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Preventing Bullying and Abusive Conduct in Our Workplace

Policy Changes Make it Clear that UC Davis Will NOT Tolerate Bullying

UC Davis’ Bullying and Abusive Conduct in the Workplace policy expands upon the former Disruptive Behavior in the Workplace policy by placing a focus on bullying, how to identify bullying, and ways to report it.

“As we strive toward a climate where everyone is respected and feels that they belong, it’s critical that we give a name to bullying,” remarked Christine Lovely, Chief Human Resources Officer. “Bullying is completely unacceptable and our employees need to know that it will not be tolerated, that it’s safe to speak up and that supervisors must take action.”


What Is Bullying and Abusive Conduct?

  • Bullying is a pattern of repeated behavior that a reasonable person would find hostile, offensive, and unrelated to the university’s legitimate business interests. Bullying often involves an abuse or misuse of power, but also occurs when someone spreads misinformation or malicious rumors, sabotages another’s work performance, teases, insults, humiliates, and marginalizes another. 
  • Abusive conduct includes aggressive behavior or conduct that may adversely affect the campus or workplace, may generate reasonable concern for personal safety, or may result in physical injury, like intimidation, threats and violent behavior.
     
  • See examples of Bullying from policy
  • Bullying—a pattern of repeated behavior that a reasonable person would find hostile, offensive, and unrelated to the university’s legitimate business interests. Bullying often involves an abuse or misuse of power. A single physical, verbal, or written act or behavior generally will not constitute bullying unless especially severe and egregious. Examples of bullying may include:
    1. Persistent or egregious use of disparaging, insulting, or offensive language;
    2. Spreading misinformation or malicious rumors;
    3. Sabotaging or undermining a person’s work performance;
    4. Behavior or language that frightens, humiliates, belittles, or degrades, including criticism or feedback that is delivered with yelling, screaming, threats, or insults;
    5. Making repeated inappropriate comments about a person’s appearance; lifestyle, family, or culture;
    6. Regularly teasing or making someone the brunt of pranks or practical jokes;
    7. Interfering with or damaging a person’s personal property or university equipment/property;
    8. Circulating inappropriate or embarrassing photos or videos via e-mail or social media;
    9. Unwarranted physical conduct of a non-violent nature; 
    10. Purposefully excluding, isolating, or marginalizing a person from normal work activities.
  • See examples of Abusive Conduct from policy
  • Abusive conduct—aggressive behavior or conduct that may adversely affect the campus or workplace (typically violent or potentially violent in nature), may generate reasonable concern for personal safety, or may result in physical injury. Such behavior includes, but not limited to the following:
    1. Intimidation—behavior that a reasonable person would find frightening, coercive, or would induce duress.
    2. Threat—expression of intent to cause physical or mental harm, which may be direct, indirect, conditional, or veiled.
    3. Violent behavior—unwanted physical contact such as hitting, kicking, pushing, shoving, throwing objects, or the use of a weapon, or other object.

Generally, Not Bullying...

Differences of opinion and interpersonal conflicts will occur in the workplace, and our UC Davis' Principles of Community can help guide our actions in ways that demonstrate mutual respect and caring. Likewise, we are a learning institution, which is why a single physical, verbal, or written act or behavior - unless especially severe and egregious – will generally not constitute bullying.


Reporting Bullying and Abusive Conduct

Bullying or abusive conduct should be reported to supervisors, or the department head, and/or the applicable university office (i.e., Employee and Labor Relations, Academic Affairs, Graduate Studies or Office of Student Support and Judicial Affairs). Employees are strongly encouraged to report instances of bullying and/or abusive conduct that they are subjected to and/or witness occurring to someone else.

  • Supervisors Must:
    • Review allegations of bullying and take appropriate action based on findings of the review and consult with the appropriate office, as necessary. 
    • Consult the Workplace Violence Response Team when receiving reports of abusive conduct.

 

"Improving the staff experience is paramount for me,” affirmed Lovely. “We want staff to feel safe and supported when at work, so please reach out if you need help."


ASAP Can Help

If you, or adult family members in your household feel overwhelmed with sadness, anger, depression, or anxiety; please contact the Academic and Staff Assistance Program (ASAP) for support and consultation. If you are concerned about a colleague, co-worker, friend, subordinate, or workgroup, ASAP is a resource that you can reach out to. 


Additional Resources

  • For information on preventing and responding to workplace violence:
    • UC Davis Police Department- 530-752-6589
    • Academic Staff Assistance Program (ASAP)- 530-752-2727
  • For off-the-record confidential, impartial, independent, informal assistance, and additional resources:
    • Office of the Ombuds (Davis)- 530-754-7233 
    • Office of the Ombuds (UC Davis Health)- 916-734-1600 
  • Confidential advocacy support for survivors of sexual harassment and all forms of sexual violence and prevention, and professional program training:
    • Center for Advocacy, Resources, & Education (CARE, Davis)- 530-752-3299 
    • Center for Advocacy, Resources, & Education (CARE, UC Davis Health)- 916-734-3799

Related Policies

 

UC Developing a Systemwide Policy to Prevent Bullying
UC is in the process of developing a new systemwide policy to prevent bullying. Currently, UC has systemwide guidelines on the subject. A proposed policy is expected to be circulated for employee comments later this year.

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