Respect at Work Principles

Rumpus Media is committed to equal opportunities and to providing an environment in which all employees, freelancers/contractors, contributors and visitors are treated with dignity and respect, and in which they can operate free from any type of discrimination, harassment, or victimisation.

We have legal responsibilities and a duty of care to staff to prevent and deal with any harassment and bullying. Harassment can be a criminal offence. Please see the companion Equality Policy in this Handbook.

We do not tolerate bullying or harassment, racism or any other forms of discrimination. We will make it our priority to support anyone working at Rumpus if you experience problems with bullying or harassment or racism and this policy is designed to help us do that. Bullying or harassment are serious matters and will be treated as a disciplinary offence.

At Rumpus we follow the BFI Principles to tackle and prevent bullying, harassment and racism in the screen industries, which you can see here – racism-prevention-screen-industries/set-principles

All staff working at Rumpus are responsible for upholding this policy and should act in accordance with the policy guidance in the course of their day-to-day work, ensuring an environment in which the dignity of others is respected.

Staff who manage others will be required to take part in ScreenSkills’ training harassment-and-bullying-at-work which will help them identify bullying and harassment.

When starting with Rumpus, all staff will be shown this policy and told who to speak to, if they need to report bullying and harassment, and told where they can go to for extra support.

What is Bullying and Harassment?

Bullying is not defined under the Equality Act 2010, but Acas characterises it as “offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behaviour, an abuse or misuse of power through means intended to undermine, humiliate, denigrate or injure the recipient”. Bullying tactics can include hostile verbal or non-verbal communication, sabotage, exclusion, manipulation, and psychological or physical abuse.

Bullying becomes harassment when this sort of hostile or unwanted behaviour relates to someone’s protected characteristic (see below).

Harassment is defined by the Equality Act 2010 as “an individual engaging in unwanted conduct against another relating to the other person’s ‘protected characteristic’” that has the purpose or effect of violating your dignity, or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for you. Harassment is also unwanted conduct of a sexual nature which has that same purpose or effect, and any contact that is unwanted, unreasonable, or offensive to the recipient.

The Protected characteristics are:

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Gender reassignment
  • Marriage and civil partnership
  • Pregnancy and maternity
  • Race or Nationality
  • Religion or belief (including philosophical belief)
  • Sex
  • Sexual orientation

Examples of bullying and harassment behaviours that will not be tolerated, include (this list is not exhaustive):

  • Spreading malicious rumours, or insulting someone by word or behaviour or means of communication (whether face to face or behind their back)
  • Copying memos that are critical about someone to others who do not need to know.
  • Ridiculing or demeaning someone – picking on them or setting them up to fall
  • Exclusion or victimisation
  • Unfair treatment
  • Overbearing supervision or other misuse of power or position. This does not however include the appropriate and robust management of poor performance issues or fair and reasonable criticism of performance or behaviour, or constructive feedback.
  • Making threats or comments about job security without foundation
  • Deliberately undermining a competent worker by overloading and constant criticism
  • Making insulting or offensive comments or jokes.
  • Intimidating behaviour, shouting at someone, making threats towards someone
  • Making unfounded threats or comments about job security.

Examples of sexual harassment include when someone:

  • makes unwelcome sexual advances or touches you in an intrusive way
  • makes sexual jokes or sexual innuendoes
  • displays pornographic photographs or drawings around your work area
  • sends you emails with material of a sexual nature Remember, that behaviour that is acceptable to one person does not mean that it will be acceptable to another.

Bullying and harassment can be:

  • Intentional or unintentional, targeted at an individual or a group
  • Not specifically targeted but have an overall impact that creates a negative work environment
  • Repeated behaviour over a period of time, or one isolated incident
  • Between workers and/or managers at the same or different levels in the organisation; In the same or different departments or areas of work within or outside of the organisation; Between employees, workers and external contractors and/or clients within or outside of the organisation
  • Mobbing – when more than one person is involved
  • Neglect or marginalisation
  • During daily work activities, at work-organised events held on-site or off-site, inside and outside of working hours
  • Face-to-face, over the telephone, by email, text messages and online, e.g. social media platforms.

