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Durham University

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

What do we mean by Bullying and Harassment

What do we mean by bullying and harassment?

Sometimes people are unsure whether the behaviour that they are experiencing would be considered bullying or harassment.

Bullying is behaviour, usually repeated over time, where there is a deliberate intention to hurt or humiliate. It can happen in many forms including the use of written communications, phone conversations and supervision methods.

Harassment relates to unwanted conduct, which affects or violates a person’s dignity. Or when a person, or groups’ behaviour creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for that individual.

Bullying and Harassment can include (but is certainly not limited to)
  • Verbal abuse
  • Insulting behaviour or personal insults, including making racist, homophobic, anti-semetic or transphobic statements
  • Coercive or menacing behaviour which interferes with dignity and privacy or which undermines an individual's self-confidence
  • Behaviour which incites racial hatred, e.g. wearing racist insignia or badges
  • Offensive written or computer generated material, including the use of email and social media
  • Unreasonable, unfair or offensive expectations about an individual's disabilities or mischievous interference with personal aids or equipment
  • Unwanted physical contact ranging from touching to serious assault
  • Leering and offensive gestures
  • Asserting a position of seniority in an aggressive, abusive or offensive manner e.g. inappropriate or derogatory remark in connection with performance of duties / responsibilities.
  • Withholding important work-related information
  • Ridicule, isolation or non-cooperation, exclusion from everyday social interaction or activities