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Dignity and respect at work policy for public servants

VersionDescription of changeReason for changeDate approved
1.5Format and layout of document changedPolicy and procedure slimmed down to a small number of pages, instructions on how to carry out a procedure now in toolkit items23/2/2022
Introduction of clear accountabilitiesClarity on roles and responsibilities23/2/2022
Amended to companion supportTo meet disability discrimination, offering reasonable adjustments in addition to union representative/workplace colleague23/2/2022
 Addition of five-day fact findTo allow for an informal review of whether an investigation should be held23/2/2022
 Addition of mistake of fact after investigation
To embed existing practice into policy23/2/2022 

Addition of code of practice
​Clarity on which code and policy family this policy belongs to

​Amend Director General to Chief Officer
​Change in role title
VersionDescription of changeReason for changeDate approved
1.5Format and layout of document changedPolicy and procedure slimmed down to a small number of pages, instructions on how to carry out a procedure now in toolkit items23/2/2022
Introduction of clear accountabilitiesClarity on roles and responsibilities23/2/2022
Amended to companion supportTo meet disability discrimination, offering reasonable adjustments in addition to union representative/workplace colleague23/2/2022
 Addition of five-day fact findTo allow for an informal review of whether an investigation should be held23/2/2022
 Addition of mistake of fact after investigation
To embed existing practice into policy23/2/2022 

Addition of code of practice
​Clarity on which code and policy family this policy belongs to

​Amend Director General to Chief Officer
​Change in role title


This document comes in two parts.

Part one sets out the Jersey Public Services policy and principles regarding dignity and respect at work.

Part two provides the procedure, setting out how to implement the policy with links to toolkit items to give you more information. The procedure is intended as a guide only and may change or be varied from time to time.

TitleDignity and Respect at Work Policy
Author Employee Experience
Document Type Policy
Issue date 9 December 2022
Effective date 9 December 2022
Review date8 December 2024
Version 1.5

This policy supersedes all previous policies, circulars and procedures connected with bullying and harassment within the Public Service.

Code of practice and policy family

This policy forms part of the code of practice for performance and accountabilityThis code will be reviewed at the start of each term of States Employment Board, or earlier where relevant legislation or regulations change.

Dignity and respect at work policy

Policy purpose

The purpose of this document is to underline the values and behaviours we expect to ensure dignity and respect in the workplace for everyone. Should you experience or witness bullying or harassment in the workplace, it also provides information and guidance about how it will be dealt with.

Policy principles

All our policies are underpinned by our values and behaviours.

This policy and procedure aims to:

  • ensure everyone is treated in a fair, consistent, and equal manner, free from discrimination and victimisation
  • be clearly written, easy to understand and apply
  • ensure our compliance with the Employment (Jersey) Law 2003, Discrimination (Jersey) Law 2013 and other relevant legislation and regulations

Our commitment to you is that:

  • everyone has the right to be treated with dignity and respect as they go about their work
  • everyone has the right to work in an environment which is free from any form of bullying and harassment
  • everyone has the right to work for an employer who finds behaviour of this nature wholly unacceptable
  • through our cultural change programme, we have laid the foundations for a zero-tolerance stance to bullying and harassment throughout the public sector and at every level
  • we will listen to you and take every concern raised seriously
  • we will deal with it with empathy and sensitivity and wherever possible in a swift and confidential manner
  • wherever possible we will resolve concerns informally
  • where an investigation is necessary, it will be fair, independent, and confidential
  • if line managers see inappropriate behaviour first, we will challenge it
  • we will ensure that you are not victimised, unfairly treated, or disciplined for raising a genuine concern
  • you have the right to be accompanied at any formal meeting
  • you have the right of appeal against any formal decision made
  • wellbeing support is in place and available to everyone

People and Corporate Services will monitor data recorded in accordance with our Employee Privacy Notice regarding dignity and respect at work to help address areas of concern and safeguard against future problems.

