Bullying and sexual harassment are both abhorrent. We can all agree to that.
We need to understand however that the two things need to be separated as resolution is controlled in different ways .
Bullying happens over time and is victimisation by way of differences, which could be anything from where a person lives to the size of their feet.
Sexual Harassment is defined as unwanted sexualised behaviour that offends, humiliates or intimidates a person and targets a victim on the basis of a characteristic such as gender, race or ethnicity.
Bullying and sexual harassment need to be separated because they have access to different remedies.
Workplace bullying is a health and safety issue but is not a legal term. Health and Safety Rules demand that employers have a duty to provide a safe work place for employees to work in even if a victim does not complain. Bullying is not a legal term but Health & Safety Rules places responsibility on employers to stop the bullying happening again.
However, Sexual harassment is a legal term and it is against the law. Sexual harassment is discrimination against an individual - particularly towards girls and women and the LGBT community. Sexual harassment complaints are remedied by law because it is controlled by the Equality Act 2010. The Equality Act 2010 tries to resolve the complainant’s issue by taking their viewpoint and trying to keep them in their job.
Bullying and sexual harassment therefore need to have appropriate and separate complaint procedures as they stem from different issues. To recognise this is to protect victims and make them confident in coming forward when problems occur, knowing that they will be listened to and also for the smooth operation of the day to day running of the council. Northampton Borough council needs a policy on sexual harassment because sexual harassment will be affecting their Councillors and their staff. Only with a specific policy will victims dare to come forward.
Bullying and sexual harassment are both abhorrent. We can all agree to that. We need to understand however that the two things need to be separated as resolution is controlled...