Discrimination, bullying and harassment

It is unlawful to discriminate against people with a protected characteristic: age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, sex and sexual orientation. UCU opposes unlawful discrimination and will help members who experience it.

Or it may equally be the case that you are being treated badly for no other reason than your manager is a bully, or a colleague has developed a personal grudge.

Although they vary, every education employer should have agreed, and published, procedures for you to follow if another member of staff, whatever position they may hold, is not treating you appropriately or professionally. This is part of an employer's 'duty of care' implied in all contracts of employment.

If you feel you have a particular problem, you should approach your branch/local association as soon as possible. Please be aware that time limits can apply, so please don't delay if you need to raise an issue.

If you do not feel you want immediate action taken or need any representation, you may find it very useful to contact Recourse, a helpline dedicated to teachers and staff in FE and HE, because talking things through and getting advice on what options you have can often help relieve the stress.

Early intervention can often ease situations or clear up misunderstandings without ongoing recriminations. Your UCU representatives also have access to further knowledge in order to help, and will keep all matters confidential.

Do not hesitate to contact us if you know that the other person involved is also a UCU member: we treat every member fairly and have careful procedures to follow in these situations.

You will find some leaflets containing basic information below - these are only introductions and are not a substitute for talking to your union rep. Both members and branches may find our Bullying and harassment toolkit page useful. You can also visit the UCU Support Centre to find more detailed legal information on discrimination, bullying and harassment.


If you believe that you are being bullied, the chances are, you are - UCU member factsheet [22kb] (opens in a new window)
If you believe that you are being bullied, the chances are, you are - UCU member factsheet [144kb] (opens in a new window)

What to do if you are being bullied or harassed [22kb]
What to do if you are being bullied or harassed [163kb]

What to do if you witness bullying or harassment [18kb]
What to do if you witness bullying or harassment [157kb]

Guidance for those accused of bullying or harassment [23kb]
Guidance for those accused of bullying or harassment [160kb]

If you have suffered race discrimination: member guidance [22kb]
If you have suffered race discrimination: member guidance [158kb]

Age discrimination and the age regulations – some questions answered [29kb]
Age discrimination and the age regulations – some questions answered [171kb]

UCU advice on disability discrimination law, Mar 07 [153kb]
UCU advice on disability discrimination law, Mar 07 [181kb]

Practical steps to ensure internet safety [132kb] (opens in a new window)
Practical steps to ensure internet safety [160kb] (opens in a new window)

Cyber-bullying: the invisible hand of bullying [151kb] (opens in a new window)
Cyber-bullying: the invisible hand of bullying [159kb] (opens in a new window) 

Last updated: 7 January 2016