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The University of Southampton
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Dignity at work and study

The University is committed to ensuring that every member of its community is treated fairly with equal dignity and respect, regardless of their background. This principle is underpinned by the Dignity at Work and Study Policy, which makes every University member responsible for demonstrating dignity and respect towards their peers, colleagues and visitors.

Dignity and respect mean that all members of the University community are to be treated as an individual expects to be treated themselves, regardless of their identity, background or grade. The Dignity at Work and Study Policy establishes a number of responsibilities to be upheld by all in the University community, and also defines some negative actions and practices that will not be tolerated.

The acts of discrimination, harassment and victimisation are also defined by the Equality Act 2010, and are prohibited against any of the protected characteristics.

Protections and support

The University will investigate any alleged incidents of discrimination, harassment, bullying or victimisation. We encourage the individuals involved to work towards an amicable resolution in the first instance. Other options may then be informal mediation, formal disciplinary procedures, or referral to outside services. Two internal services are provided to support this: Harassment Contacts and the Mediation Service.

Both of these are open to staff and students, and are completely impartial, confidential and off-the-record. No-one else will be informed or involved without your consent. The only exceptions would be where there is a clear duty of care based on concerns of serious risk of significant harm, or where there is a breach of law

Harassment Contacts provide a first point of contact and sympathetic listening ear for anyone who feels that they have been the recipient of harassment or bullying, or have been accused of this. Sometimes a problem can be resolved through one or two phone calls or face-to-face meetings. In other instances, Harassment Contacts may refer clients to more specialist services. All Harassment Contact volunteers have undertaken extensive in-house training, and many are already qualified or experienced in similar areas.

The Mediation Service offers a discreet and confidential way of addressing the issues at hand, finding a way to resolve the problem, improve relationships that negatively affect your wellbeing, draw a line under events and move on. Mediators are specialists in conflict and dispute resolution and all have an accredited Open College Network qualification. Mediation is an informal process that should be considered as a possible first option before resorting to formal proceedings.

 Other sources of information and advice include:

For out-of-hours emergencies, you can find support contacts on the Harassment Contacts page.


The Dignity at Work and Study Policy is essential reading for all students and staff

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