A BULLYING-FREE ACADEMY
Recommendations for addressing discrimination, harassment and bullying
If you are an EKA employee or student and feel you have been discriminated against, harassed or bullied at the workplace or in the educational environment:
- If the situation allows, tell the person or write them that their behaviour is not acceptable and ask them to stop. You can also notify them that if the situation continues, you will lodge a complaint. If you don’t want to or cannot contact the person, ask someone you trust to do it for you.
- Write down the sequence of events with the date and time to make it easier to remember the circumstances.
- Collect and retain all written evidence (e-correspondence etc.). If others happen to witness the behaviour, make a note of that, too, because witness testimony may be important evidence. Evidence and documentation is very important for identifying the fact of discrimination/harassment/bullying.
- You shouldn’t keep your concern to yourself. Students can seek out psychological counselling from the psychologist-career counsellor (email: firstname.lastname@example.org), while employees are offered support by the head of human resources (email: email@example.com). While these individuals do not resolve complaints, concerns can be shared confidentially with them for the purpose of discussing potential solutions.
- If you are a staff member, first bring up your concern with either: a) the person directly in charge of organizing work; b) head of structural unit (for example, if you have not received a response from the person in charge of organizing work or if said person is themselves the person who is behaving inappropriately or clearly siding with the person); c) the dean or in the case of support units, the head of the area of responsibility, or the vice rector (for example, if the head of structural unit is themselves the person who is behaving inappropriately or clearly siding with the person or is unable to seek solution).
- If you are a student, first bring up your concern with either: a) the head of curriculum (in the case of continuing education, the head of the structural unit organizing provision of education); b) the dean, if the problem is broader or the head of curriculum is unable to seek a solution or the head of curriculum is themselves the person who is behaving inappropriately or clearly siding with the person.
- If no solution was found in the above process or the solution is not satisfactory for you and you feel that the incident demands official intervention and assessment, you have the option of lodging an official complaint to the rector by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or post. You may lodge a complaint with the rector even if you do not wish to go through the above stages. The complaint must make evident how the incident is related to working or studying at EKA. These guidelines do not apply to resolution of clearly private/personal conflicts. The rector will, if necessary, form an ethics committee to resolve the complaint.
- Submit all of the necessary information for the person processing the complaint and indicate what you feel would be the best end solution.
- If the situation involves physical violence or other threat (such as stalking), also contact the police. You have the right to lodge a complaint. Even if the discrimination/harassment/bullying is not substantiated by the investigation, that does not mean you have done anything wrong. The only time you have behaved inappropriately is if you have deliberately lied in lodging the complaint. In such a case, your complaint is malicious and EKA is entitled to impose disciplinary measures.
If you see a co-worker or fellow student being bullied/harassed/discriminated against:
- Talk to the victim and express support for them.
- Understand that any kind of intervention and attention by you is important since often the victim does not dare seek help on their own.
- If you see that the situation has not changed and you feel secure, intervene and tell the person behaving inappropriately that their behaviour is not acceptable. If you do not wish to get involved personally, report the situation to the persons mentioned in the above section.
- Be open to cooperation if your testimony is needed. Anyone who has witnessed discrimination/harassment/bullying or perceives a harassing, threatening, hostile, demeaning or insulting situation may lodge a complaint, even if it’s someone else who was directly affected. Discrimination/harassment/bullying that goes unaddressed makes the whole staff/student body a potential victim. Because of that, it is important that the witness intervenes in the situation or directs attention to it.
If you are an EKA staff member who has received a complaint about discrimination/harassment/bullying:
- Do not wait but take action immediately and treat it as a potentially serious incident.
- The earlier you start dealing with the complaint, the more likely it is that a solution will be found.
- First speak to the person who lodged the complaint. Be objective and refrain from accusations or condemnation.
- Involve the complainant in the resolution process and agree on the main measures and actions with that person.
- Ask the Human Resources Department (in the case of complaints related to employees) or Academic Affairs Department (for complaints related to students) for advice.
- Document the main incidents and facts that you have learned in dealing with the complaint.
- In assessing the situation, proceed from objective circumstances and do not let the opinion of the majority determine your behaviour or position. Share information related to the complaint only with persons whom it is essential to consult with or notify for finding a solution. Explain the need for discretion and confidentiality to the persons involved.
If you are an EKA staff member or student concerning whom a discrimination complaint has been lodged:
- Talk to the person investigating the complaint and explain the situation from your standpoint.
- Even if you feel you haven’t done anything wrong, do not downplay the feelings of the person who lodged the complaint – instead, immediately cease the behaviour that was alleged or perceived to be inappropriate.
- No one will be denounced merely on the strength of the fact that a complaint has been made.