Harassment & Bullying Policy
This policy does not have contractual effect and is provided for guidance only.
Lookout Point Limited (the “Company”, “we”, “us”, “our”) is proud of its reputation as an award-winning production company and we work with some of the most exceptional talent in the industry. We know that Lookout Point’s reputation is dependent on a diverse range of people who contribute to our success. Core to our values is the commitment to ensuring that everybody who works with us and is associated with us, in any location, can be confident that they will experience an environment which is collaborative and respectful and not threatening or intimidating. All of us have a responsibility to treat each other with dignity and respect and consequently, the Company will not tolerate harassment or bullying in any form.
This Policy will be communicated to all Lookout Point employees together with everybody who works with us in any capacity (e.g. actors, self-employed freelancers, sub-contractors, agency workers etc). It will be easily accessible on our website and as part of our Employee Handbook. Under this Policy, we will seek to ensure that everybody is treated equally regardless of seniority or the contract type under which they have been employed or engaged. We all have a responsibility to ensure this Policy is upheld. This means, we must be familiar with its content and be prepared to speak out if any of us experience or witness behaviour which is not consistent with its principles. The Company’s management team will ensure that anybody who voices a genuine concern or makes a complaint of bullying or harassment will be fully supported.
In the UK, Harassment has been defined as unwanted conduct which is related to a relevant protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010 (age, sex, disability, gender reassignment. race, religion or belief, and sexual orientation), which has the purpose or effect of violating a person’s dignity, or creating for that person an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment. Lookout Point is committed to ensuring that any unwanted conduct related to any of these characteristics or any other protected characteristics (e.g.marriage and civil partnership and pregnancy and maternity) will not be tolerated anywhere in the Company or on any of its productions whether those productions are based in the UK or elsewhere.
Bullying is offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behaviour, an abuse or misuse of power through means that undermine, humiliate, denigrate or injure the recipient. It is usually a pattern of behaviour rather than isolated instances, involving negative behaviour targeted at an individual, or individuals, repeatedly and persistently over time.
Bullying and Harassment can both cause considerable distress to the person on the receiving end and can lead to feelings of anxiety and fear and to sickness and ill health.
Bullying and Harassment are not necessarily always obvious or apparent and can manifest themselves in a variety of ways. Inappropriate behaviour can take place between two individuals or may involve groups of people. It might be obvious or insidious and could be either persistent or an isolated incident. It may not always be face-to-face but occur in written communications – via email, for example. These are some examples which can be used to highlight the range of ‘unwanted conduct’ or inappropriate behaviour although this is by no means an exhaustive list:
- Belittling a person’s creative input or not letting them express their opinion in the first place
- Unfairly blaming others – e.g. for the failures of technology; humiliation and ridicule either in private, at meetings or in front of colleagues/customers/clients
- Copying memos that are critical about someone to others who do not need to know
- Threats, abuse, teasing, gossip, banter or practical jokes/pranks
- Homophobic, transphobic, racist or sexist comments, offensive gestures
- Excluding individuals or groups or socially isolating them
- Overbearing supervision
- Deliberately undermining a competent worker by overloading them
- Preventing individuals progressing by intentionally blocking promotion or training opportunities
- Cyber-bullying conducted online by email, online messaging, online gaming or social media channels, e.g. offensive language, embarrassing pictures or videos, fake profiles, death threats.
Conduct or comments become harassment when they are un-welcome to others or make others feel uncomfortable or threatened. This is why it is important that we all take care to consider the impact that our actions or comments may have on other people. We all need to take responsibility for our own behaviour.
The rise of online networking and the use of social media has seen the growth in a new type of bullying and harassment. Cyber bullying is any form of bullying, harassment or victimisation online. It can spill from on-screen to off-screen and affect face-to-face interactions between colleagues at work and away from work. Lookout Point will not tolerate any kind of cyber bullying or harassment.
Not all harassment is sexual, but it is important to be aware that with sexual harassment:
- a hug, kiss on the cheek, or casual touch is not necessarily sexual harassment. The key is whether the behaviour was unwanted or offensive
- it does not matter if a person has sexual feelings towards the recipient, only that the behaviour is of a sexual nature and that it was unwanted and offensive;
- sexual harassment is gender neutral and orientation neutral. It can be perpetrated by any gender against any gender.
Sex-based harassment and sexual harassment both involve conduct that is unwanted from the perspective of the person on the receiving end and which has the purpose or effect either of violating the person’s dignity or creating an environment that he or she finds intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive. Sex-based harassment is unwanted conduct that is related to an individual’s sex or the sex of another person, for example, where an individual is constantly telling derogatory or demeaning jokes about women generally and another person finds this unwelcome and offensive.
