Victimisation and harassment
What are victimisation and harassment?
Victimisation is a collective term for several types of unacceptable behaviour.
Victimisation refers to “Actions directed against one or more employees in an abusive manner, which could lead to ill health or their being placed outside the community of the workplace”. The Swedish Work Environment Authority’s Organisational and Social Work Environment Act (AFS 2015:4) deals with the employer’s responsibility for handling victimisation. All employers are subject to the provisions of the Act. Lund University’s Work Environment Policy specifically states that victimisation is not accepted within the organisation.
Victimisation includes, but is not limited to:
- denying someone a greeting
- calling someone inappropriate names
- freezing someone out
- excluding someone from meetings
- unjustly accusing someone
- personally shaming someone
- calling someone offensive names in front of others
Harassment and sexual harassment
Harassment and sexual harassment are two forms of discrimination.
Harassment is conduct that violates a person’s dignity and is associated with one of the seven grounds on which discrimination occurs: gender, transgender identity or expression, ethnicity, religion or other belief, disability, sexual orientation and age. It can take the form of ridiculing or belittling generalisations, for example.
Sexual harassment is conduct of a sexual nature that offends someone’s dignity. It can take the form of comments and words, groping or indiscreet stares. Unwelcome compliments, invitations and innuendos can also constitute sexual harassment.
It is the person exposed to the behaviour who determines what is unwanted, unwelcome or offensive.
How to report victimisation or harassment
As an employee, if you feel you have been, or have witnessed someone else being, subjected to victimisation or harassment, you can report the incident to your manager. If this is not possible, you can contact the next level of management, such as the dean or equivalent.
Your manager (or your manager’s manager according to the delegation rules) is obliged to start an investigation into the incident.
You can also report victimisation through Lund University’s incident report procedure.
Filing an anonymous report
If you wish to file an anonymous report, you can do so. In that case, the manager can work preventively and generally with measures to prevent similar incidents in the future.
What happens when you report
Your manager will start an investigation in which you are given the opportunity to recount what happened, who was involved and your experience of it. The investigator, who may be your manager or a person appointed by them, will also speak with the perceived perpetrator, as well as with any other people who have something important to contribute to the investigation.
The aim of the investigation is to clarify the course of events, but also to determine whether the incident falls within the framework of the Discrimination Act’s definitions of harassment, sexual harassment and victimisation.
Your manager is responsible for ensuring that the victimisation or harassment ceases and is to work to prevent it happening again.
Prohibition against reprisals
If you have reported discrimination or pointed out that your employer is breaking the law, the Discrimination Act protects you from punishment in the form of reprisals. This protection also applies to someone collaborating in an investigation pursuant to the Discrimination Act or to someone who has rejected or given in to harassment or sexual harassment.
Reprisals might take the form of employment not being extended, a low salary increase, or being given too much or too little to do at work, for example.
What support is available?
Contact your employee organisation for support and advice during the investigation. You can also contact the Occupational Health Service for consultation, for example.