Irish Ladies Flyfishing Association
Bullying and Harassment Policy
- First version - Approved at EGM of ILFA on 15th January 2022
Irish Ladies Flyfishing Associationis committed to protecting the dignity and respect of all those who are a member of the Association. In particular, Irish Ladies Flyfishing Associationis committed to ensuring that the Association is free from any form of bullying or harassment and that the members and committee participate in events in an atmosphere of respect, safety and equality. No bullying or harassment within the Association or in connection with the aims of the Association will be tolerated.
The purpose of this policy is to:
- Educate all members as to the nature of bullying and harassment.
- Provide awareness amongst members as to the steps they can take if they believe that they have been impacted by this type of behaviour.
- This policy applies to all members of the association.
- The policy also applies to treatment of non-members such as those that assist or work with the association during events, trials, international events, promotional events etc
Principles underlying the Policy
- The Association regards the issue of bullying and harassment as very serious and such behaviours will not be tolerated.
- Both the Association’s committee and members have responsibility for creating and contributing to the maintenance of an environment free from bullying and/or harassment.
- Bullying and harassment are defined by their impact on the individual, not by the intention of the perpetrator. An action taken which can be justified as regards to the safety, health and welfare of members does not amount to bullying or harassment.
Section One - Definitions
- Bullying is defined as repeated inappropriate behaviour, direct or indirect, whether verbal, physical or otherwise, conducted by one or more persons against another or others, which could reasonably be regarded as undermining the individual’s right to dignity.
- An isolated incident of the behaviour described in this definition may be an affront to a person’s dignity, but, as it is not repeated, it is not considered to be bullying. However, this behaviour may be subject to disciplinary action, as it is not acceptable behaviour for a member.
- The following is a non-exhaustive list of examples of types of bullying. Offences of a similar nature are also prohibited and are inappropriate for a member of the association:
- Verbal abuse, insults
- Intimidation, aggression or threatening behaviour
- Isolation or exclusion with negative consequences
- Intrusion by pestering, spying or stalking
- Wilfully withholding information that would benefit members
- Unfair and excessive criticism
- Undermining behaviour
- Harassment is any form of unwanted conduct, which has the purpose or effect of violating a person’s dignity and creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for the person. The criteria required relates to any of the following grounds:
- Family status
- Civil status
- Sexual orientation
- Religious belief (or lack thereof)
- Race, colour, nationality or ethnic or national origin
- Membership of the Travelling Community
- For the purpose of the above definition, conduct includes acts, requests, spoken words, gestures or the production, display or circulation of written words, pictures or other material. Harassment can be a once-off event or persistent and repeated behaviour.
- The following are some specific examples of the forms such conduct might take:
- Verbal harassment - spoken words, shouting, ridicule, unfair or excessive criticism, jokes, gossip, comments or songs
- Physical harassment – pushing, shoving or any form of assault
- Written harassment – including production of text messages, emails or notices
- Intimidatory harassment – gestures, posturing or threatening poses
- Visual displays such as posters, emblems or badges
- Isolation or exclusion from social activities
- These examples are not exhaustive, and offences of a similar nature are also prohibited and are inappropriate for a member of the association.
Section Two - Complaints Procedure
- All members have the right to make a complaint if they feel they have been bullied and/or harassed.
- All complaints will be taken seriously and will be handled with fairness, sensitivity and with due respect for the rights of both the complainant and the alleged perpetrator.
- Members who make or participate in an investigation of a complaint will not be subject to victimisation of any kind for doing so.
- During any investigation into a complaint, the principles of natural justice will be adhered to.
- Those involved in the complaint must maintain confidentiality on the subject.
- At all times, every effort will be made to ensure that all complaints are dealt with in a timely manner but not exceeding two months.
- External assistance may be necessary to deal with complaints in some circumstances so as to ensure impartiality, objectivity and fairness in an investigation.
There is a two-tiered approach in the procedure – formal and informal – to address the issue of bullying or harassment in the association.
- Any member who believes that they are being bullied or harassed should, where possible, indicate directly to the person concerned that their behaviour is unacceptable.
- In many situations this approach is effective as the direct communication between both parties helps to create understanding and awareness and the issue is resolved.
- If the member believes that this approach is not suitable or has been unsuccessful, the member may then make an informal complaint.
- Informal complaints should be made to the Chairperson. If the Chairperson is involved in the allegation, the complaint should be made to the Secretary. Chairperson will listen to the member’s allegation and, together with the member, will decide how to resolve the issue.
- If the allegations are of a serious nature, the Chairperson should refer the issue to the Committee
- An informal complaint can be verbal or written.
- Cases which cannot be dealt with informally should be processed through the formal procedure.
- Formal complaints should be made in writing, signed and dated. The complaint should be confined to specific examples of alleged incidents of bullying and/or harassment, including the dates of such incidents and the names of any witnesses.
- Formal complaints should be made to the Chairperson. If the Chairperson is involved in the incident, the complaint should be made to the Secretary.
- On receipt of a formal complaint, an investigatory panel will be appointed to investigate the complaint.
- The alleged perpetrator(s) will be notified that an allegation of bullying or harassment has been made against them. They will be given a copy of the complainant’s statement and advised that they will be afforded an opportunity to respond to the allegation(s).
- Witnesses (if any) will be met with as part of the investigation. Witness statements will be provided to both the complainant and the alleged perpetrator.
- The Association may engage an external independent investigator, if it is deemed appropriate in the circumstances.
- All parties have the right to be accompanied by another member throughout the procedure and confidentiality must be maintained at all times.
- When the investigation is completed, a report will be issued stating the details of the complaint, the response of the alleged bully/harasser, the results of the investigation and the conclusion.
- If, after the investigation, the complaint is found to be valid, prompt action will be taken to stop the bullying/harassment, including options requiring member to attend sensitivity training before attending at further association events and when the member is an international team member, removal from the team for a period of a year.
Right to be accompanied during the Investigation and Right of Appeal
- Both the complainant and the alleged bully/harasser are entitled to be accompanied by a person of their choice at all stages of the investigation.
- Appeals will be dealt with in accordance with Grievance Procedure.
Protection against Intimidation
- The Association will not tolerate any intimidation or victimisation of any member who makes a complaint or who assists in the investigation.
- Members found retaliating against a complainant will be dealt with through the Disciplinary Procedure and appropriate action will be taken, up to and including suspension from the association for a period of up to one year.
False or Malicious Complaints
- Likewise, the Association will not tolerate any intimidation or victimisation of any member who has been the recipient of false or unreasonable accusations. If the Association becomes aware that a complaint is deliberately false or malicious in nature and intent, then the appropriate disciplinary action will be taken, up to and including suspension from the association for a period of up to one year.
- In any situation where it is not appropriate for a formal complaint, informal complaint or appeal to be investigated by a member of the Association, the Association reserves the right to appoint an appropriate external person to carry out the investigation.
- Natural Justice requires that the complainant is aware in advance of the name of the external person investigating the complaint and if extended to a panel, the names of those on the panel.
- Mediation may be used as a process for resolution, if agreed by both parties in either the informal or formal procedure. An impartial named third party or external person may assist in the mediation process.