Policy scope 

This policy applies to all Jersey public servants whether permanent, non-permanent, or on a zero hours arrangement and those providing services to the public sector under a contract, including agency workers, voluntary staff, and honorary contracts. Whilst this is a Jersey Public Services policy, it applies to all public servants employed by the States Employment Board, Office Holders, Crown Appointments and police officers within the States of Jersey Police Force. Any references to the States of Jersey means the wider, non-executive arm of public services.

The principles of this policy also apply to States Members. Where concerns are raised about a States Member, they will be dealt with by the Commissioner for Standards.

This policy covers concerns relating to any bullying and harassment allegations.

It does not cover concerns related to individual or collective grievances associated to unfair treatment in the workplace. For example, concerns regarding your terms and conditions of employment.

If your concern falls outside of the scope of this policy, please refer to the most appropriate policy or seek HR case management guidance and support for clarification.

Performance and accountabilities

All of us 

We all have a responsibility to ensure we treat one another with dignity and respect at work. 

Whether you experience unacceptable behaviour or treatment, or you witness this towards a colleague, we all have a duty to speak-up and report it through one of the measures outlined in part two of this document. 

We all have a responsibility to follow the timescales set out in part two to support a swift resolution. 

Line managers 

Our managers are role models, set clear standards and are supportive (People Strategy Commitment – Your Experience). As a line manager, you are responsible for modelling our values and behaviours. You set the tone for your team and across the organisation.  

Our People Strategy   

You are responsible for familiarising yourself with this policy and understanding your role in the procedure, particularly addressing concerns swiftly. You are also responsible for undertaking any relevant management training or briefing sessions related to this policy or people management generally.  

Whether you spot unacceptable behaviour within your team, or it is brought to your attention – the responsibility for resolution sits with you. It is essential that you act swiftly to resolve the matter and call-out unacceptable behaviours. You must not let the situation fester.  If you spot unacceptable behaviour within the wider workforce, you should bring it to the attention of the relevant line manager. 

You are responsible for ensuring that good two way communication is maintained throughout any part of the process to keep all parties informed and up to date. 

You must ensure that individuals are aware of the support measures available to them and be mindful of general team wellbeing during any dignity and respect at work process. 

You are also responsible for helping repair working relationships after any process has concluded. 

Group Director – People and Corporate Services 

You are the custodian of all Government of Jersey people policies.   

You will ensure that this policy and its procedure are implemented using appropriate communication methods, to aid organisation wide awareness, in order that responsibilities can be fulfilled.  

You will ensure that reviews take place in line with the schedule in the policy control sheet and that development of this policy and procedure is in keeping with the Corporate Policy Framework, People Policy Guidelines and our People Strategy. 

People Consultancy Services Team are responsible for providing advice and monitoring any formal processes in line with this policy and procedure. 

Chief Executive Officer, Chief Officers and Heads of Administration 

You are accountable for familiarising yourself with: 

  • our six Codes of Practice 
  • this policy and procedure 

You are responsible for ensuring line managers and employees within your department carry out their responsibilities, as set out in this policy. This includes the notification and recording of any breaches and upholding the spirit of the code of this policy and its procedure generally.           

You are responsible for modelling and championing our values and ensuring that our organisation's standards and expectations are communicated clearly and fully adopted by your department. You set the tone for the behaviours both within your department and across the organisation. 

States Employment Board 

The Board has a duty to issue Codes of Practice in accordance with Article 8 of the Employment of States of Jersey Employees (Jersey) Law 2005. This code will be reviewed at the start of each term of States Employment Board, or earlier where relevant legislation or regulations change.  

Dignity and respect at work definitions and examples

What is bullying and harassment?

"Bullying is offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behaviour, an abuse or misuse of power through means that undermine, humiliate, denigrate or injure the recipient".

"Harassment is unwanted conduct related to a relevant protected characteristic, which has the purpose or effect of violating an individual's dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for that individual".

