coming forward with harassment allegations or complaints. So we offer strict and explicit protections: an employee’s line manager is directly and expressly available to receive such allegations or complaints; victimisation or retaliation against employees making allegations or providing evidence will be treated as potential gross misconduct; and if an employee is subjected to this treatment following a complaint, employees are expected to offer their full support.
Work environments have always been fluidly defined, and this is only getting truer with time - for example, with the inclusion of remote workforces, flexible hours, work-related social events, and business trips. A policy can only claim to provide effective and consistent protection if it reflects this. That is why our policy applies wherever our team operates. This includes any work-related setting outside the workplace.
Bullying and harassment have no place at SSGC. This is non-negotiable, and our stance on it is both clear and indiscriminate.
Here we define bullying as offensive or intimidating behaviour, or an abuse or misuse of power which undermines or humiliates one of our employees.
We define harassment as an incident in which a person behaves in an unwanted way towards another on grounds of an employee’s race, colour, ethnic origin, nationality, national origin, religion or belief, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, age, marital or civil partnership status or disability, or in a way related to either the employee’s sex or that of another individual. This unwanted conduct:
Sexual harassment occurs where one of the above two conditions are met with respect to unwanted conduct of a sexual nature. We are clear and uncompromising on that distinction.
We are firm, also, in accounting for the fact that harassment does not always involve clearly targeted behaviour. Gender-related harassment can occur without behaviour being directed at somebody specific. For example, the behaviour could be directed at nobody in particular, or at somebody else, including someone of the opposite sex.
‘Jokes,’ for example, or ‘office banter,’ can easily offend others without meaning to - but a crucial part of identifying harassment involves recognising that it can take place whether or not a person intended to offend. We recognise that different employees find different levels of behaviour acceptable and defend the right of every one of our employees to set this limit for themselves.
Crucial to this is an implicit trust in the integrity of our employees. We will never require employees to clarify that behaviour is unacceptable in cases where a reasonable person would realise that behaviour is likely to offend. This sort of behaviour - touching someone in a sexual way, for example - will always constitute harassment. With other forms of behaviour - for example, ‘office banter’ and ‘jokes’ - it can be unclear in advance whether or not it will cause offence. However, if one of our employees has made it clear, through words or conduct, that such behaviour is unacceptable to them, we see this as constituting harassment. Moreover, if a single instance is sufficiently serious, this will be considered harassment.
We also consider instances in which a person is treated less favourably on the grounds of rejecting or submitting to this kind of unwanted conduct to be harassment.
At SSGC we understand bullying and harassment can come in many forms: verbal, non-verbal, written, or physical. We strive to uphold a sufficiently flexible policy to protect our employees in these various instances. Examples include, but are not limited to:
At SSGC the only acceptable response to allegations of harassment or bullying is one that is serious, confidential, and swift. When it comes to grievances or complaints of harassment SSGC will never ignore them, or treat them lightly.
We are sympathetic to the fact that actual or perceived power and status disparities may make real-time confrontation of unwanted conduct impractical or difficult. Whilst we encourage employees who believe they are being harassed or bullied to use words or conduct to express that this behaviour is unwelcome, we will never assume the absence of confrontation to constitute consent.
If such informal, direct avenues are either ineffective or impractical, or the situation is too serious to be dealt with informally, we empower our employees to report complaints with a clear road map.
We are committed to creating a safe and fair environment for our employees, and this includes making sure employees have multiple avenues for lodging and resolving complaints. As such, our employees can also use our Grievance procedure.
Fostering a robust and fair work environment is a top SSGC priority, so we treat violations of this policy with the utmost gravity. Any employee found in violation of this policy is subject to swift and appropriate disciplinary action under our disciplinary procedure. This may include summary dismissal.
Moreover, at SSGC we believe a community of respect must be built upon a foundation of common trust. As such, line managers with knowledge about harassment taking place in their departments who fail to take action to eliminate it are also subject to disciplinary action
We want our employees to be proud of the roles they play in creating a respectful, safe working community. We provide training to all employees to help them understand their rights and responsibilities under this policy, and what they can do to create a work environment that is free of bullying and harassment. We also offer the proper training, supervision and instruction that empowers line managers to deal more effectively with complaints of bullying and harassment.
Approval For this Statement
This statement was approved by the Board of Directors on 27/10/2022 signed by Frano Lubura, Quality Manager/General Manager.