ICAT - Dignity and Respect Policy

Zero tolerance to bullying and harassment is an essential requirement for a happy and healthy working environment, a workplace in which we all treat each other with mutual courtesy, respect and consideration. ICAT is committed to eliminating bullying and harassment.

A person subjects another to harassment where s/ he engages in unwanted and unwarranted conduct, which has the purpose or effect of:
• violating another person’s dignity, or
• creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for that other person.

Harassment may involve repeated forms of unwanted and unwarranted behaviour, but a one-off incident can also amount to harassment. Reasonable and proper management instructions administered appropriately, or reasonable and proper review of a member of work and/or performance will not constitute harassment or bullying. Behaviour will not amount to harassment if the conduct complained about could not reasonably be perceived as offensive.

Harassment may involve:
• physical or verbal harassment
• harassment relating to people’s sex, age, disability, gender identity, race, religion or belief or sexual orientation
• bullying

Bullying is a form of harassment. A person subjects another to harassment where they engage in unwanted and unwarranted conduct which has the purpose or effect of:
• violating another person’s dignity, or
• creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for another person.

Examples of behaviour which may amount to harassment and bullying include (but are not limited to) the following:
• unwanted physical contact, ranging from an invasion of space to an assault, including all forms of sexual harassment, including: i. inappropriate body language ii. sexually explicit remarks or innuendoes iii. unwanted sexual advances and touching
• offensive comments or body language, including insults, jokes or gestures and malicious rumours, open hostility, verbal or physical threats
• insulting, abusive, embarrassing or patronising behaviour or comments, humiliating, intimidating, and/or demeaning criticism
• persistently shouting at, insulting, threatening, disparaging or intimidating an individual
• constantly criticising an individual without providing constructive support to address any performance concerns
• persistently overloading an individual with work that s/he cannot reasonably be expected to complete
• posting offensive comments on electronic media, including using mobile communication devices
• threatening to disclose, or disclosing, a person’s sexuality or disability to others without their permission
• deliberately using the wrong name or pronoun in relation to a transgender person, or persistently referring to their gender identity history
• isolation from normal work or study place, conversations, or social events
• publishing, circulating or displaying pornographic, racist, homophobic, sexually suggestive or otherwise offensive pictures or other materials.

This ICAT dignity and respect policy will apply where the instance of bullying or other negative treatment occurs within the ICAT programme. Moreover, ICAT actively promotes a culture of zero tolerance to sexual violence and sexual harassment for all members of our community.

Our action plan includes a commitment to champion a culture of dignity and respect in ICAT, where positive behaviour is recognised and there is zero tolerance of harassment and bullying.

ICAT is committed to the promotion of an environment for work and study which upholds the dignity and respect of the individual and which supports every individual’s right to study and/or work in an environment which is free of any form of bullying, harassment or sexual harassment.

There are a number of supports in place for fellows experiencing bullying, harassment and/or sexual harassment through their individual academic institutions and hospitals. These policies should be followed, where the occurrence is in the university or hospital training location. This Policy does not replace or supersede existing university or hospital agreement provisions relevant to harassment and discrimination. It also does not replace or supersede applicable legislation.

ICAT is committed to maintaining a learning and work environment that promotes the understanding and respect for dignity of the person as part of the ICAT community and one that is free from harassment and discrimination.

ICAT will provide and maintain a fair and timely process for reporting, investigating complaints of harassment and/or discrimination and determining consequences. We will take appropriate preventative and corrective action where harassment or discrimination occurs and will, where warranted, hold individuals responsible.

A fellow may file or withdraw a complaint of harassment or discrimination pursuant under this policy, without fear of reprisal or threat. To obtain information on the prevention of harassment or discrimination or to find out about the process for filing a complaint, contact the ICAT Programme Manager and/or your Academic Mentor in the first instance. Complaints of harassment or discrimination will be treated in a confidential manner, in accordance with relevant national legislation and in accordance with the provisions of an applicable collective agreement (for example, and if relevant, via the individual hospital or university).

All individuals involved in a report or an investigation of harassment or discrimination must keep the matter confidential in order to safeguard individuals against unsubstantiated allegations, to protect the rights of those involved in the allegation and to preserve the integrity of the investigation.

This Policy is reviewed annually by the ICAT Executive Team, who are advised by the ICAT Steering Committee and the ICAT Equality Diversity and Inclusion Working Group (EDIG).

Reviewed 02 November 2021

Additional resources - partner organisation supports

Trinity College Dublin

- Dignity and Respect Policy

University of Galway

- Policies & Procedures

University College Dublin

- Dignity and Respect at UCD

Queen's University Belfast

- Policies and Procedures

Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI)

- Resources

University College Cork

- Respect and Dignity policies

Health Service Executive (HSE)

- Dignity at Work Policy

Northern Ireland Medical and Dental Training Agency (NIMDTA)

- Raising Concerns Portal

Health Research Board (HRB)

- Bullying and/or Harassment of Participants in HRB-funded Research


- Bullying and harassment policy