Harassment is associated with the protected characteristics defined under the Discrimination (Jersey) Law 2013 . The current protected relevant characteristics are race, sex, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, age, and disability.

The difference between bullying and harassment:

  • most organisations make a distinction between bullying and harassment and provide a separate definition for each, but the terms are often interchangeable, and some define bullying as a form of harassment 
  • however, what the two terms do have in common is that if someone feels they are being either bullied or harassed, then it is always unwelcome, unwarranted, and often causes a detrimental effect
  • both can be overt or covert, inflicted by one person or by groups, intended or unintended 
  • a bully or a harasser could be anyone in the workplace, regardless of seniority and where they work in the organisation. You could find unwanted behaviours from someone who is senior to you, junior to you, and from peer colleagues or groups 

When supporting you with any concern you raise, we will be respectful of how it has made you feel, regardless of whether it fits completely with the standard definitions provided below.

Any form of harassment, bullying or discrimination, including sexual offences, verbal or physical abuse or intimidation could lead to disciplinary action.

Bullying and harassment examples (this list is non-exhaustive)

Examples include:

  • inappropriate comments about a person's appearance, personal preferences, or choices  
  • singling one person out or treating them differently to other colleagues 
  • inappropriate sexual behaviour  
  • sexual advances, including sending emails or messages with material of a sexual nature 
  • belittling, demeaning, teasing, patronising, shouting, or threatening an individual  
  • refusal to acknowledge contributions and achievements  
  • blocking developmental/promotional opportunities 
  • constantly criticising staff, removing responsibilities, or giving them trivial tasks  
  • setting a person up to fail by overloading them with work or setting impossible deadlines 
  • regularly and deliberately ignoring or excluding individuals from work activities  
  • taking credit for or plagiarising work  
  • insulting or offensive comments or jokes 

Bullying and harassment might: 

  • be a regular pattern of behaviour or a one off incident 
  • not always happen face to face, it may take place in their absence or through digital media 
  • not always be obvious or noticed by others 

Examples of behaviour that are not workplace bullying and harassment are (this list is non-exhaustive):

  • providing legitimate and constructive feedback about your work performance, or work-related issues 
  • allocating work, setting reasonable goals, standards, and deadlines 
  • performance management measures, either informal or formal undertaken in a respectful and fair way 
  • fair or equitable management of sickness absence in line with the procedure in the Managing Attendance policy 
  • legitimate use of the disciplinary policy, either informal or formal, to address disciplinary issues in the workplace 

The procedure

How to report a concern

You can report the concern as follows:

  • if you feel able to, directly with the individual concerned
  • with your line manager, or your line managers manager if the issue relates to your line manager
  • reporting it through our dedicated speak-up line, available all day, every day throughout the year.  There are two ways to contact the speak-up line. By free phone 0800 069 8007 or on the speak-up line website

The following provides information and guidance to employees who wish to report a concern. This guidance is generic and applies to several policies.

Reporting a concern

Who can raise a concern

Everyone in scope of this policy may raise a concern and are encouraged to do so if they witness any unacceptable behaviour towards a colleague, to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all.

If you are a line manager and you witness unacceptable behaviour or treatment of members of your team or within the wider organisation, or it is reported to you, then you have duty to step-in and address it or raise it through the relevant reporting measures.

How will the concern be dealt with: Informal approach

Line managers have a responsibility to act swiftly and initiate a 14 day response period. Your involvement at this early stage could be crucial to a swift resolution. During this period informal approaches are explored with the aim of resolving the concern as swiftly as possible, to benefit all those involved. This may include a five day fact find.

Concerns should not be ignored or left to fester. There is a strong emphasis in this policy to resolve concerns informally. Therefore, you are expected to be open to any of the informal approaches proposed and to give them a chance to run their course. This gives the best opportunity for a successful outcome for all parties.

​Informal meeting approach

How will the concern be dealt with: Formal approach

Formal Resolution should not be used if an employee has not made a reasonable attempt to resolve matters through Early Resolution, however where the concern is deemed to be serious it may be necessary to progress immediately to a formal stage, for example if the concern is harassment relating to one of the protected characteristics.

