Bullying may be characterised as offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behaviour, or misuse of power through means intended to undermine, humiliate, denigrate or injure the recipient.

Harassment is defined as unwanted and unwarranted conduct that has the purpose or effect of violating another person’s dignity, or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for another person. 

The University definition of harassment includes but is not limited to the definition of harassment in Section 26 of the Equality Act 2010, which relates specifically to conduct related to a protected characteristic including age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex, or sexual orientation.

Definitions help us to understand what we mean by certain terms. The terms above reflect the definitions in the University's Harassment Policy, which help to guide our complaints procedures, however you don't have to fit into a specific definition to tell us that something has happened.

Bully or harassment can happen:
  • Face to face verbally or physically, online, in writing or in calls
  • At work or in other work-related situations
  • As a one-off or a pattern repeated behaviour 
The recipient does not need to have explicitly stated the behaviour was unwanted and intentions of the alleged harasser don’t always determine whether harassment has taken place. 

And it’s possible someone might not know their behaviour is bullying. It can still be bullying even if they do not realise it or do not intend to bully someone.

Examples of behaviour could include:
  • unwanted physical contact
  • any behaviour of a sexual nature that takes place without consent and with no reasonable grounds for believing there was consent, including inappropriate body language, sexually explicit remarks or innuendoes, or unwanted physical conduct, such as sexual advances and touching without consent 
  • offensive comments or body language
  • insulting, abusive, embarrassing or patronising behaviour or comments
  • persistently shouting at, insulting or threatening an individual
  • constantly criticising someone without providing constructive support
  • posting offensive comments on social media
  • deliberately using the wrong name or pronoun in relation to a transgender person
  • isolation or exclusion from conversations or social events
  • publishing, circulating or displaying offensive pictures or other materials.
For more information about workplace harassment see the Acas webpage here.

There are two ways you can tell us what happened