Bullying is offensive, intimidating, persistent malicious or insulting behaviour, including an abuse of power to undermine, humiliate or injure a person. 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 verbal and non-verbal conduct including postings on social media outlets. Bullying may include:
- shouting at, being sarcastic towards, ridiculing or demeaning others;
- psychological threats;
- 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 from meetings or communications without good reason.
Legitimate, reasonable and constructive criticism of performance or behaviour, or reasonable instructions given to staff in the course of their employment, will not amount to bullying on their own.
Harassment is unwanted conduct related to a relevant protected characteristic which has the purpose or effect of violating an individual’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment. This includes harassment by association or perception. It also includes treating someone less favourably because they have submitted or refused to submit to such behaviour in the past.
Unlawful harassment may involve Sexual Misconduct, Hate Incident/Crime, Discrimination, or be related to a protected characteristic. These are: age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion (including faith, belief, or lack of), sex, and sexual orientation. At the University of Greenwich, we believe harassment is unacceptable even if it does not fall within any of these categories (for instance, if someone was harassed due to their appearance or body type).
Harassment may include, for example:
- unwanted physical conduct, including touching, pinching, pushing, grabbing, brushing past someone, invading their personal space and more serious forms of physical or sexual assault;
- offensive or intimidating comments or gestures, or insensitive jokes or pranks;
- mocking, mimicking or belittling a person’s disability;
- 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 LGBTQ+;
- ignoring or shunning someone, for example, by deliberately excluding them from a conversation or a social activity.
A person may be harassed even if they were not the intended "target". For example, a person may be harassed by racist jokes about a different ethnic group if they create an offensive environment.
Bullying and harassment are contrary to the Equality Act 2010 and the University Bullying and Harassment Policy for staff and the Student Harassment and Sexual Misconduct Policy.
Find out more
- Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) provide further information on unlawful harassment