Aims of the Policy
Connemara Creative Arts Centre is committed to creating an atmosphere within Ealaín na bhFiann cottage, studios and farm that explicitly acknowledge unacceptable bullying. Members, Staff and Directors will know our procedures to prevent and/or respond to observed or reported bullying. They should also understand what bullying is. As an organisation, we take bullying seriously. Members, staff and Directors should be assured that they will be supported when bullying is reported and will not be tolerated.
This Policy statement has been prepared and agreed by the Board of Directors. This Policy operates in conjunction with the following:
The Constitution of Connemara Creative Arts Centre
The Code of Conduct of Connemara Creative Arts Centre
The policy of the Health and Safety Authority
Bullying is defined by the Health and Safety Authority as “repeated inappropriate behaviour, direct or indirect, whether verbal, physical or otherwise, conducted by one or more persons against another or others, at the place of work and/or in the course of employment, which could reasonably be regarded as undermining the individual‘s right to dignity at work.”
Bullying can be:
•emotional – being unfriendly, excluding, tormenting
•physical – pushing, kicking, hitting, punching or any use of violence
•racist – racial taunts, graffiti, gestures
•sexual – unwanted physical contact or sexually abusive comments
•homophobic – because of, or focusing on the issue of sexuality
•discriminatory – about disability, gender, age or other differences
•verbal – name-calling, sarcasm, spreading rumours, teasing
•cyber – all areas of the internet, such as email and internet chat room misuse
•mobile - threats by text messaging and calls
•misuse of associated technology, i.e., camera and video facilities
Cyberbullying is the term used to define bullying behaviour via mobile phone or over the internet through emails, instant messaging and social network sites. Texts, messages or images are sent or posted on sites which hurt, intimidate or embarrass another person.
Responding to Bullying Informal Procedure
While in no way diminishing the issue or the effects on individuals, an informal approach can often resolve matters. As a general rule, therefore, an attempt should be made to address an allegation of bullying as informally as possible, employing an agreed informal procedure. The objective of this approach is to resolve the difficulty with the minimum of conflict and stress for the individuals involved.
• Any person who believes he or she is being bullied should explain clearly to the alleged perpetrator(s) that the behaviour is unacceptable. When the complainant finds it difficult to approach the alleged perpetrator(s) directly, he or she should seek help and advice from the manager on a strictly confidential basis. Where the manager is involved in the alleged bullying, the Representatives should be contacted. In this situation, the contact person should listen patiently, be supportive and discuss the options open to the employee concerned.
• Having consulted with the studio manager, the complainant may request the assistance of the studio manager in raising the issue with the alleged perpetrator(s). In this situation, the approach of the studio manager should be by way of a confidential, non-confrontational discussion to resolve the issue in an informal low-key manner.
• A complainant may decide, for whatever reason, to bypass the informal procedure. Choosing not to use the informal procedure should not reflect negatively on a complainant in the formal procedure.
If an informal approach is inappropriate or if, after the informal stage, the bullying persists, the following formal procedures should be invoked:
• The complainant should make a formal complaint in writing to the manager or, if preferred, any board of directors member. The complaint should be confined to precise details of actual incidents of bullying.
•The alleged perpetrator(s) should be notified in writing that an allegation of bullying has been made against them. They should be given a copy of the complainant’s statement and advised to be afforded a fair opportunity to respond to the allegation(s).
• The complaint should be subject to an initial examination by the studio manager and/or a director, who can be considered impartial, to determine an appropriate course of action. An appropriate course of action at this stage, for example, could be exploring a mediated solution or a view that the issue can be resolved informally. Should either of these approaches be deemed inappropriate or inconclusive, a formal investigation of the complaint should take place to determine the facts and the credibility or otherwise of the allegation(s).
• The investigation should be conducted by either a designated member or members of management or, if deemed appropriate, an agreed third party. The investigation should be conducted thoroughly, objectively, with sensitivity, utmost confidentiality, and with due respect for the rights of both the complainant and the alleged perpetrator(s).
• Terms of reference should govern the investigation, preferably agreed between the parties in advance.
•The investigator(s) should meet with the complainant and alleged perpetrator(s) and any witnesses or relevant persons on an individual confidential basis to establish the facts surrounding the allegation(s). The complainant and alleged perpetrator(s) may be accompanied by another member if desired.
• Every effort should be made to carry out and complete the investigation as quickly as possible and preferably within an agreed timeframe. Upon completion of the investigation, the investigator(s) should submit a written report to management containing the investigation findings.
• Both parties should be allowed to comment on the findings before any action is decided upon by management.
• The complainant and the alleged perpetrator(s) should be informed in writing of the investigation findings.
Outcomes of bullying
• Should management decide that the complaint is well founded, the alleged perpetrator(s) should be given a formal interview to determine an appropriate course of action. Such action could, for example, involve counselling and/or monitoring or progressing the issue through the disciplinary and grievance procedure of the membership.
•If either party is unhappy with the outcome of the investigation, the issue may be processed through the normal industrial relations mechanisms.
• As stated in the Consitution of Connemara Creative Arts Centre “If a member violates any of the articles in the constitution, they may be subject to disciplinary procedures initially in the form of a verbal warning followed by a written warning from the Board of Directors. If the issue is still unresolved, the Board of Directors may suspend the rights and terminate the contract of any member by giving notice in writing of the suspension or termination.
This policy will be reviewed annually by the Board of Directors at the AGM.