The formal approach is used in the following circumstances:

  • if the informal approach has not resulted in a positive outcome
  • if the formal approach needs to be used, concerns will need to be put in writing

Formal meeting approach

Investigation: mistake of fact

You will be given the opportunity to review the investigation report in order to confirm that there have been no mistakes of fact, for example a relevant witness was not interviewed or some evidence was omitted.  If other parties are involved, then they will also have this opportunity to review the investigation report.  

If either party believes that there has been a mistake of fact, then the case manager should be informed within one week. The case manager will review the alleged mistake and will request that the investigators re-examine the specific mistake in order to decide whether a mistake has been made. 

If the case manager concludes that a mistake of fact has been made, the investigators will re-open the investigation.  If it is concluded that no mistake has been made, the investigators will finalise and release their report to the commissioning manager.

Withdrawal of a concern

Occasionally, individuals decide to withdraw their concern. Withdrawal of a concern must be done in writing to the person to whom the concern was initially raised. If the circumstances warrant it, we reserve the right to continue to investigate any concern that has been withdrawn.

If a concern is withdrawn, line managers must notify HR Case Management, who will confirm whether the investigation into the concern will continue.

Outcomes and recommendations

No further action

There may be recommendations such as:

  • counselling
  • mediation
  • training
  • another form of support

Informal action

Possible outcomes may include:

  • training or coaching for parties involved
  • counselling for parties involved
  • mediation for parties involved
  • notification that further similar action might end in disciplinary action

Formal action

Outcomes would include:

  • to initiate a disciplinary hearing
  • further investigation into other matters that were found

The concern was untrue or malicious

  • if there is evidence to support the concern or grievance was reported being untrue or malicious, then disciplinary action against the complainant may be taken

There may also be recommended changes to a policy or procedure.



There is a right of appeal for the complainant against the outcome of the investigation. Grounds for your appeal should be set out in writing, within ten working days of the investigation outcome and sent to the HR Case Management team. An independent appeal manager will be assigned and will review the investigation report and the grounds for the appeal and decide based on the papers provided.


If the outcome of the investigation recommends formal action through the disciplinary policy, this includes an appeal process for the respondent.

Roles and responsibilities during this procedure

A Public Servant or Employee is: 

  • any employee who has raised a bullying or harassment concern

A Commissioning Manager or Line Manager is: 

  • the person who is the decision maker and responsible for the case, either at the informal or formal stage of any process. A commissioning manager is usually from the business as a direct line manager, or a line manager's manager. For smaller departments, a commissioning manager can be sought from across the Government of Jersey 
  • therefore, may or may not be the employee's line manager 

A Case Manager is: 

  • a member of the HR Case Management team assigned to the formal case  
  • responsible for every stage of the process of the case assigned to them – there may be occasions when some tasks can be delegated but they have ultimate responsibility to ensure policy and process is being adhered to

An Investigator is:  

  • someone impartial required to carry out an investigation into the allegations raised/terms of reference provided and provides an investigation report on conclusion. May be called into the hearing as a witness by either party.  

A Trade Union Representative is: 

  • working in partnership with the Government of Jersey to promote the ethos of this policy and its procedure   
  • adequately supporting any member who approaches you with a concern  
  • ensuring your representatives are trained and undertake any training provided by the Government of Jersey to assist you with your understanding and responsibilities in this policy

A Companion Support is: 

  • under discrimination legislation, employers must make reasonable adjustments to accommodate an employee with a disability. This may mean flexibility in agreeing to a companion such as a support or care worker in addition to a trade union representative or workplace colleague. 

