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Equal Employment & Anti-Harassment Policy

EEO Statement

  • NCIL  is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, gender, religion, age, sexual orientation, national or ethnic origin, disability, marital status, veteran status, or any other occupationally irrelevant criteria. The Organization promotes affirmative action for minorities, women, disabled persons, and veterans.
  • NCIL is a smoke-free environment and as such, prohibits smoking in all facilities.  Use of tobacco by any form is also prohibited.
  • NCIL is a drug-free workplace.

Harassment Policy Statement and Scope

  • NCIL takes the issue of harassment and bullying very seriously andis committed to a working environment that is free from discrimination and intimidation and in which the dignity of the individual is paramount. The purpose of this policy is to assist in developing a working environment in which;
  • harassment and bullying are considered to constitute conduct that is unacceptable. Such will include harassment and bullying on the grounds of colour, race, nationality, ethnic or national origin, gender, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, disability, religion or philosophical belief, age, HIV/AIDS, status or class;
  • individuals have the confidence to complain about harassment and bullying should it arise;
  • individuals have the confidence that any concerns they may have will be dealt with fairly and appropriately.
  •  This policy will apply to all permanent and non-permanent employees, including trainees.  A breach of the Policy will be treated as a disciplinary offence, which may lead to dismissal.

Principles Related to Natural Justice

This policy is underpinned by the principles of natural justice as defined below:

  1. Right to representation  - The Complainant and the Alleged Perpetrator will have the right to be represented by a manager or work colleague at any meeting which forms part of the process.
  2. Independent investigation – An investigation conducted under this process will be undertaken by independent Investigating Officers who have no link to the case in question.
  3. Right to respond – An Alleged Perpetrator will be made aware of the complaint at an early stage and will have the right to respond.
  4. Right of appeal – The Complainant and the Alleged Perpetrator have the right to appeal against the decision taken by the constituted board hearing the complaint. The final authority shall be with the Managing Director.
  5. Confidentiality – Complaints will be dealt with confidentially, as far as practicable, and when it is felt necessary to appraise other relevant employees of particular information, this will be discussed and explained to the Complainant, in order to instigate the disciplinary process.

Other relevant principles

  • Sensitivity and timeliness – complaints should be taken seriously and dealt with sensitively and promptly.
  • Upholding dignity at work – Dignity at work will be upheld by creating a culture in which employees are encouraged to report incidents of harassment and bullying in the knowledge that such complaints will be taken seriously, incidents will be investigated and appropriate action taken to address conduct constituting and amounting to harassment and bullying.
  • Victimization – care will be taken to ensure that the Complainant is protected against victimization or retaliation for making the complaint; whilst the Complainant is employed by NCIL.
  • Malicious complaints – NCIL will endeavour to protect employees against frivolous or malicious complaints and disciplinary action may be taken against the perpetrator of such complaints.
  • Staff Development – Members of staff who are likely to be involved in implementing the EEO and harassment policy will be required to attend the appropriate staff development events provided by NCIL.
  • Data Protection – records of misconduct issues and investigations, including unsubstantiated cases, will be stored for a period of one calendar year after the end of employment.

Definition of Harassment

  • Harassment is “unwanted conduct that violates people’s dignity or creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment.” In determining whether conduct can reasonably be considered as having such effect, the perception of the Complainant should be taken into account.
  • All employees have responsibility for respecting the feelings of others in the workplace, and behaving in a way, which does not cause offence. Harassment can be intentional or unintentional, however, it is the duty of staff to be aware of the impact their conduct may have on others. Harassment is always unacceptable whether intentional or not, and all reported cases should be investigated by the manager. The perception of the Complainant regarding the behaviour, which they believe constitutes harassment, should be taken into account.

Examples of Harassment

  • Verbal or written comments of an offensive nature, spreading malicious rumours;
  • Lewd, suggestive or over familiar behaviour;
  • Displaying or circulating sexually suggestive material or other offensive material;
  • Insulting, ridiculing or subjecting a person to any other detriment because of his or her colour, race, nationality, ethnic or national origin, gender, sex marital status, sexual orientation, disability, religion or philosophical belief, age, HIV/AIDS status or class;
  • Criminal acts such as indecent exposure, physical attack or sexual assault.

This list is not exhaustive and is intended to act as a guide to illustrate types of unacceptable behavior.  

Definition of Bullying

  • Bullying is a serious form of harassment. It may involve actions, comments, physical contact or behaviour that is found to be objectionable. Personal vindictiveness against an individual(s) is also a factor. Bullying can be defined as persistent actions, criticisms or personal abuse either in public or private, which humiliates, intimidates, undermines or demeans the individual(s) involved.
  • Bullying is to be distinguished from vigorous academic debate or the actions of a manager making reasonable (but perhaps unpopular) requests of his/her staff including the need to manage performance effectively.

Examples of Bullying

  • Using abusive language;
  • Unreasonably removing areas of responsibility;
  • Continually ignoring or excluding an individual;
  • Deliberately undermining a competent worker by overload and constant criticism;
  • Picking on one person when there is a common problem;
  • Frightening someone with physical or other threats; and
  • Shouting at or humiliating an individual in front of colleagues or in private;
  • Preventing individuals progressing by intentionally blocking promotion or training opportunities.

This list is not exhaustive and is intended to act as a guide to illustrate types of unacceptable behaviour.


Impact of Harassment and Bullying
This policy recognizes that conduct constituting harassment and bullying has a negative impact on the working environment and therefore the effectiveness with which the employees, departments, and the organization as a whole operates.