Sexual harassment is behaviour that has a sexual content or sexual connotation and examples include:
- unwanted physical touching
- written or verbal comments of a sexual nature, such as remarks about a person’s appearance, questions about their sex life or offensive jokes
- displaying sexually explicit images on a computer screen
- sending emails with content of a sexual nature
- promise of advantage for sexual concessions or the threat of disadvantage because of the rejection of sexual advances
- sexual assault
We want to ensure that if you have a serious concern whilst working for Lookout Point then you have a simple way of raising this with us. A genuine concern regarding inappropriate conduct within the workplace may be resolved informally and you should always try this approach first, where appropriate.
The Informal Reporting Process
Wherever possible and appropriate (and we understand this may not always be the case), you should address your concerns with the individual(s) causing you distress. You may be happy to do this by having a face-to-face conversation or you may prefer to write an email to them in the first instance. Whichever option you choose, you should explain how their behaviour is impacting you and tell them to stop whatever it is they are doing that is causing you distress, otherwise they may be unaware of the effect of their actions. So that they can be very clear about your concerns and have an opportunity to change or stop their behaviour, you should give them as much detail as possible, for example, dates, places, events that took place. You should be calm and firm, not aggressive. You should stick to the facts and be prepared to describe what happened even if you find it embarrassing.
If you are reluctant to speak to the individual(s) directly, you may prefer to speak to someone with whom you feel comfortable discussing the problem. This may be your manager or any other member of the management team. On each of our productions, we will appoint an individual first point of contact for this purpose. If you would prefer to speak to somebody outside of the Company, you could contact Lookout Point’s HR advisers at BBC Studios on a confidential basis. The team can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. You could also seek advice from the ACAS (a national service specialising in helping resolve workplace problems) helpline (0300 123 11 00) or the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) at www.equalityhumanrights.com
You should try and resolve your complaint as early as possible to reduce your stress and avoid the problem continuing and perhaps, getting worse. You should keep a diary of all incidents – records of dates, times, any witnesses, your feelings, etc. and keep copies of anything that is relevant, for example, emails.
If you try resolving the problem informally and that doesn’t work or you don’t feel the informal route is appropriate, then you can enter the Company’s formal process outlined below.
The Formal Reporting Process
You should put your formal complaint in writing to your manager or, if you are not an employee, to the person who has engaged your services. If your complaint is against this person, you should write to a member of the Company’s management team (Faith Penhale or Saul Venit). You should also arrange a confidential meeting with the person you submit your complaint to so that you can talk through the issues. The person to whom you have addressed the complaint will then discuss it with the management team as a matter of priority.
You will be invited to attend a meeting as soon as practically possible. This meeting will be held in a confidential environment with a couple of appropriate people who could include a member of the senior management team and/or a senior member of the relevant production and/or the Company’s external HR adviser. If appropriate, this meeting will be held outside of the Company’s offices and at the meeting, you will have the opportunity to talk about your complaint in more detail and to describe how you are feeling. You will be able to bring a friend or colleague along if you would find that helpful.
The people who met with you in Stage 2 will arrange to meet with the individual(s) named in your complaint. If it is relevant for their investigations to meet with any witnesses, they will also do that during this Stage. These meetings will be held in a confidential environment and, if appropriate, outside of the Company’s offices.
The Company’s management team will meet to discuss the findings of the meetings held in the previous stages and they will include relevant line managers where appropriate. The management team will decide what appropriate action should be taken and this will be communicated to you and to the individual(s) whose behaviour you complained about. Agreed actions could include mediation, training, coaching, or disciplinary proceedings.
Separate to this Harassment and Bullying Policy, Lookout Point has Disciplinary and Grievance policies in place. If the issues being dealt with under this policy become the subject of a Grievance or Disciplinary process, then those issues will be handled in line with the Company’s Disciplinary and/or Grievance procedures and the staged process outlined in this policy will no longer apply.
For further help please see the following:
- The Film and TV charity support line and website
- On series produced for the BBC, the BBC’s Respect at Work page, which also contains a separate reporting tool if you feel that internal conflicts prevent you raising an issue within Lookout Point.
- Finally, you have access to an external whistleblowing service Navex, if you need to speak anonymously or if the other channels set out here have been followed and you still have concerns.
Don’t be a Bystander
Don’t be complicit. Challenge when you witness inappropriate behaviour or comments and don’t laugh at or encourage inappropriate jokes.
We all have a responsibility to ensure Lookout Point and its productions are safe working environments for everybody and we should not stand by and do nothing when we are aware that inappropriate behaviour is taking place, including in any situations where the inappropriate behaviour is being conducted by a third party such as a customer or supplier. If you witness someone else being bullied or harassed in any circumstances, you should raise your concerns as soon as possible. Speak to your manager or a member of the executive management team or the BBC Studios HR team. The Company will fully support you in raising a genuine concern.