Tel: 01458 253388
Tel: 01458 253388

Prevention of Bullying and Harassment at Work Policy

Statement of Policy


Bow House Physiotherapy Is committed to encouraging and maintaining good staff relations within a working environment which fosters team working and encourages staff to give of their best.   Everyone in the Practice and those who have dealings with the Practice has a responsibility to maintain good working relationships and not use words or deeds that may harm the wellbeing of others.  In addition to the obligations placed upon all staff by equality and human rights legislation, everyone has the right to be treated with consideration, fairness, dignity and respect.  This contributes to a workplace environment in which individuals feel safe and can work effectively competently and confidently.


The Prevention of Bullying and Harassment at Work Policy applies to all staff working within the organisation and to all staff working off the premises.  It extends to include non-permanent workers such as secondees, contractors, agency, temporary staff, consultants and any other workers.  The policy, in addition, covers the behaviour of staff outside working hours which may impact upon work or working relationships.


The Practice has a “zero tolerance” policy and will investigate vigorously any allegations of bullying or harassment, regardless of whether the matter has been raised formally or informally.


Key Principles


The Practice will provide and sustain a safe working environment in which everyone is treated fairly and with respect.  Those working or dealing with Bow House Physiotherapy must not encounter harassment, intimidation or victimisation on the basis of gender, race, colour, ethnic or national origin, sexual orientation, marital status, religion or belief, age, trade union membership, disability, offending background or any other personal characteristic.


Everyone carries a personal responsibility for their own behaviour and for ensuring that their conduct is in accordance with the principles set out in this policy.  In addition, each person has a responsibility to report any instance of bullying or harassment which they witness or which comes to their attention.  Staff have a responsibility to act as role models, pro-actively addressing instances of bullying and harassment. 


Harassment may be defined as any conduct which is:


  • unwanted by the recipient
  • is considered objectionable
  • causes humiliation, offence, distress or other detrimental effect.


Harassment may be an isolated occurrence or repetitive; it may occur against one or more individuals.  Harassment may be, but is not limited to:


  • Physical contact – ranging from touching to serious assault, gestures, intimidation, aggressive behaviour.


  • Verbal – unwelcome remarks, suggestions and propositions, malicious gossip, jokes and banter, offensive language.


  • Non-verbal – offensive literature or pictures, graffiti and computer imagery, isolation or non-co-operation and exclusion or isolation from social activities.


Bullying is unlikely to be a single or isolated instance.  It is usually, but not exclusively repeated and persistent behaviour which is offensive, abusive, intimidating, malicious or insulting.  Bullying includes but is not limited to:


  • Conduct which is intimidating, physically abusive or threatening
  • Conduct that denigrates, ridicules or humiliates an individual, especially in front of colleagues
  • Humiliating an individual in front of colleagues
  • Picking on one person when there is a common problem
  • Shouting at an individual to get things done
  • Consistently undermining someone and their ability to do the job
  • “cyber bullying” i.e. bullying via e-mail or social media. 


Harassment and bullying may be summarised as any behaviour that is unwanted by the person to whom it is directed.  It is the impact of the behaviour rather than the intent of the perpetrator that is the determinant as to whether harassment or bullying has occurred.


Any member of Staff who wishes to make a complaint of harassment or bullying is encouraged to first discuss matters informally with the Office Manager, provided that they feel able to do so.  Should the issues not be resolved at this stage, or the employee feels unable to raise the issue informally, then a formal resolution should be sought. 


When a complaint of harassment or bullying is brought to the attention of a manager at any level, whether informally or formally, prompt action must be taken to investigate the matter.  Corrective action must be taken where appropriate.



All matters relating to the investigation of complaints of harassment or bullying will be treated in strict confidence.  Any breach of confidentiality in this regard may render those responsible liable to disciplinary actions.  However, it will be necessary that any alleged perpetrator is made aware of the allegations against them and the name(s) of those making the allegations together with the name(s) of any witnesses. 


No employee will be victimised or suffer detriment for making a complaint of harassment or bullying and no manager shall threaten either explicitly or implicitly that an employee’s complaint will be used as the basis for decisions affecting that employee.  Such conduct will be treated as a very serious disciplinary offence.  Similarly, managers are required to act on any complaint of harassment or bullying. 



This policy and procedure will be reviewed periodically giving due consideration to any legislative changes.


Dignity at Work and Zero Tolerance Policy

The Practice takes it very seriously if a member of staff is treated in an abusive or violent way.


Our Practice staff aim to be polite, helpful, and sensitive to all patients’ individual needs and circumstances. They would respectfully remind patients that very often staff could be confronted with a multitude of varying and sometimes difficult tasks and situations, all at the same time.  The staff understand that ill patients do not always act in a reasonable manner and will take this into consideration when trying to deal with a misunderstanding or complaint.


However, aggressive behaviour, be it violent or abusive, will not be tolerated and may result in you being removed from the Practice list and, in extreme cases, the Police being contacted.


In order for the practice to maintain good relations with their patients the practice would like to ask all its patients to read and take note of the occasional types of behaviour that would be found unacceptable:


  • Using bad language or swearing at practice staff
  • Any physical violence towards any member of the team or other patients, such as pushing or shoving
  • Verbal abuse towards the staff in any form including verbally insulting the staff
  • Racial abuse and sexual harassment will not be tolerated within this practice
  • Persistent or unrealistic demands that cause stress to staff will not be accepted. Requests will be met wherever possible and explanations given when they cannot
  • Causing damage/stealing from the Practice's premises, staff or patients


Definition of Physical and Verbal Abuse and Violence:


Physical and verbal abuse includes:

  • Unreasonable and / or offensive remarks or behaviour / rude gestures / innuendoes
  • Sexual and racial harassment
  • Threatening behaviour (with or without a weapon)
  • Actual physical assault (whether or not it results in actual injury) includes being pushed or shoved as well as being hit, punched or attacked with a weapon, or being intentionally struck with bodily fluids or excrement.
  • Attacks on partners, members of staff or the public
  • Discrimination of any kind


The Practice supports the Zero Tolerance stance adopted by the NHS.


The HSE (Health and Safety Executive) defines work-related violence as:

"Any incident, in which a person is abused, threatened or assaulted in circumstances relating to their work".


Violence and aggression towards a person may also be defined as:

"A physical contact with another person which may or may not result in pain or injury. The contact is uninvited and is an attempt to cause harm, injury or to intimidate. Non-physical aggression includes the use of language which causes offence or threatens the safety of a member of staff".




The removal of patients from our list is an exceptional and rare event and is a last resort in an impaired patient-practice relationship. We value and respect good patient-therapist relationships based on mutual respect and trust. When trust has irretrievably broken down, the practice will consider all factors before removing a patient from their list, and communicate to them that it is in the patient’s best interest that they should find a new practice. An exception to this is in the case of immediate removal on the grounds of violence e.g. when the Police are involved.



The Policy and procedure will be reviewed periodically


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