Harassment of people in our learning environment is a feature of discrimination, which is prohibited by law. Premier Training International (PTI) considers all forms of harassment to be extremely serious, is committed to eliminating it and takes steps to investigate harassment complaints thoroughly.
What is harassment?
Personal harassment is defined as any behaviour which is unacceptable to the recipient and which creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment for employment, study or social life. It should be understood that:
- anyone can suffer from harassment
- an action or statement does not have to be repeated over a long period of time to be defined as harassment. A single statement or action may constitute harassment
- even behaviour which is not meant to cause offence or distress may do so
- even behaviour which is not meant to cause offence or distress may do so it is the impact of the words or action, not the underlying intent which is important
- it is the impact of the words or action, not the underlying intent which is important
- health, physical characteristics, personal beliefs and other factors may lead to harassment
- harassment can occur between people of the opposite sex or between people of the same sex, differences of culture, language and attitude, or misinterpretation of social signals may mean that what is perceived as offensive behaviour or language by one person may not seem so to another
- differences of culture, language and attitude, or misinterpretation of social signals may mean that what is perceived as offensive behaviour or language by one person may not seem so to another
A form of sex discrimination, it involves unwanted sexual attention which emphasises sexual status over a person’s individual status. Some examples of sexual harassment are:
- remarks, looks, jokes, use of offensive language, alluding to a person’s private life or sexual orientation by innuendo, or remarks about a person’s appearance
- making provocative suggestions or pressing people to accept unwelcome invitations
- the display of suggestive or pornographic material
- deliberate physical contact, to which the individual has not consented or had the opportunity to object to
A form of racial discrimination, it involves offensive behaviour by a person or group of one racial or ethnic origin against a person or group of another. Examples of racial harassment include:
- derogatory name-calling
- insults and racist jokes
- ridicule of an individual for cultural differences
- exclusion from everyday conversation or social events
- unfair allocation of work and responsibilities because of racial or ethnic origin
- display of offensive, racist material
Other forms of personal harassment
Harassment may take many forms and people can be subject to harassment on a variety of grounds including sexual orientation, religious or political convictions, age, real or suspected infection with AIDS/HIV, or disability. Examples include:
- gibes in reference to personal traits or appearance, invasion of privacy or practical jokes which cause offence
- academic bullying – asserting a position of intellectual superiority in an aggressive, abusive or offensive manner, threats of course failure and sarcasm
Any learner who suffers from harassment from any individual or group in the course of their study will have the support of PTI in seeking to ensure that harassment ceases. There are various ways in which an individual can deal with harassment, ranging from asking the person to stop to making a formal complaint.
Informal or “on-the-spot” procedure
- if possible you should speak to the alleged harasser yourself, making it clear that his/her behaviour is unacceptable and you wish it to stop. In many cases, such an approach is successful and the harassment ceases
- you may wish to seek help or advice from a friend or sympathetic colleague whom you feel able to talk to and who may also accompany you to a meeting or in helping to put your case to the harasser; this cannot be your trainer
Formal action can be taken if the above stage fails to be effective in stopping the harassment or where the behaviour is of such a nature that informal measures would be inappropriate.
Ask for a confidential interview with a trusted member of your centre team. They will listen to you in confidence and give you advice on how best to proceed
If you decide to proceed further and have exhausted the informal option above, please utilise the PTI complaints procedure using the form provided.