Investigative and Decision Making Authorities

The Investigating Officers will be Senior Managers trained to carry out the independent investigator role and so designated by the Managing Director. The Investigating Officer must not be personally involved in the incident, nor be related to anybody involved with the incident.
The Managing Director will nominate a permanent board, which shall shall take a decision on the further course of action, after due consideration the statements of the Complainant, the Alleged Perpetrator, and the Investigating Officer.
The Managing Director is the final decision making authority.

Monitoring and Review of the Policy

Anonymised data regarding known incidents or allegations of harassment will be reported to the HRD dept. on an annual basis. The statistics should be obtained from HoDs & Managers who will be required to record the nature of complaints made to them.  The policy is open to review and change according to the perceived need of the management and government legislation.


Management Responsibility

Managers and supervisors shall be responsible to ensure that staff perform their roles effectively and to acceptable standards. Managers and supervisors shall also be responsible to issue reasonable instructions and expect them to be carried out. The legitimate management of staff should be distinguished from bullying or harassing behaviour.


Crucially managers and supervisors should:

  • foster a climate that discourages the occurrence of harassment;
  • pay attention to style of dealing with people, ensuring that staff are treated with dignity and respect;
  • act upon potential breaches of this policy and unacceptable behaviour despite the absence of a formal complaint;
  • ensure that members of staff have an understanding of this policy and know where to seek help.

Employee’s Responsibility

Individual staff have a role to play by:

  • helping to create a climate that discourages harassment. Making it clear that they find such behaviour unacceptable;
  • supporting colleagues. This may include challenging the harasser at the time of the incident, offering support in any other way and co-operating in any investigation; ensuring no victimization of Complainants occur.

Differences in culture, attitudes and experience, or misinterpretation of social signals, can mean that what is perceived by the person experiencing the behaviour as bullying and harassment, may be perceived by others as normal. Employees should be aware that they may need to modify their behaviour in response to the feelings and sensitivity of others.

  • Race

This is offensive or hostile treatment of an individual(s) on the basis of their race, nationality, ethnic origin, or skin colour.
Examples include:
Racial abuse of a physical, verbal or prejudicial nature, racist jokes, insults, ridicule or name calling of a racist nature, the display of racially offensive written or visual material including graffiti and open hostility to black and other racial groups.


More subtle forms include:

Deliberate unfair allocation of work, unequal treatment in the application of conditions of employment, unreasonable pressure to complete tasks, exclusion from conversation and normal workplace activities or social events, unreasonable withholding of permission to attend training or similar events and disproportionate monitoring of timekeeping.

  • Gender

This is unwanted conduct of a sexual nature, or other conduct based on gender affecting the dignity of women and men at work including:
Unnecessary touching and invasion of another person’s body space, unwelcome, unwanted advances, patronizing comments, propositions. Pressure of sexual activity, suggestive remarks, innuendoes or lewd comments, jokes of a sexual or prejudicial nature and unwanted comments on dress or appearance. The display of pornographic or sexually suggestive pictures, objects or written material, leering or sexually suggestive gestures are examples of non-verbal conduct which fall into this category.

  • Disability

This is unfair and unwelcome treatment based on the fact that a person has a physical or sensory or mental impairment or, learning difficulties. Including:
Offensive patronizing language, action or behaviour including jokes about disability, inappropriate comments and questioning regarding a person’s impairment, the consistent or repeated failure to provide clear identified facilities or requirements in order for a person to perform his/her duties or receive an adequate service, prevention of attendance at training or similar events.


  • Age

Ridiculing or demeaning behaviour based on stereotypical perceptions and prejudices, about a person(s) because of their mature age and experience (or lack of experience in the case of a young person) including:

Unnecessary stipulation of age as a criteria in job descriptions, not taking a person seriously because of his/her age, unfair exclusion of people from training or promotion.

  • Sexual Orientation

Behaviour, which condemns, ridicules or excludes individuals on the basis of stereotypical perceptions of Sexual Orientation including:
Offensive jokes, ridicule or name calling, comments that are anti-lesbian or anti-gay or which stereotype lesbians or gay men, the display or circulation of offensive written or visual material, use of verbal abuse, threats or derogatory comments about people who are, or are assumed to be lesbian or gay, using intrusive questioning about a person’s partnership or domestic circumstances, the systematic exclusion of lesbians or gay men from workplace activities, and unequal treatment in the application of conditions of employment.

6. HIV/AIDS

Treating somebody adversely because he/she has or it is suspected/believed that he/she has HIV or AIDS.

7. Religious Belief

Socially unacceptable behaviour, which fails to accommodate or acknowledge the rights or needs of individuals with different and dedicated religious convictions, beliefs and practices. This may take many forms including criticising people for items worn for religious reasons. Denigrating cultural festivals, or making derisory comments against an individual’s beliefs.

  • Bullying

Persistent action, which humiliates, intimidates, undermines or demeans the person  involved including:
Using abusive language, unreasonably removing areas of responsibility, continually ignoring or excluding an individual, deliberately setting objectives with impossible deadlines, picking on one person when there is a common problem, frightening someone with physical or other threats and continually shouting at or humiliating an individual in front of colleagues or in private.

  •  Stalking

Is a form of harassment which is being more commonly reported. It involves pestering an individual, either in person or in writing or by electronic formats or on the telephone. Stalking can also involve following an individual or spying on them, alarming the recipient or causing distress and may involve violence or lead to a fear of violence.

 

NB. The above examples are a general guideline and some of the offences listed under a particular heading may also apply to other situations. The above examples are not exhaustive.

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