Norfolk County Council has confirmed its zero tolerance approach to bullying and harassment and revealed that two employees have been dismissed for this issue over the last two years.
The news came as the council announced it was launching a new bullying and harassment policy, to give a clear focus on the issue and to stress it is a serious disciplinary matter.
Norfolk’s lead member for equality issues, deputy leader Councillor Alison Thomas, said: “We have a zero tolerance approach to bullying and harassment, including sexual harassment. We believe all our colleagues have a right to work in an environment that is respectful to all.
“While there’s no evidence that this is a major problem at the council, every incident is unacceptable – and we’re ensuring that staff and councillors know this. Our staff have the full support of members and managers, if they need to report an issue.”
The county council reviewed the number of bullying and harassment cases, in the wake of recent high profile reports about sexual harassment in the movie industry and politics.
A report to the council’s policy and resources committee says that, over the last two years, there was one case at the county council which had an element of sexual harassment and two people were dismissed for cases involving general bullying and harassment.
Although bullying and harassment is currently dealt with through the council’s grievance procedure, the council has now decided to introduce a new bullying and harassment policy, by the end of this month.
It will give a clear statement of commitment from senior members and managers, make it clear that bullying and harassment is unlawful and will not be tolerated and that it is a disciplinary offence.
The policy and resources committee will discuss the report when it meets at 10am on Monday, 29th January. The report is available at http://norfolkcc.cmis.uk.com/norfolkcc/Meetings/tabid/70/ctl/ViewMeetingPublic/mid/397/Meeting/640/Committee/21/SelectedTab/Documents/Default.aspx