Line Manager responsibilities (informal stage):

  • attempting to resolve all complaints informally in the first instance 
  • clearly documenting any attempt made to resolve the complaint informally 
  • offering independent mediation at the earliest opportunity, where required 
  • completing the case management referral form and submitting  to if the attempt at informal resolution was not successful or if either the complainant or the responder do not wish to engage in attempting to resolve the matter informally and would like the matter to be addressed formally  

Commissioning manager responsibilities (formal stage):

This may be the line manager or may be another party for impartiality:

  • agreeing the terms of reference for the investigation 
  • attending the meeting with the complainant to confirm the terms of reference 
  • attending the meeting with the responder to inform them that a complaint has been raised and confirm the terms of reference for the formal investigation 
  • deciding on the course of action following the conclusion of the investigation 
  • attending the meetings with the case manager to inform the complainant and the responder of the outcome of the investigation, and agreed course of action 
  • writing the management case if the outcome results in a formal hearing 
  • writing questions to ask witnesses at the formal disciplinary hearing 
  • presenting the management case at the formal disciplinary hearing supported by the case manager  
  • writing informal warnings if these are an outcome  

Case manager responsibilities (once allocated the formal case):

  • reviewing details in the case management referral form, ensuring the form submitted is the current version and has been appropriately completed 
  • contacting the commissioning manager to discuss and advise on the way forward. 
  • contacting the complainant to make introductions, explaining the roles and responsibilities during the process, and advising on the next steps 
  • drafting terms of reference – ensuring everything raised by the complainant is covered and ensuring complainant is satisfied all areas are covered 
  • acknowledging receipt of the complaint 
  • writing the letter to the complainant formally acknowledging receipt of their complaint and confirm next steps. 
  • attending a meeting with the commissioning manager to inform the respondent that a complaint has been raised against them 
  • ensuring a thorough investigation has been completed, requesting a re-examination or further investigation if required 
  • providing procedural and employment advice to the commissioning manager on the content of the investigation report and next steps 
  • sending a copy of the investigation report to complainant and responder for mistake of fact

If the independent investigator concludes that the allegations made by the complainant are unsubstantiated or unfounded:

  • attending a meeting with the complainant to inform them of the outcome and confirming the outcome in writing 
  • writing to the respondent confirming the outcome of the independent investigation  
  • if an appeal is raised, appointing an appeal manager to undertake a desktop review 
  • writing to the complainant confirming the outcome of the appeal 

If the independent investigator concludes that one or more of the allegations made by the complainant are substantiated:

  • arranging and attending a meeting to include the Commissioning Manager with the complainant to inform them of the outcome of the independent investigation and confirming in writing 

If the independent investigator concludes that one or more of the allegations made by the complainant are malicious or vexatious: 

  • writing to the complainant confirming the outcome of the independent investigation, advising the investigation conclusion was that the complaint was malicious or vexatious and confirming what action will be taken 

Investigator responsibilities:

  • prepare and draft an investigation plan 
  • identify sources of evidence 
  • carry out interviews with employees and any witnesses 
  • raise any wellbeing issues to the case manager 
  • provide a statement to witnesses after the investigation meeting in line with agreed timescales 
  • produce a report with conclusion 
  • attend a hearing if required as a witness 

Trade Union Representative and workplace colleague responsibilities: 

  • to accompany the employee at any formal meetings 
  • cannot act in any legal capacity 
  • may respond to any views expressed at the hearing or any investigation process if requested by the employee  
  • may confer with the employee 
  • may question witnesses if required during hearing
  • cannot answer questions on the employees' behalf  
  • may address the hearing in accordance with the wishes of the employee  

Right to be represented or accompanied, including companion support

By law, any employee can bring one person to a formal meeting, this can be a trade union representative or a workplace colleague. In addition, employees who require reasonable adjustments may also be entitled to companion support.

Right to be accompanied

Support and wellbeing

Your wellbeing is our priority, everyone should feel safe and supported in the workplace, sources of wellbeing support and guidance can be found for public servants on MyStates. 


We all have a right to confidentiality throughout this procedure. Read our confidentiality toolkit for more guidance.


Glossary of terms

See our glossary of terms for definitions or explanations.


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