What should you do if you experience unwanted behaviour, or observe inappropriate behaviour at work?

If you experience or observe this behaviour you can choose to pursue it via either a formal or informal process.

Informal Process:

  • You may want to talk to colleagues to see if anyone has witnessed what has happened. Keep a diary of incidents – dates, times, witnesses, how you felt, any relevant notes/emails. The Film and TV Charity have a digital tool called Spot where you can create a private record of something you’ve experienced or witnessed –
  • Avoid being alone with the person harassing/bullying you if possible.
  • You can free-to-call Film and TV Support Line on 0800 054 00 00.
  • If you feel able to, let the person know that their behaviour is making you feel uncomfortable and ask them if they would stop. Sometimes people are not aware that their behaviour is unwelcome. It is always best to try and calmly and carefully explain how you feel directly. Often the offense is not intentional and is simply ill judged and the individual causing offense will immediately apologise and change their approach.
  • If you feel unable to confront them, consider writing them a note to make it clear what impact their behaviour is having on you. Keep a copy of this and any reply.
  • If you do not feel able to do that, or the individual does not respond and/or continues to cause you offence, you can talk your Line Manager who can work with you to decide how to deal with the situation. If your complaint is about your Line Manager then you should speak to the next level of management above them.
  • We will investigate any complaint that you bring to our attention in a fair, independent and confidential way, and after considering all the facts, we will take prompt and appropriate action.
  • Informal action could include mediation and/or counselling.

Formal process:

  • If you do not feel that the informal process is a viable option for addressing your complaint, or if you have already pursued the informal process and your issue persists, you may decide to follow the formal process of addressing your complaint. PAYE employees should follow the grievance procedure (in this Handbook). Freelancers who wish to make a complaint, cannot use the grievance procedure, but their complaint will be investigated with the same principles of fairness and objectivity, and the formal process will be ‘mirrored’, with flexibility when needed because of the short term nature of some freelance engagements.
  • Put your formal complaint in writing and send it to your Line Manager, or if your complaint is about your Line Manager you should send it to the next level of management above them.
  • Please include full details of your complaint including a detailed account of the incident(s), the date it took place, who was involved including any witnesses, and any action you may have taken. This will provide the best opportunity to fairly and reasonably investigate your complaint while details of what took place can readily be remembered by anyone involved. We understand this may not be possible in all cases and will investigate any complaint made in good faith.
  • Once a formal complaint has been submitted the manager will send you written acknowledgment of the complaint. A formal complaint will be investigated in line with our company grievance procedure and all the circumstances will be considered before reaching a conclusion. We will investigate any complaint that you bring to our attention in a fair, independent and confidential way, and after considering all the facts, we will take prompt and appropriate action.
  • The outcome could include informal action such as counselling or mediation or formal action at the appropriate level of the Company’s disciplinary procedure for the offender if they are en employee. If the offender is a Freelancer/Contractor/Worker, they may find their continued employment or engagement at risk.

If the behaviour is very serious indeed (e.g. sexual or physical assault), you should report it immediately to the Managing Directors and/or the Director of Operations, as this is likely to be considered gross misconduct.

Failure by any member of staff to comply with this policy is considered a disciplinary matter. We all have a responsibility to ensure our behaviour is acceptable to others and to raise any concern we may have regarding others’ behaviour if appropriate.

We will never victimise, unfairly treat or discipline anybody who makes a genuine formal or informal complaint about bullying and harassment. We will respect and maintain your confidentiality and will speak to anybody involved about their responsibility to maintain confidentiality on the issue. As we have a duty to protect you and your colleagues, there may be times we decide to act on your complaint independently, and cannot inform you of all the details that we discover. In these situations, we will encourage you to call the Film and TV Support Line on 0800 054 00 00 and we will inform you of the outcome of our investigations if you wish to know.

The Film and TV Support Line can refer you to their confidential Bullying Pathway Service which offers free specialised advice on these issues to everyone who works in film, TV and cinema.

Most important of all we should all try to be respectful and to think about how our behaviour and language could be perceived by others.